The United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Windhoek’s two week High School Practicum Programme – HSPP came to a ceremonious end on Friday, 19 May 2017. The HSPP, the first programme of its kind worldwide, began in 2016 and is designed for the Namibian child. It involves real life experience working in an international development environment and engaging with UN Staff mentors. The students were awarded certificates of participation which included an evaluation of their involvement in the programme.
Each day of the two-week long programme, the twenty two HSPP participants learned about the United Nations, its works and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and their skills were put to the test through educational and interactive practical sessions. The programme is designed for high school students who have a keen interest in developing their understanding of the works of the United Nations and who want to enhance their potential as agents of change in Namibia.
The 2017 HSPP programme was an intensive and interactive programme which developed their skills in organizing, mobilizing and recognizing themselves as agents for social change. It engaged the students on various topics such as; amongst others, an understanding of the United Nations and the Sustainable Development Goals. The participants learned about the importance of the SDG’s and practical ways in which they can apply them in their daily lives. The programme also covered ‘Technology and Education’, and enlightened the youth on the revolution of technology on our society and future generations. The Youth Empowerment and Development session of the programme encouraged the youth to take charge of their lives and highlighted the importance of education as a necessary vehicle to guarantee the welfare of the youth through training.
Celebrating the excellence of the participants, UNIC Windhoek’s National Information Officer Ms. Anthea Basson, thanked the students for their participation and commitment to the programme, she further remarked that “the youth are a creative and dynamic force that lies at the forefront of social change. They are the leaders of tomorrow and the world we are building today. The future depends on their ability to critically evaluate previous ideas; innovate on current methods and effectively advocate for progressive and inclusive policies”. Continue reading →
On 18 May 2017, the High School Practicum Student’s first task of the programme for Day 9 was dealing with peer and mentor assessment. The students were assessed using set criteria such as self confidence, self-direction, communication skills, social and cross cultural skills and critical and creative thinking. The learners received a guideline sheet where the criteria and evaluation aspects were defined in detail. Furthermore they received an evaluation sheet where the learners could choose 3 mentors and team mates who would asses them in the mentioned categories.
The team had a 30 min tea break followed by an exercise where the learners had to write a short statement about their favorite part of the High School Practicum Programme. While reading out their statements afterwards, the favorite topics where collected on a whiteboard and were identified to be: the Work Integrated Learning(WIL) Workshop from the NUST Cooperative Education UNIT, the excursion to the National Library of Namibia, the Paratus Telecom presentation about technology and education, the engagement with the SDGs on the 2nd day of the HSPP, the exhibition to Wernhill park where the team needed to inform the public about the SDGs, the presentation and theoretical performances of day 4 which were educating the team about the importance of accurate information and finally the personal interviews with Anthea. Continue reading →
The High School Pacticum Programme is in its eighth day and the students continue to showcase great enthusiasm and participation. They began their morning session on 18 May with a review facilitated by UNIC’s Anthea Basson on what they did the day before.
After the review, Anthea handed over to the team Alphonce and Emma to engage with the team on two different topics; namely the “Effects of hunger and poverty in the Namibian youth” and “How can the United Nations assist in engaging the youth in fighting against poverty?”. The team was then divided into two groups tasked to to do research on the topics received. After completing their research the students came up with questions that they were going to ask one another.
Once they formulated their questions, the programe led into a round table discussion where each team presented their topic to the other team. Meanwhile, the other team was allowed to ask questions. The discussion became heated as each team tested the others’ arguments. The first group brought up issues such as how hunger can lead to youth neglecting their education, and the second group spoke about how the United Nations can implement programs specifically to educate the youth.
The intense discussion called for a brief tea break which was followed by another similar discussion. Only this time, the topics were “What issues are not addressed in relation to youth and hunger?” and “How can the youth assist in breaking the cycle of poverty and hunger?” Once again the groups presented their findings after doing a bit of research and then again were questioned by the opposing team. The first group told the others about issues such as “political agenda behind food distribution” and “The lack of infrastructure can cause hunger.”The second group suggested the building of greenhouses in urban areas in order to provide food and jobs for the youth. It was an exciting debate.
Youth Empowerment and Development is a process where children and young people from 16 -35 are encouraged to take charge of their lives and provide the youth with possibility’s and options to do so. An important aspect to achieve the empowerment of the youth is to make them believe in themselves to have an impact on their self-consciousness, thoughts, beliefs, values and their attitude. To actively empower themselves the youth could e.g. participate in the problem solving progresses in their community’s.
The day started with a motivational and encouraging speech from Mr. Mandela Kapere, from The National Youth Council. We were impressed to find out that he participated in the writing of the African Youth Charter of the African Union. He mostly focused on the Youth Empowerment and Development.
Mr. Kapere mentioned a few important issues and solutions to improve the lifestyle of the youth. He mentioned that education is absolutely necessary to guarantee welfare of the youth through training that the government offers to the youth to try and better their future. The National Youth Council’s goal is to help woman, mainly from the rural areas so they too can have better opportunities in life. The council also focuses on helping children with disabilities to learn to be independent and get equal opportunities. He further emphasized that sexuality is a problem amongst the youth and the community at large and in order for the youth to tackle these issues, the youth should be encouraged to uplift each other and not judge one another. Continue reading →
On the 15th May 2017, the High School Practicum Program (HSPP) participants took on the task to bring information to the public by raising awareness about the United Nations and its mandate. The main focus of this exhibition was to domesticate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as distribute other publications of the United Nations. The exhibition took place at Wernhil Mall and the display stand was located in front of Wimpy with UN banners and material about the United Nations.
In an effort to support the UN in achieving vision 2030, the (HSPP) participants distributed materials to the public which comprised of the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) flyers, the Namibian Constitution and the SDG report 2016.
The team approached the public, both young and old by handing out flyers and utilizing the skills learned over the past week to speak to the public and tell them more about the SDGs and the United Nations. The public information sharing and knowledge management exercise is also aimed at youth supporting or engaging the youth. The Namibian population is primarily made up of the youth who comprises of 66% of the total population. The future leaders needs to take control of the country’s development agenda and educated themselves on the ideals of the UN to make informed decisions that will be beneficial to the future of the country.
At the beginning of the activity the participants were a bit hesitant and struggled with identifying who to approach, but with time confidence was gained and it became easier to approach random strangers and spread the message across cultures.
The public was very engaging and asking questions such as what are the SDGs about, what is the UN currently doing? How does this information benefit them as a public? What evidence is there to show that the UN is working towards vision 2030? Continue reading →
On 12 May 2017, day 5 of the High School Practicum Program, paid a visit to the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) to learn about life after high school and the benefits of Work Integrated Learning (WIL).
Upon arrival the learners were welcomed by Ms. Carol Millward (Cooperative Education Unit) and her team. Ms. Millward introduced Mr. Michael Kisting, the career guidance counselor of NUST, who delivered an informative yet entertaining presentation on life after high school. The presentation focused on work ethics, discovering ourselves and the dos and don’ts when choosing a career. He highlighted questions like: What jobs are in demand? Is the salary good? Are the hours short? Will it make me happy? Am I passionate about it? Is it really what I want to do? Just to name a few.
Mr. Kisting also presented a chart on the vast personality types that exist, we had to select a particular personality, which resonate well with each of us. This was complemented with a handout on several job types that fits each personality. For example conventional types which suits individuals that are more detail orientated and the social personality type which suits individuals that are more understanding.
After the inspiring and thought provoking presentation, Ms. Millward provided food for thought on Work Integrated Learning (WIL), which focused on 3 main targets: the students, employer and Universities. The presentation was followed by a practical activity where the team was divided into 3 groups according to their grades. The practical challenged the students to up their skills on their future goals. The learners all shared common goals “to obtain excellent grades/results”. Continue reading →
On Thursday 11 May 2017, the High School Practicum Students reflected on their 4th day of the programme. UNIC’s Anthea Basson welcomed the group back and listened to each person’s reflection and feedback. This simple exercise provided insight in the value of listening with intent and valuing and appreciating what the next person has to say. Following a session of taking group pictures, the UNIC team took to the stage and role played a scene.
Mpho from UNIC Windhoek,set the scene and acted out a play as a political figure delivering a public speech to the community. He was campaigning for a fictional political party (“BBB”) where he was slandering his opponent, the fictional “GGG” party. E.g. he blamed the “GGG” for not keeping their promises to the public. During his speech he didn’t provide the community with valid facts or evidence. He opened the floor for questions where UNIC’s Emma acted as a journalist and attempted to ask him questions such as, “could you provide evidence for your claims against the “GGG” party?” Mpho avoided informative answers and chose to raise his voice and insult the journalist for asking inquisitive questions.
He ended the play by asking the group what was wrong with his speech. Together a discussion unfolded about the speech and the students concluded that the speech contained sure elements and traits of propaganda. The objective of the role play and discussion was to teach the students how to identify vague, subjective and misleading information presented as accurate facts.This was followed by a presentation by the UNIC team on the importance of accurate information. The presentation detailed the evolution of communication, tracing the timeline of news, new forms of journalist, the digital era as well as the prevalence of “fake news.” Continue reading →