The Rössing Foundation

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.

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Learners from the Swakopmund Secondary School during the Mathematics sessions at Rössing Foundation Tamariskia centre.

The Rössing Foundation implements programmes and projects under the following mandates:

  • To further the education of all Namibians in order to achieve greater national productivity and enhance lifelong learning.
  • To encourage the creation and/or to create opportunities for people to use their education.
  • To promote the advancement of the living standards of all the people in Namibia.
  • To carry out any act or accomplish any thing, which in the opinion of the Trustees, shall benefit Namibia or any or all of its inhabitants.

To align programmes and projects, the Rössing Foundation focuses mainly on the following identified targets:

  • the improvement of primary and secondary education through the implementation of various teachers' and learners' support programmes;
  • the diversification and strengthening of the local economy through support to small- and medium-scale enterprises; and
  • working hand-in-hand with local authorities to strengthen their capacity and facilitate the development and implementation of their strategic plans.

Education development programme
The Rössing Foundation has been working in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture since Namibia's independence in 1990. The partnership encompasses activities such as strengthening the capacity of teachers and learners, leadership and management programmes, resource sharing and exchanging expertise between the partners.

Rössing Foundation continued to manage its three English, Mathematics and Science centres in the towns of Arandis and Swakopmund in the Erongo Region, and in Ondangwa in the Oshana Region.

In addition to these centres, the Rössing Foundation managed the English, Mathematics and Science mobile laboratory which travelled to many areas of the country. The mobile unit greatly benefitted rural schools, as many teachers and learners cannot afford to travel to the centres. The centres and mobile laboratory will continue to serve as the hub of support programmes, not only for learners and teachers, but also for Namibian communities.

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Pohamba Mushelenga, education officer of Physical Science in class during the mobile laboratory's school visit to Okakarara Senior Secondary School in the Otjozondjupa Region.

Teachers' support programmes
Rössing Foundation regards support for teachers to be vital, as a single, well-equipped teacher is able to benefit up to 30 learners. Teachers' support programmes are conducted either at a centre or through the mobile unit on school visits to rural areas as part of Rössing Foundation’s national outreach programme.

A total of 186 teachers in the English language, Mathematics and Science were supported at the three centres in Arandis, Ondangwa and Swakopmund (located in the suburb of Tamariskia). The support was aimed to transfer knowledge and skills to the local teams of the Ministry to enable programme sustainability, as well as to strengthen the implementation of education plans.

The teachers continued to show enthusiasm and made use of networking opportunities to enable continued support, while the schools’ management teams played a vital role in ensuring that planned activities are carried out in the schools.

Learners' support programmes
The Rössing Foundation’s three education centres remain popular among learners. In addition to on-going support provided to learners from different schools in the English language, Mathematics and Science, many learners flocked to the Arandis and Tamariskia centres for examination preparations.

The progress of the pre-primary reading programme started to yield positive results, benefitting 4,039 learners who attend classes regularly. The programme seeks to instil a passion for reading at an early age by engaging learners in lively and active reading sessions and by offering further opportunities to read in the Rössing Foundation libraries.

During 2018, a total of 315 pre-primary learners benefitted from the reading programme through story reading time, games and puzzles. Most of the 315 learners who participated in the programme did so at the Arandis Centre.

All the centres participated in senior primary support initiatives, enabling an average of 1,167 per month to benefit from the activities – substantially more than the planned 70 per grade. However, the number of beneficiaries in the Science subjects and the English language needs to be intensified in 2019. Generally, attendance and consequently the benefits to learners in English and Mathematics have improved enormously. The concern remained with the Science subjects; to address this situation, a new Science education officer was appointed and will commence with duties at the beginning of January 2019.

In total, 3,000 junior secondary learners benefitted from the Rössing Foundation support programmes, consisting of 567 grade 8 and 10 English language learners, 2,025 grade 8 to 10 Mathematics learners, 206 Physical Science learners and 202 Life Science learners.

Mathematics continued to be very popular among learners in all grades. Over the years, the high learners’ interest in Mathematics translated to good grades in national examinations, and the same was true in 2018. However, English and the Sciences remain a challenge with fluctuating attendance.

In total, 4,925 senior secondary learners benefitted from the Rössing Foundation English, Mathematics and Science programmes, consisting of 1,427 English language learners, 1,159 Mathematics learners, 792 Physical Science learners and 432 Life Science learners. Generally, attendance and consequently the benefits to learners in English and Mathematics has improve monumentally, with the Science subjects remaining a cause for concern.

Mobile laboratory outreach programme
During 2018, the mobile laboratory visited 12 schools in the Kavango West, Kunene, Otjozondjupa and Ohangwena regions to support rural schools in English, Mathematics and Science. In most cases, the schools were visited on two occasions, each lasting a full week. This programme supported 15,625 learners and 304 teachers throughout the year.

A team of senior education officers from the Directorate of Education, Arts and Culture worked together with the Rössing Foundation team and staff of the schools to implement the national mobile laboratory outreach programme. The combined teams contributed greatly to the successful school support intervention in all the visited regions.

Learners are generally well-behaved, enthusiastic and willing to learn, while teachers continued to show enthusiasm and shared contact details with the visiting teams to enable continued support. School management teams played a vital role in ensuring that planned activities are carried out in the schools.

Vacation classes support initiatives
During the year, Rössing Foundation conducted vacation classes in all three centres to assist learners to consolidate what they had learned during the year, focusing mainly on supporting grade 10 and 12 learners.

Learners came in great numbers from schools located in various regions such as Ohangwena, Oshana, Oshikoto, Omusati and Otjozondjupa to attend the classes in English, Physical Science, Mathematics and Biology. In total, 1,048 learners were supported at the centres during the 2018 school holidays.

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Learners busy with Mathematical practical assessments.

Library services to the community
The main purpose of the Rössing Foundation’s libraries is to ensure that learners, teachers and other community members have access to information through books. Improved reading skills are conducive to good results at school and deepen general knowledge as well.

The Rössing Foundation libraries are located in the vicinity of the communities they serve. Learners and other members of the communities of Arandis, Ondangwa and Swakopmund make use of the libraries on a daily basis to study, conduct research on projects, and do homework.

The Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture community library in Windhoek provided a wide range of new books to the Ondangwa Centre close to the end of 2018. The gesture is a classic example that the strong partnership that exists between the Ministry and the Rössing Foundation.

Ondangwa library recorded the highest teacher and learner attendance, while Arandis recorded the highest book circulations. At all three centres, between 4,000 and 6,700 learners visited the three libraries respectively. All libraries were utilised beyond capacity as learners occupied all available space in preparation for examinations.

In 2018, a total of 17,278 learners, 388 teachers and 7,947 community members visited the libraries in Arandis, Ondangwa and Swakopmund.

The Rössing Foundation librarians organised a Readathon for teachers and learners from the local schools. The annual Readathon is a literacy awareness campaign which encourages the appreciation of the joy of reading. Its objectives are to nurture a culture of reading among learners, and to spread awareness of the importance of literacy in building an economically vibrant nation.

The Readathon was held under the theme of promoting literacy development skills among adult learners. The Regional Chief Librarians from the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture delivered the keynote address.

The librarians also set up special event calendar and ensured that each learner read a book during the Readathon week. They also read stories to the audience and sensitise the learners on the importance of conserving energy.

Establishing and maintaining effective school boards
In order to ensure that school boards function effectively, the Rössing Foundation (in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture and with the support of the United Nations Children’s Fund, through funding from the European Union) has been training school boards on how to efficiently manage schools to contribute to positive teaching and learning outcomes. Funding is provided within the framework of the Social Accountability and School Governance Programme, which aims to enhance grassroots level participation in school development and school management.

The training is designed to capacitate school boards, as representatives of the parents, as well as teachers and learners, to exercise their responsibilities in terms of school governance and to ensure that all stakeholders are accountable for what is happening in schools.

In 2018, various training-of-trainers sessions were held with 67 participants from the Directorate of Education of both Omaheke and Hardap regions. The aim was to:

  • equip school board trainers with expertise enabling them to empower and skill school communities and particularly school boards on how to use social accountability tools and model systems to monitor school performance and improve monitoring and accountability in the education sector at local and regional level; and
  • to support and monitor the school board trainers during the process of cascading the school board training down to school level.

Enterprise development support
The Rössing Foundation continues to work with the Dreamland Garden members to improve the day-to-day operations of the garden. In order to address the problem of extended water outage, two additional water tanks were installed, enabling the garden to store 30,000 litres of water that can be used when their water supply system fails. A local bank, Bank Windhoek, approved their business plan and availed funds through the Erongo Development Foundation to purchase a water pump, which will ensure continuous water supply to the garden.

The Ûiba-Ôas Crystal Market Cooperative, situated on the main road between Usakos and Karibib, and the Rössing Foundation engaged with COSDEF Arts and Craft Centre in Swakopmund to provide training to the small-scale miners on value addition to their semi-precious stones. A two-week training session was held on jewellery design.

During a joint planning session, the Cooperative’s board and the Rössing Foundation team identified the need to provide potable water and electricity to the Crystal Market. Discussions were held with Erongo Red to investigate the feasibility and cost implications to provide electricity to the community. As an alternative, the team proposed the refurbishment of the existing solar electric system. It is envisaged that the best solution will be implemented in the next reporting year.

A total of 26 Rössing Foundation-supported enterprises located in Arandis were assisted in personal business plan development and counselling, while one medium enterprise was assisted with a successful loan application of N$25,000, enabling the business owner to purchase machinery to conduct his business.

Members of Rössing Foundation, Erongo Regional Council (Dâures Constituency) office and two committee members of the Okombahe Conservancy conducted a survey to determine the ownership of the land of the Okombahe community garden. Participants included the Traditional Authority under which Okombahe falls, former project workers and former board members. In 2019, the team will complete the analysis and interpretation of data to determine the garden ownership and to archive documentation for future references.

Community-supported activities in Arandis
Arandis movie night

The Rössing Foundation successfully assisted the Arandis Town Council with the re-activation of the Arandis amphitheatre where the community can watch free movies on a biweekly basis since mid- 2018. The movie night contributes to building social cohesion in the Arandis community and provides an opportunity for local SMEs to market their products.

The Rössing Foundation recognises that indirect help through community involvement is key to developing and maintaining a strong SME environment in Arandis. The team interacts on an ongoing basis with the community on the further improvement to the Arandis Amphitheatre by soliciting views and recommendations from community members.

Unlocking learner’s potential
In conjunction with Peace Corps Namibia, the Rössing Foundation developed a series of lectures under the theme “Why not you” aimed at motivating school learners. The purpose of the lectures is to expose learners to career options they might not otherwise have considered, and to inspire them to stay in school and continue their studies in order to achieve their career goals. Learners from UB Dax Primary School and Talitha Kumi Christian Academy participated, and the lecture series was well received. The same lecture was also presented in Karibib to 75 learners.

English courses for adults
Adult English Comprehension sessions has commenced in Arandis, with the aim being to improve the ability of the six participants to comprehend more advanced English through reading, discussing and writing about topics in class and at home. Another two community members participated on a part-time basis due to scheduling conflicts. The ten-session class, which started early mid-2018, meets three times a week.

The Ondangwa Centre, in partnership with the Oshana Education Directorate, trained community members and Correctional Services Officers of the Ministry of Safety and Correctional Services to demonstrate the knowledge and skills learned about presentations using the Microsoft Power Point software program.

Youth development activities
In order to engage young people into healthy social activities during their free time, the Dominoes Club was started in Arandis, and meets regularly on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Support to Erongo Development Fund micro-finance
The Rössing Foundation continues to support the micro-finance scheme of the Erongo Development Fund (EDF). A meeting was held with the Arandis-based beneficiaries to get feedback on progress they achieved in their businesses. The beneficiaries voiced the challenges they face and it was agreed that the Foundation’s enterprise development team will meet the beneficiaries on a monthly basis to get an update on their activities and to support their initiatives.

The Arandis-based SMEs will form part of the Rössing Foundation mentoring programme and we are working closely with the Arandis constituency office on this undertaking, while other SMEs will be supported by their respective constituencies in the Erongo Region. The EDF beneficiaries range from security services and tailoring to construction and poultry production.

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The Rössing Foundation Libraries continue to provide information to the general communities in Arandis, Ondangwa and Swakopmund. The learners, teachers and community members come to the libraries to study, do research and do homework as well as projects.