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Laying foundation for science excellence

Dr Ingrid Wiesel (right) of the Brown Hyena Research Project, a non-profit organisation based in Lüderitz, with learners from the Lüderitz Christian School in the laboratory sponsored by Manica.

Dr Ingrid Wiesel (right) of the Brown Hyena Research Project, a non-profit organisation based in Lüderitz, with learners from the Lüderitz Christian School in the laboratory sponsored by Manica.

The Manica CIS Fund earlier this month contributed to the efforts of the Lüderitz Christian School to establish a science laboratory at the school. The School Administrator, Pastor Danny Banda said the school had struggled to teach science to its learners as they had to depend on information from books only. Manica is a company in the Bidvest Group, a dual-listed holdings company in South Africa and Namibia.
“Science is a subject that is best mastered practically. For instance when teaching about a thermometer at some point, we want the child to see it and take the temperature by himself. That is how education takes place. Our efforts to obtain support from various companies were unsuccessful. We were overjoyed when Manica indicated that they would assist us with laboratory equipment. I would like to extend sincere appreciation to Manica for responding to our request for help. The donation has also boosted the school’s morale and the learners are eager to carry out science experiments in our brand spanking new laboratory,” he said.

“With this donation learning is now more effective, and teachers are able to convey lessons better. We have noticed children being quite proud of having a laboratory at the school,” he added. The school is hoping to employ a laboratory technician to help the children with more advanced experiments, however as a private school, said Dr Banda, funds are limited. “We also need to have the furniture in the laboratory permanently fixed and have wash basins and taps installed so that the children can wash their hands when they are done with experiments. Teaching charts and a projector are also needed for group presentations in the lab.” Manica sourced the laboratory equipment from Germany to the value of more than N$30,000. Manica also supported the Brown Hyena Research Project, a non-profit organisation based in Lüderitz. The project started its research on the brown hyena population along the coastal Namib Desert in 1995 and has since then developed since into a long-term conservation project. Manica said it has assisted the project in the past by funding camera traps in 2012. This year Manica purchased a special battery pack valued at N$7,000 for a Tellus GPS collar to help track the animals’ movements. According to Dr. Ingrid Wiesel of the project, hyenas often chew at their collars. “It is really hard to get ‘hyena proof’ GPS collars. With the collars we are able to accurately track the hyena movements over a vast area  over a period of time. This provides some insight to breeding and feeding behaviours of the animals.”

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