Childhood growth on gold radar
The developmental emphasis on Early Childhood Development (ECD) can not be over-emphasised. In the Otjozondjupa region, this key aspect of bringing up children, received a significant boost last week when seventeen new ECD educarers graduated from the Lifeline/Childline ECD basic curriculum course. The training is supported by B2Gold, the gold miner situated near Otjiwarongo.
The new graduates who received their certificates in ECD, will now be deployed in Otjiwarongo and Otavi to assist in the government’s holistic approach to Early Childhood Development. B2Gold funded the training through their Corporate Social Investment programme.
The mine also engaged Lifeline/Childline Namibia to conduct a detailed needs assessment of over 40 ECD centres in the two towns. Of these, 27 were identified as needing considerable assistance to reach the minimum standards required by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare.
The mine then bought books, educational toys and other equipment for the centres to promote learning through play. The centre directors received these donations at the same event in Otjiwarongo where the educarers received their certificates.
The Governor of the Otjozondjupa region, Hon. Otto Ipinge, said in an address read on his behalf “establishing a strong foundation in ECD is one of the most consistent and reliable vehicles to improve standards of living, successful education, and life-long learning. This can only be achieved by way of public-private-partnerships as done here today”.
B2Gold Namibia Managing Director, Mark Dawe noted that giving back to communities is something B2Gold does with passion and determination. “We know it is the right thing to do.”
The graduation and donation ceremony was also attended by the mayors of Otavi and Otjiwarongo, the Deputy Director of ECD in the ministry, Spendu Onesmus, the Director of Lifeline/Childline Namibia, Natalia Halweendo, an ECD Trainer, and Bernadette Cloete, a Early Childhood Development expert in the ministry.
One of the newly graduated educarers, Astrid Kamwanga, remarked that she was short of words to describe her experience. “It is almost as if I am dreaming because this day had seemed so far.”