The Rössing Foundation
Rössing Uranium established the Rössing Foundation in 1978 through a Deed of Trust to implement and facilitate programmes and projects that expressed our corporate social responsibility towards Namibian communities.
The Rössing Foundation undertakes a broad range of activities across a wide spectrum of community development areas. These activities are concentrated in the Erongo Region, where the Rössing Mine is located, but they also fan out to the Omakehe, Hardap, Ohangwena, Oshana, Omusati and Zambezi regions.
All the activities that the Rössing Foundation drives and supports are formulated in a Memorandum of Understanding between the Foundation and partner organisations, but in particular the seven education directorates.
These critical partners include the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture; the Ministry of Mines and Energy; the National Institute for Educational Development (NIED); the United Nation's Children Fund (UNICEF); the Erongo Regional Council and the Arandis Town Council.
The Arandis-based Asser Kapere Community Pre-primary School was supported by the Rössing Foundation with advice on various financial services.
The Rössing Foundation has been working in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture since Namibia's independence in 1990. The partnership includes activities such as strengthening the capacity of teachers and learners, leadership and management programmes, resource sharing and exchanging expertise between the two partners.
The critical issue of poor performance at school level, coupled with the low output of qualification at junior to tertiary levels are indicators of an education system that does not adequately prepare learners to cope with challenges beyond school. Furthermore, the negative perception instilled in many learners that Mathematics and Science subjects are difficult subjects and only meant for clever students, discouraged many learners and students to take these subjects at school level, restricting their career options. Proficiency in the English language continues to be a challenge as well.
To address education challenges facing Namibia, the Rössing Foundation assists the Government of Namibia through the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture by availing opportunities to teachers and learners to acquire subject-content knowledge in order to improve their competencies in English, Mathematics and the Sciences.
To this effect, the Rössing Foundation built and operates three state-of-the-art 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 the three centres, the Rössing Foundation initiated an innovative undertaking - the introduction of an English, Mathematics and Science Mobile Laboratory.
This mobile vehicle, fully equipped with the required materials and equipment, will travel to outlying areas of the country. This will greatly benefit rural schools, as many learners cannot afford to travel to the Rössing Foundation centres.
The centres and the mobile laboratory will continue to serve as a hub of support programmes, not only to learners and teachers, but also to the neighbouring communities.
Learners' support programmes
English centre-based activities
The Ondangwa Centre supported a total of 150 learners in English examination preparation activities in 2015. Of the 150 learners, 25 were Grade 10 learners; 105 Grade 12 NSSC (Ordinary level) learners and 20 Grade 12 Higher Level learners. Activities covered were tenses, active and passive voice, direct and reported speech, summary writing, writing of short and longer pieces, listening and oral activities.
In the Erongo Region, a total of 54 learners were enrolled at the Tamariskia Centre and supported in the following English skills: reading and directed writing, argumentative, narrative, report writing, literature notes, grammar and listening comprehension, and intensive literature according to the syllabus.
Learners were assisted with language structures and conventions that are an integral component of the exploration, analysis and examination of texts, as well as of learners' writing tasks, and with listening or aural and oral proficiency.
Mathematics centre-based activities
At the Ondangwa Centre, 697 learners in Grade 7, Grade 10 and Grade 12 were supported through Master Maths activities. The supported learners completed about 30 Master Maths modules (lessons) with an average score of 79 per cent.
In the Erongo Region, 3,977 learners from Grade 5 to Grade 12 registered, utilised and visited the Master Maths facilities in Arandis and Swakopmund throughout 2015.
Learners were tutored and at the end of the year they wrote either Ordinary or Higher Level examinations. Learners were from various schools in the region, namely Kolin Foundation Secondary School, UB Dax Primary School, Arandis Primary School, Mondesa Youth Opportunities (MYO), Pro Ed Academy Private School, Swakopmund Primary School, Coastal High School and Swakopmund Secondary School.
These face-to-face interactions involved topics such as calculus, algebra, geometry, trigonometric identities and graphs, vectors and coordinate geometry, which formed part of the Master Maths programme tutoring.
Science centre-based activities
While 1,970 learners in Grade 6 to Grade 12 were supported through Science-related activities this year at the Ondangwa Centre, only 193 learners registered as profiled learners. The learners were supported through regular face-to-face tutoring sessions, holiday classes and enrichment programmes.
An average score of 78 per cent was attained by the Grade 7, Grade 10, and Grade 12 Ordinary Level learners while an average of grade 3 was attained by the Grade 12 Higher Level learners.
Overall, 625 learners from Swakopmund based schools were tutored at the Tamariskia Centre in subjects such as Physical Science, Chemistry, Biology and Life Sciences, with emphasis on practical activities.
Support to Erongo Region Science Fair
Through Science projects and fairs, learners acquire opportunities to apply technical knowledge and skills during their studies and strengthen their understanding of scientific research methods. Practical scientific projects also eased teaching in both Mathematics and Sciences subjects.
The Rössing Foundation assisted the Swakopmund Circuit to organise and carry out a circuit-based Science Fair with ten teachers participating in the event. The Omaruru Circuit was also assisted in organising and carrying out a circuit- based Science Fair with 14 teachers participating. In addition, a Science Fair judging workshop was conducted for 17 teachers to equip them with sufficient knowledge and skills in judging projects.
The Ondangwa Centre team supported 120 Omusati learners in preparation for participation in the 2015 National Mathematics and Science Fair.
Outreach and Holiday Support Programmes
At the Ondangwa Centre, 360 learners attended vacation classes either during the May or August holidays. Special examination preparation support was given to Grade 10 Junior Secondary Level and Grade 12 Ordinary and Higher Level learners. The average assessment attainment for Higher Level learners was grade 4, while the Ordinary Level learners attained an average score of 70 per cent.
The Ondangwa team also supported 35 Grade 8 learners from Omukukutu Combined School and 35 Grade 10 learners from Okalumbu Combined School through short-term centre visits. The support covered topics identified through needs assessment of Grade 10 and 12 learners. In addition, 40 Grade 10, 20 Grade 12 Higher Level learners and 60 Grade 12 Ordinary Level learners were supported during the school holidays.
In the Erongo Region, a total of 1,573 Grade 10, Grade 11 and Grade 12 Higher Level learners from the Walvis Bay Education Circuit, Usakos Secondary School, Kuisebmund Secondary School, Petrus Ganeb Secondary School, and S.I. Gobs Secondary School in Omaruru participated in the April and August 2015 Spring and Autumn Schools.
The holiday schools were organised by the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture in order to revise subjects taught during the trimesters in order to cement learners' competencies and understanding. The Rössing Foundation availed its staff as additional resources in Mathematics, Sciences and English subjects.
Teachers' support programmes
The Rössing Foundation supported a total of 233 teachers through professional development training workshops. Eight Grade 10 Mathematics teachers from the Hardap Region and 23 Grade 10 teachers from the Zambezi Region were trained in Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) in identified topics from needs assessments. PCK is a theoretical framework that emphasises content and pedagogical knowledge to enhance concept-based learning.
The different training programmes covered demonstration lessons and co-teaching, while lesson observation and feedback discussions were used to enhance the skills shared. PCK training for the Higher Level Mathematics teachers was also incorporated in a hands-on approach through demonstration lessons, team preparation and teaching. Teachers emerged with positive attitudes towards the concept-based learning approach.
In the Erongo Region we experienced an increase in the number of teachers from Swakopmund-based schools visiting the centre, as many learners from their schools registered and attended afternoon classes.
During the reporting year we also supported 68 Grade 10 to Grade 12 Mathematics, Sciences and English teachers from coastal schools in organising and conducting practical sciences activities, both at school and at the centres. School teachers utilised the centres for lesson preparation, worksheets and face-to-face teaching of learners.
The support to teachers is designed and geared towards equipping teachers with skills in practical Science experiments to improve academic performance.
We also supported another 205 teachers from Zambezi, Hardap, Omusati and Oshana regions.
They were trained in pedagogical and content knowledge for Biology and Physical Science, designing and developing practical investigation worksheets, and in the process of Mathematics and Science Fair judging through outreach programmes.
In addition, 558 teachers visited the Rössing Foundation library and utilised the teacher reference section, while 40 teachers registered as library members.
Centre visits and training workshops
The Rössing Foundation education centres remain popular destinations for school tours and holiday classes by various schools from all the regions of Namibia.
During 2015, more than 1,000 teachers and learners visited the two coastal centres, representing Witkrans Primary School in Hardap Region; John A. Pandeni Combined School from Omusati Region; Usakos Secondary School and Okaepe Primary School from Otjozondjupa Region; Amazing Kids Private School from Khomas Region; and the Friedtjo Nasen Akademie from Germany.
These visits enable the Foundation to form working relationships with various schools by providing resources to Mathematics, Science and English teachers.
n Ondangwa, 203 teachers visited the centre either for PCK training, examinations setting, to be supported with teaching and learning resources or accessing Master Maths Programme resources.
We supported 40 teachers through professional development presentations at the Oshana Region E-learning conference in March 2015.
Community support programmes
Social Accountability and School Governance project
UNICEF, in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture, initiated the Social Accountability and School Governance project with the overall aim of promoting quality education delivery as a shared responsibility with the involvement of stakeholders in Namibia. This three-year project, started in 2012, was extended for another year, which ended in October 2015. Rössing Foundation, as implementing partner, was tasked with the responsibility of training 148 school boards in the Hardap and Ohangwena regions.
Through the project the Foundation conducted the following activities in 2015:
- Key stakeholders such as regional and traditional authorities were sensitised to discuss roles to be played by community members through local and traditional leadership.
- A baseline study was conducted to determine dynamics of school communities was conducted.
- A school board training guide was compiled and used to train school boards.
- School boards received information on the right to education, education purposes, policies and practices, monitoring education performance and the use of social accountability tools.
- Exchange/exposure programmes between schools and between the two regions were initiated to share and learn from each other.
Out-of-school youth support
Continuing its support to the community, the Rössing Foundation assisted 151 out-of-school youth based in the Erongo Region that were enrolled with the Namibia College of Open Learning (NAMCOL) to improve their grades for possible admission to institutions of higher learning. The Ondangwa Centre assisted 70 Grade 12 NAMCOL learners in the NSSCO examination preparation.
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 and books, as the improvement of reading skills in turn contributes to the attainment of good results at school and a broader range of knowledge in general. In 2015, 27,488 learners, teachers and community members utilised the Foundation's libraries at the Swakopmund and Arandis centres, while 6,888 learners visited the Ondangwa Centre's library.
Enterprise development support
Support to community agribusiness
The Rössing Foundation provided agribusiness mentorship to the Dreamland gardening project members in Arandis through face-to-face consultation and informal training, as well as encouraging retention of newly developed skills. The project has secured a fixed market and supplies fresh produces on a weekly basis to Swakopmund markets.
Installation of the automated irrigation system is 90 per cent complete and will enable Dreamland to use water more efficiently than their usual manual watering method. The installation of a solar-power system was necessary to ensure operation of the automated watering system.
The Dreamland garden project members also undertook an exchange visit to three projects funded by the Social Security Commission Development Fund in Oshana and Oshikoto regions, namely the Endombo, the Kondjashili and the Tulongeni projects. They shared successes, challenges and lesson learned during project implementation.
Ûiba-Ôas Crystal Market
The Rössing Foundation has for many years supported the small-scale miners in the Erongo Region, most of whom operate from the Ûiba-Ôas Crystal Market situated on the main road between Usakos and Karibib. The Social Security Commission's Development Fund joined in and offered the community a grant to construct a cutting and polishing workshop. The grant also made provision for the purchasing of a cutting-and-polishing machine and training of two members in its operation, thereby enabling the members of the Ûiba-Ôas Small-scale Miners' Cooperative to create value- added products to sell at higher prices than obtained for raw stones. Previously, members had to take raw stones to Karibib or Swakopmund for cutting and polishing, incurring considerable expense. Having the facility on site enables them to maximise profit potential.
As with the nearby kiosk that offers refreshments to visitors, having a clean and comfortable ablution facility encourages tour operators to bring their customers to the market, resulting in higher sales of stones and crafts. A newly- erected toilet block serves that purpose. The cooperative members charge a nominal fee to keep the facility clean for visitors, thereby improving the quality of life for members and visitors alike.
During the course of the year the Rössing Foundation continued to offer cooperative members training in basic business skills, financial literacy and other topics such as stone cutting and polishing.
Members of the Ûiba-Ôas Small-scale Miners' Cooperative, located at the Ûiba-Ôas Crystal Market, in front of the new cutting and polishing workshop, showing some of the uncut, cut and polished gemstones. From left to right: Patricia Uri-Khos, Diana Maletzky (chairperson of the cooperative), Gerhardt Geibeb and Hilda Hunes. The workshop will enable the members to sell their value-added products at higher prices than could be obtained from raw stones.
Support to Ohungu Conservancy
During the reporting year, the Rössing Foundation assisted the Ohungu Conservancy to submit a proposal to the Namibian Environment Investment Fund (EIF) to secure two horses and accessories to be used for monitoring the conservancy area in order to curb illegal hunting of wildlife. After several incidents of poaching in the conservancy area, the conservancy management committee and community game guard concluded that the game guard system needs to be supported by providing them with at least horses and saddles for patrol to support their nature conservation effort.
Currently the Foundation is busy developing a full scale project that will attempt to reduce conflicts between the community and the wildlife in the conservancy.
Namibia's Minister of Education, Arts and Culture, Hon. Katrina Hanse-Himarwa, at the Rössing Foundation Mobile Laboratory, which will be deployed to rural schools where tuition of Mathematics, Science and English is hampered by a lack of facilities. The Rössing Foundation and Nedbank Namibia joined hands to furnish the first of three mobile labs.
An educational concept that delivered exceptional results in Arandis, Ondangwa and Swakopmund, has been replicated in mobile form and was launched towards the end of the reporting year.
The Rössing Foundation's three centres in Arandis, Ondangwa and Swakopmund benefit mainly teachers and learners living in close proximity of the towns where the centres are located, as transport and other related costs are often too high for learners and teachers located away from these towns. Thus, the majority of rural schools in poor communities continue to miss out on the valuable opportunities offered by this programme.
In our quest to support as many learners and teachers as possible throughout Namibia, the Rössing Foundation initiated the concept of a mobile laboratory that can serve the same purpose as the three centres. We approached local bank, Nedbank Namibia, to assist in making the concept of Foundation's centres mobile, and so the Rössing Foundation Mobile Laboratory was born.
Nedbank has committed to sponsoring three of these vehicles, fully equipped with the necessary instruments and material to bring much needed educational aid in the three critical subjects of Mathematics, Science and English to rural schools. The first vehicle was launched in November 2015, and Nedbank will sponsor the other two vans over the next three years.
Speaking at the launch, managing director of Nedbank, Lionel Matthews, said that education is one of the three defining pillars underpinning Nedbank's philosophy in terms of corporate social investment.
He said, "Education remains a prime ingredient in providing access to employment, economic prosperity, improved quality of life, personal fulfilment and growth for all Namibia's people. That is an undeniable fact. And as a good corporate citizen, Nedbank Namibia will never shun our obligation in this regard. We have visions of the mobile lab being welcomed with joy and enthusiasm by communities in the furthest recesses of our country. But more importantly, we have visions of touching the lives of numerous teachers and learners alike, and inspiring them to embrace a future of untold interest in science and mathematics."
The Minister of Education, Arts and Culture, Honourable Katrina Hanse-Himarwa commended Nedbank and the Rössing Foundation, saying: "With hard work and dedication the two partners have managed to implement an innovative approach to extending the enrichment benefits to rural schools through the practical presence of the Rössing Foundation Mobile Lab and we commend you for it."
The first mobile lab will become operational in 2016.