On 17 May 2016, Practicum participants learned about the importance of volunteering and caring for those around them through an interactive presentation and practical participation in two projects. The practical work included creating get-well-soon cards for cancer patients and cleaning up the streets around the United Nations House in Windhoek, Namibia.
The UNIC Windhoek team started the day by defining what volunteerism is, why it is important and offered a few different ways that the practicum participants could volunteer in their own communities. Through videos as well as testimony by the UNIC Windhoek team, the students learned that it is important to serve our fellow human beings and lend a supportive hand wherever possible. The students also learned about the importance of developing a connection with the people they serve and sharing what they learn while volunteering in order to motivate other people to bring about change as well.
The students were excited to share their own ideas of ways to get involved in their communities and to begin bringing about change. After the presentation, the students began to take action themselves by creating get-well-soon cards for young cancer patients, with the intention of bringing a smile to the little heroes’ faces who bravely fight their illnesses every day. Continue reading →
Participants graduated on Friday, 20 May 2016 from UNIC Windhoek’s High School Practicum Programme, hosted at a local restaurant in Windhoek, Namibia.
The participants dressed up for the graduation and went with the UNIC Windhoek team to Nyama, located in the centre of Windhoek. After finding their seats at the table, Anthea Basson, the National Information Officer for UNIC Windhoek thanked the students for their hard work and dedication to the programme.
The graduation ceremony followed and Anthea Basson handed over the certificates to each of the participants as well as assessments about each students’ performance, skills and improvement throughout the course of the programme.
Basson noted that the first intake of students had already set the bar high for the programme, she noted with pride how much positive growth she had seen in all the students and what a remarkable transformation it has been. “I encourage you to use these and similar platforms to build on the skills and knowledge you have been exposed to over the past couple of weeks and to nurture these to become well rounded, global citizens,” she concluded. Continue reading →
On 19 May 2016, the United Nation Information Centre (UNIC) Windhoek’s Practicum Programme participants saw the impact climate change has had on Namibia by visiting Avis Dam and finished off the day with a MUN simulation through which the participants discussed the topic of wildlife trafficking.
To start off the day, the UNIC Windhoek team and the practicum students visited Avis Dam, which is one of the three main dams that supply water to Namibia’s Central Region in which Windhoek is located. The students were shocked to see the dam, which is currently completely dry, and exclaimed that it looks more like a football field than a dam.
After learning about the impact climate change has had on Namibia early in the Practicum Programme, the students were able to see firsthand how dry Namibia indeed has become as a result of the drought. The students were deeply concerned about this development and amazed at how fast the drought is affecting the local vegetation and water bodies. In order to encourage a focused dispute over the impacts of the water crisis the students were then divided into four groups and were assigned four different roles: a water company, a low income family, the government and a local game reserve.
The students answered questions about the water crisis and water conservation based on their assumed roles and presented their answers to the other groups. They shared how the water crisis has impacted their entity, where they intend to get water when the water is gone and what ways their entity can conserve water. After listening to each group, the students came to the realization that all sectors of society have been severely impacted by the water crisis and that united action needs to be taken to combat the issue in a sustainable way. Continue reading →
On 18 May 2016, Practicum participants learned about Model United Nations Namibia (MUNNAM). They participated in compiling and presenting opening speeches, worked on negotiating and began researching for a MUN simulation on wildlife trafficking.
To start off the day, the UNIC Windhoek team presented about MUN. The participants learned that MUN is an academic simulation of the United Nations where students act as delegates from various countries serving on UN committees whom attempt to solve real world issues using the policies and perspectives of their assigned country.
After learning more about MUN, the students were then assigned various countries, took on the role as delegates and were given the topic of whether or not junk food should be sold at school tuck-shops or in school vending machines. They then wrote opening speeches and presented them to the other delegates, abiding by the rules and regulations of MUNNAM. An opening speech typically lasts about one minute or 1min. 30 seconds and is the first speech that a MUN Delegate delivers to the committee.
Following a lunch break, the students were asked to come up with a skit that could be a ‘commercial’ encouraging fellow students at their school to participate in the MUN programme. Depicting scenes of students learning about MUN from their friends, to scenes of students participating at the actual conference, the practicum participants put on a great show that was informative and creative.
Material about MUN procedures, rules and study material were then handed out to the students to help strengthen each students’ knowledge on MUN. Continue reading →
On 11 May 2016, UNIC Windhoek learned about the role of the government as well as the private sector in eradicating inequality through economic policy.
The seminar, which was titled “The role of Government and the Private Sector in a Developmental State”, included informative and thought-provoking speeches by Namibia’s Minister of Finance Calle Schlettwein and world-renowned economist Professor Joseph Stiglitz.
Both Minister Schlettwein and Professor Joseph Stiglitz mentioned the situation of poverty in Namibia.
Although the percentage of the population in poverty has reduced from 27.6% in 2003/4 to 19.5% in 2010/11 and those in severe poverty has reduced from 13.8% to 9.6% in the same years through the war on poverty, Minister Schlettwein urged that a large amount of Namibians are still in poverty.
As part of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, Goal #1 is to end poverty in all forms. Minister Schlettwein echoed this goal when outlining Namibia’s Vision 2030, which also aims to eradicate poverty through income generation and social protection. Continue reading →
Counting the days until the end of the high school practicum programme in an exciting and educational way, the UNIC Team began with a game to awaken the students from the long weekend. On 16 May 2016, the practicum participants played charades based on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, officially known as Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This was not only entertaining, but also instructive and the exercise received a positive response from the participants.
This playfulness transitioned into a brief presentation on key information around the SDGs, namely their evolution, the parties involved in their enactment, and lastly the practical implementation on country level. While the students were amazed about the progress that already has been made in the last 15 years, especially in terms of poverty reduction, improved health and improved gender equality, they realized that it is still a long and difficult path to reach peace and prosperity for everyone in our world. Continue reading →
As part of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Windhoek’s Practicum Programme, one of the participants, Gabriel Hamwala, gave an engaging and educational presentation about the Sustainable Development ‘Goal #13: Climate Action.’
The Practicum Programme, aims to educate secondary students on the work of the United Nations as well as to provide the students with practical skills. Gabriel, who will be attending an Environmental Summit next week, was given an extra assignment in lieu of the final week of the programme.
Given the task of researching Goal #13 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Gabriel worked on his presentation for four days, utilizing resources in UNIC Windhoek’s library as well as putting in the extra effort and working on it at home.
On 11 May 2016,Gabriel presented on the goal to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts on our world today. He first explained what the Sustainable Development Goals are, using a video to reiterate the ideas he had shared with his audience.
Following an in-depth introduction to the SDGs, Gabriel explained what climate change is, the effects of it as well as provided facts supporting his claims. He then went into the specific aims of Goal #13 and provided a holistic overview on the steps that need to be taken to comply with its objectives. Continue reading →
On 12 May 2016, the group of Practicum participants under the leadership of Anthea Basson and UNIC team undertook an excursion to the Independence Memorial Museum as part of the 5 week training course for the young high school students. The excursion formed part of the comprehensive training and interactive activities the group had done over the course of the programme on Human Rights and Genocides.
During the past 150+ years, millions of people have lost their lives in genocide or mass atrocities. After learning about the Rwanda Genocide, the students embarked on a surprise visit arranged by UNIC Windhoek to the Independence Memorial Museum to experience historic examples from home and as a reminder to the youth to not stand by and watch history repeat itself.
From the onset the students were astonished by how many Namibian lives were lost during Namibia’s liberation struggle, a long fight for freedom, equality and justice.The triple floor exhibition provided more detailed anecdotes of the history of Namibia. The chronological order of events started with the 19th century and carried through to the Cassinga Massacre.
At the end of the tour, the students were shown the central piece of the exhibition – a big and powerful panorama, portraying all major events on the long and bloody battle of Namibian independence in just one large painting. Amazed by all these impressions, practicum students headed back to the UN house in Klein Windhoek to reflect on what they had experienced. This followed preparation on their next day’s work, namely the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted in September 2015.
On the 10 May 2016, the high school practicum program participants covered two topics, communication skills (as part of the skills training in the programme) and the Rwanda Genocide as part of their human rights studies (UN work). The students kick started their morning with an exciting communication skills exercise.
They were tasked to research and present different communication skills and later demonstrate how to professionally and persuasively spread a message. The teams delivered presentations touching on negative and positive body language, the tone to use when giving a presentation and tips for a well-designed and interesting layout. The exercise refreshed the students’ memory on how to properly deliver a presentation. Ms. Anthea Basson from UNIC Windhoek congratulated the presenters for improving their presentation skills compared to the days before leaving the students peppy and excited for new topics to come.
The communications component was followed by the UNIC team presenting on the Rwanda Genocide that took place in Rwanda during the 100-day period from April 7 to mid-July 1994. The team led the students through the chronological history of the genocide.
Based on this historical learning session, the students were divided into three groups and had to answer the following questions to gain a better understanding of the work of the UN at that time and the occurrences typically preceding and following a genocide. The questions read as follows: How could the outcome of the Rwandan Genocide have been different if the UN intervened quicker and more efficiently? What could the UN member states have done to prevent the Genocide from happening in the first place? What recommendations do you make that genocide does not appear in the future? Continue reading →
“What if we were to implement mother tongue language in the Namibian education system?”
As part of the ongoing Practicum Programme for High School students, participants focused on Mother Language on 11 May 2016. After learning more about the official UN observance on Mother Languages, the participants dug deeper to learn more about the topic.
Considering that Namibia is a relatively small population, it is extraordinarily diverse in language and culture. More than 11 languages are spoken in Namibia with English as the official language. Language barriers has become a major problem due to the growing number of students who struggle to speak English.
This situation left the practicum students with the important question on how to tackle the deficits in the future and strengthen understanding. On Wednesday 11 May, the practicum participants engaged in a heated debate on the topic, with the central question being: “What if we were to implement mother tongue language in the Namibian education system?” Continue reading →