The Rössing Foundation was established in 1978 through a Deed of Trust as a vehicle to oversee and implement many of Rössing Uranium’s corporate social responsibility activities in Namibia.
The Rössing Foundation implements programmes and projects under the following mandates:
The 2021 report to stakeholder highlights involvement, improvement and notable achievements made, as well as various challenges encountered during the implementation of the Rössing Foundation education, livelihood and enterprise development programmes and projects.
During these trying times, characterised as they were by the COVID-19 pandemic and underpinned by several lock-downs in adherence to national and World Health Organisation protocols, the Rössing Foundation continued to render critical services to the people of Namibia.
As a result of the threats posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rössing Foundation employed mitigation strategies to prevent infections. For example, we reduced the number of participants in groups to conform to the regulations which limited the amount of people able to gather; we made provision for social distancing and provided water and sanitisers for hand-washing and sanitising; and confined session to periods of two hours or less before breaks to allow training venues to become naturally fumigated to prevent the spread of the virus.
The COVID-19 outbreak and the ‘new normal’ required new ways of thinking to effect innovative ways and methods of delivering services to communities. These new approaches included aggressive e-materials development, an increase in printed materials and the distribution thereof, while new teaching approaches were put into practise through e-learning, as virtual teaching and learning became the order of the day. Teaching by means of WhatsApp groups and accessing learning materials through the Rössing Foundation website were other new approaches that were implemented.
Teacher Support programmes
The Rössing Foundation Arandis, Ondangwa, and Tamariskia Education Centres supported a total of 329 teachers through professional development, such as on-on-one coaching, virtual teaching, and learning (using the WhatsApp and Zoom platforms), as well as through the provision of supplementary teaching materials and co-teaching at the local schoo
Teachers were further supported through the A-Z Reading programme, sharing of literature content, development of debating skills, loan of science equipment, and guidance in how to carry out practical activities at the Science centres and at schools.
Learner Support programmes
The Rössing Foundation has three Education Centres in the country, one in Arandis, one in Swakopmund in the Erongo Region and one in Ondangwa in the Oshana Region.
The three centres provide additional teaching opportunities to NAMCOL students and full time learners from Swakopmund, Ondangwa and Arandis, as well as from other neighbouring towns such as Walvis Bay, Oshakati, Ongwediva and Henties Bay.
During 2021, the Rössing Foundation Education Centres remained sources of supplementary education and have supported a total of 6,524 learners at all the centres.
The visits to the libraries were low during the year under review compared with previous years due to the necessary limitations and adjustments to COVID-19 protocols However, the libraries continued to provide services and support to teachers, learners and communities with supplementary information, research and homework. The libraries also provided a conducive environment for learners and students to study.
The Rössing Foundation libraries in Arandis, Ondangwa and Swakopmund supported a total of 21,096 learners with 363 being full library members.
National Outreach School Support programme
The National Outreach Education Programmes consist of two major disciplines, namely
- The Mobile Laboratory School Support, and
- Social Accountability and School Governance Programmes.
During 2021, a total of 897 learners, 32 teachers and 77 School Board trainers were supported as part of the National Outreach School Support programme.
Mobile Laboratory School Support
The following modi operandi were used during learner support engagement:
- Face-to-face: the Education Officers conducted lessons on a face-to-face basis in the classes.
- Scientific experiments (practical and demonstrations): learners follow instructions given in the form of written instructions to carry out experimental and investigative work.
“I have failed my grade 12 a few years back with 16 points and ended up in NAMCOL, but I call myself lucky because I got a chance to be exposed to an environment such as that of the Rössing Foundation Centre and this has changed my life for the better.
“Their lectures didn’t only teach me, but they stirred up a self-belief in me that taught me that I could become anyone or anything I put my mind to. Now, I am a sixth-year medical student.
“Kindly believe me, I am from a normal background, but if it wasn’t for Rössing Foundation, I would perhaps not have achieved what I have achieved today. Therefore, I am very grateful and proud to be associated with the Rössing Foundation. I encourage everyone to make use of the Rössing Foundation programmes to get exposed to education. They will always find a way to help you.” Remembrance de Klerk
Learners at the Rössing Foundation library in Arandis.
Capacity Strengthening for Teacher Support/Education Officers
The capacity of teachers for English, Mathematics, Biology, Physics and Chemistry were strengthened through team planning, team teaching, model lessons and teacher professional development sessions. It is important to note that the support to schools focused mainly on the new curriculum in which the teachers are finding it challenging to deal with some topical issues, as well as their interpretations. This curriculum is considered to be at the Advanced Subsidiary Level. In addition, the training also assisted teachers and learners following the Ordinary Level curriculum for the grades 9 and 11.
Support to Wennie du Plessis, Epako Secondary and Izak Buys High Schools in Omaheke Region
The Senior Secondary Certificate Ordinary Level (NSSCO) in Omaheke Region and the Namibia Senior Secondary Certificate Advance Subsidiary Levels (NSSCAS) received the most support during 2021. In total, the Omaheke region was supported three times through 2021, of which NSSCAS benefited in all three visits, while NSSCO benefited once. The support ran from April 2021 to September 2021.
Social Accountability and School Governance Outreach Programme
Under this programme, the training of School Board Trainers (ToT) was conducted in Keetmanshoop, Kharas and Zambezi Regions. The training aims to capacitate the trainees in the following disciplines:
- COVID-19: effects and mitigation strategies,
- The structure, composition and roles and responsibilities of school boards,
- The elections of the school boards,
- How to organise and conduct school board meetings,
- Maintaining and managing discipline in schools for learners and staff members at school level, including eradication of social evils such as bullying,
- How to identify, sensitise and mobilise education gatekeepers at school level,
- Using the Education Management Information System (EMIS), the Data Must Speak (DMS) notion
- The importance of school health, safe schools, as well as school sport for development,
- The application of training skills and strategies for training and working with adult learners such as School Boards,
- Practice training, for better preparedness for the real School Board trainings (this was done at selected schools), and
- Prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse.
Support to Ûiba Ôas Crystals Market
Ten Ûiba Ôas Small-scale Miners Co-operative members at the Crystals Market were trained in stone cutting, polishing, and the usage of production machinery by the Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade. This practical training and the appropriate usage of the machinery was successfully completed by the cooperative members, with an observable impact being the result. At the end of the workshop, participants sincerely acknowledged the new skills they gained, and the potential benefit to their output in terms of value addition of the gemstones through the use of machinery.
During the same training, the Ministry of Mines and Energy presented the overall legal framework for small-scale miners’ operations, and the procedures for acquiring export permits.
It is worth reporting that the application for export permits will now be made available at Ûiba Ôas Crystals Market to expedite export of semi-precious stones. In the past, delays in the issuance of export permits at airports sometimes resulted in tourists forfeiting their semi-precious stones.
As part of the continuous marketing of the Ûiba Ôas Crystals Market, two sign boards were erected along the B2 road by cooperative members with the assistance of Rössing Foundation to increase the enterprise’s visibility. The signs were erected after the approval was granted by Roads Authority.
Okombahe Community Debushing Enterprise
The project continues to progress by producing and supplying firewood to the retailers in Usakos and Swakopmund, and droppers and poles to farmers. The project also produced and supplied fresh logs to a mushroom farmer in Walvis Bay.
The enterprise is well marketed through word of mouth, Facebook and WhatsApp, hence farmers, communities and businesses have become aware of the Okombahe enterprise and its products.
Although the project demonstrated its economic viability, the human capital at the community level lacks the capacity to manage and operationalise the enterprise according to sound business principles. For instance, they were not able to produce enough products to meet the demand as workers do not stay long in employment, claiming that the work was too heavy.
It’s against this background that the Erongo Regional Council’s Dâures Constituency has requested the Rössing Foundation to embark upon a viable business model that would commercialise the operation of the enterprise. Consultations regarding the new business operational model has commenced and the appropriate model will be implemented in 2022.
Support to Omatjete Community
The Rössing Foundation, through the financial support from the Game Product Trust Fund of the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, is working with the Omatjete community to mitigate human-elephant conflicts by building protection walls around community water and building separate drinking points for the wild animals.
In 2021 protection walls were built around three water points at Omutiuanduko, Otjitoporo and Ozondundu, in addition to the two water points that were built at Okamaere and Ondundu in 2020. In addition, a new drinking water point for elephants and one new community water point were built in the Dâures constituency and are fully functional.
However, the community are not entertaining the pumping of water to the elephant water point as farmers are complaining of the expensive diesel cost. Therefore, the community stopped pumping the water at the elephant drinking points. This decision by the community could result in the elephants visiting the community in search of water, thereby continuing to give rise to human-wildlife conflicts. A facility that will resolve this situation is the installation of a solar system at an exclusive water point for wildlife and the community boreholes. In 2022, various development partners will be lobbied to equip the boreholes with solar pumps.
As a result of the project, the Otjiperongo Junior Secondary school now has consistent water supply since the school borehole was rehabilitated and the water pumping system overhauled.
The school has over 300 learners and it has been without water since November 2018, due to the broken borehole that previously served the school. The rehabilitation of the school borehole and water supply was critical, as water is a basic need, coupled with the hygiene requirements due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The enterprise is well-marketed through word of mouth.
Support to Oshikuku Community Green Scheme
Through the grant from the Social Security Commission, the Rössing Foundation continued supporting the agribusiness development in Oshikuku in the Omusati Region in 2021. The purpose of this development is to create employment opportunities, strengthen the local economy, contribute towards local food production, and general rural development.
A solar water pumping system was installed during the year under review through special funding from Rössing Uranium, enabling the project to increase its production capacity.
The project members received a field-based practical horticultural training, which was conducted at the project site. The aim of the training was to equip the project members with practical horticulture knowledge and skills through practical demonstrations. The project members are now able to produce vegetables such as carrots, peppers, spinach, beetroot, tomatoes, onions, sweet chilli, sweet potatoes and maize.
The Oshikuku project is currently supplying fresh vegetables to the local community, the surrounding villages, and nearby towns, while negotiations for the long-term supply to the formal market with retailers are being negotiated.
An application for land rights was submitted to the Omusati Region Land Board and approval is awaited. The project received the Environmental Clearance Certificate from the office of the Environmental Commissioner. Monitoring of the environmental impact of the project continues.
The aim of the training was to equip the project members with practical horticulture knowledge and skills through practical demonstrations. The project members are now able to produce vegetables such as carrots, peppers, spinach, beetroot, tomatoes, onions, sweet chilli, sweet potatoes and maize.