Teachers from secondary schools across Windhoek visited the UN House in Klein Windhoek on Tuesday, 28 April to learn about the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Windhoek’s High School Practicum Programme (HSPP).
The HSPP, the first programme of its kind worldwide, began in 2016. It is designed for the Namibian child and involves real life experience working in an international development environment and engaging with UN Staff mentors.
Each day of the two-week long programme, HSPP participants learn about the United Nations, its work and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and their skills are put to the test through educational and interactive practical sessions.
Anthea Basson, the National Information Officer and Head of UNIC Windhoek, highlighted that the programme benefits learners’ education. Continue reading
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
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
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
Earth’s climate is changing? Increasing evidence shows that human activities will make a significant contribution in combatting climate change.
On 5-6 May 2016, UNIC Windhoek’s high school practicum session helped students understand climate change, its impacts and provide solutions and prepares them to take an active role in making good choices for both society and the environment, particularly in Namibia. The scholastic session also provided a briefing on the legally binding and universal agreement on climate, the Paris Agreement.
The detailed lesson plan examined evidence of different climate change effects on the world with a general focus on Namibia. Continue reading
After learning more about the United Nations, the practicum participants dived deeper into the work of the United Nations. On 5th May 2016, UNIC Windhoek explained the concept of human rights and the students researched articles of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
The session started with an engaging video about human rights. The students were surprised to learn that the concept of human rights did not exist until Cyrus the Great and Mahatma Gandhi laid the fundamentals for these pertinent, universal rights.
They also began to understand the importance of ensuring human rights for all people as they saw images of human suffering and as they found out violations of human rights here in Namibia. The students were in disbelief after hearing that one out of three children are poor; one out of four children suffers from abuse and one out of seven children do not have proper shelter in Namibia. Continue reading