USAID started supporting the government’s program in 1991 to 2009 through the Basic Education Systems Project (BES I, BES II and BES III). The project was directed toward providing historically disadvantaged Namibians with the basic competencies of a primary school education. These programs contributed greatly in laying the foundation for students full participation in the political, economic and social life of their country. USAID`s assistance was directed primarily toward teachers and students in northern Namibia, where the most densely populated regions of Namibia are and where most of the country`s toughest development challenges lie. The regions targeted comprise almost 60 percent of the total population of Namibia and more than 70 percent of the total number of primary school children in the country.
BES innovations made a significant impact on education policy making and have contributed conceptually to the current Education and Training Sector and Improvement Program (ETSIP) reforms
Today, USAID supports 500 orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) in grades 1 to 7 through the Ambassador’s Scholarship Program (ASP). Specific objectives include contributing to increasing OVC’ access to, attendance, and retention in school, as well as improving their academic achievement. The program is being implemented in over 80 public schools across the country. Scholarship packages include school supplies, fees, uniforms, hostel fees, and transport.
The AGSP has also been a catalyst for mobilizing private sector to support OVC’ education in Namibia. Standard Bank has extended its funding to AGSP beneficiaries by supporting them through grade 12.
Youth & Workforce Development
Out-of-school youth and those most at risk are an important part of the new workforce “supply pipeline” that businesses need to fill job vacancies in the knowledge-driven economy. USAID supports the Katutura Youth and Enterprise Centre (KAYEC) Trust programs that provide vocational training to marginalized youth, as well as life skills enrichment interventions to vulnerable in-school youth.
The Youth Development (KYD) program addresses the Educational, Psychosocial Support and HIV Prevention needs of vulnerable children and adolescents aged 12-18 who are in–school. The program aims to support children to stay in school. KYD provides a comprehensive life skills program that includes themes on: HIV, Gender Based Violence, Alcohol Abuse, Protection, Child Participation and measures to build resilience and self-esteem of participants. The KYD Program runs in nine Namibian towns and aims to reach a total of 3470 OVC by 2014.
By helping young people build self-confidence and self esteem, and providing them tools to respond to peer pressure use of alcohol or drugs, KAYEC ‘s Youth Development program has seen increased academic performances in its membership. In 2011, for example, 68% of grade 10 participants in the KYD program passed the Junior Secondary Certificate exam, compared to the Namibian national average of 52%. Eighty percent of Grade 12 received their National secondary Certificate, compared to only 20% of their counterparts across the country. That means that the graduates of this particular vocational training program are three times more likely to find a job, than someone who has not completed this training.
USAID through KAYEC’s Artisan Training for Self Employment (ATSE) program aims to train 3,900 vulnerable out-of-school youth and OVC caregivers by 2014. The ATSE program is conducted from KAYEC’s two Vocational Training Centres in Windhoek and Ondangwa. Families are strengthened through KAYECs ATSE program by providing opportunities to learn vocational skills which enable employment and or self-employment opportunities. This not only has a positive impact on the immediate family, but also the overall community.
To support higher education, USAID has funded over 100 scholarships for masters and doctoral studies in the United States, South Africa and Namibia. In addition, USAID has provided merit and need-based scholarships for undergraduate studies in the United States to 12 female students.
Many of the beneficiaries of these scholarships are contributing to their country’s development by occupying key positions either in the public sector, academica and businesses.
Last updated: August 05, 2014