OYO addresses minority bullying through ‘San Matter’ project
The Ombetja Yehinga Organisation (OYO), through its ‘San Matter’ project, recognized the Otjituuo Primary School in the Otjizondjupa region for being the Best San friendly school of the year.
In schools where San children are a minority other learners, at times teachers, can mock them. To address the issue of cultural bullying, OYO, with support from the Embassy of Germany embarked in the San Matter project.
Some of the events facilitated through the project include a presentation by the OYO dance troupe, a school exchange visit program, a presentation by a local San youth group from Uitkoms Primary School, two girls camps and much more. The project culminated with the San Friendly competition. The twelve schools part of the program were invited to take part in the competition. A series of tasks were agreed upon, which included the painting of boards (to look at how to promote cultural tolerance), the creation of songs (about education and about the school itself) and the device of a drama (looking at bullying and how to tackle it).
A team of four then visited all the schools to evaluate the tasks. They evaluated the work done by learners and marked the schools based on a set of criteria that had been agreed upon. Otjituuo Primary School came as the winner with Grashoek Primary School as runner up. Uitkoms Primary School took the third place and Okahandja Secondary School won the best song. The song on education was written by San girls themselves during a girls’ camp. The schools were just tasked to create the melody.
During a prize-giving ceremony, Cecilia Petrus, OYO General Manager, complimented the schools involved and reminded them about the importance of education and encouraged teachers and principals to build on the gains made this year with the project.
“This project only ran for one year, but schools should continue in 2020 to ensure that all children enjoy education in safe environments. It is difficult to secure funding for such projects in Namibia and we are most grateful to the German Embassy for their support,” OYO Director Philippe Talavera said.
The San population of Namibia is spread across many regions, including Otjozondjupa, Omaheke, Ohangwena, Kavango East and the Zambezi. According to the OSISA Group report ‘Rethinking Indigenous Education’, only 67 % of San children in the country enrol in school and only 1% of those children complete secondary school. The San Matter builds from an initiative that was originally funded by the Embassy of Finland.
Caption: The school principal, teachers and learners part of the San girls camp with OYO’s General Manager, Cecilia Petrus, exhibiting their boards and prizes. (Image: Joshua Homateni).