French students prepare for Otjimanangombe trip

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French students prepare for Otjimanangombe trip
French students prepare for Otjimanangombe trip

Africa-Press – Namibia. As part of their curriculum requirements, 22 students from the France-based International School of Paris recently held a fundraising event for their voyage to the Epukiro constituency’s Otjimanangombe village in the Omaheke region, slated for July 2024.

Speaking at the occasion, Namibia’s ambassador to France Albertus Aochamub said the student-led sustainable development project has been involved with communities of the settlement since 2011, and the visiting students will be based at the Omuhaturua Primary School.

“This is a completely student-led and organised effort to support 22 French students travelling to the Otjimanangombe settlement as part of their community service experience,” the ambassador stated. Aochamub added that during their three-week tour, the students will also support the Catherine Bullen Clinic, which is a local clinic in the village named after a late Bristol University fifth-year student who visited Namibia on safari with fellow students, and died after a short illness at Oshivelo near the Etosha National Park on 23 August 2002 at the age of 22.

Amongst the activities, the students will plan lessons for local students, complete basic construction projects, and hold discussions around public health and welfare.

“These are all indispensable pillars of sustainable development in communities, and useful learning opportunities for the young minds of the world,” observed the ambassador.

Asked how Namibian learners and residents of the settlement stand to benefit from this initiative, Aochamub said: “In Namibia, they (visiting students) will undertake some renovation and building projects in areas such as the dining facilities, classrooms and ablution facilities. What they can do will depend on how much money they can raise by July, and for now, they are still planning the finite details”.

On the question of whether the International School of Paris will partner with any local institutions of higher learning in Namibia, he said given the range of logistics and costs involved in these undertakings, the school can only manage one partnership at this time.

“Having said that, I am sure that there are many other schools across the length and breadth of the French Republic that other Namibian schools can partner with. We are aware that twinning agreements between towns are possible, and schools can be part of such agreements,” noted the ambassador.

Aochamub referenced the relationship between the town of Otjiwarongo and its twin city in France called Ensisheim.

That relationship died an unfortunate death.

“This was a result of a lack of communication from their Namibian counterparts. The mission did what it could to resuscitate it, but to no avail,” he said. Furthermore, the ambassador stated that the embassy is open to advising Namibian schools to initiate their partnerships, and will help with facilitation.

“These partnerships cannot be on the basis of Namibians approaching things as if we are needy and looking for handouts from the developed North. Instead, I would advise that these relationships have to be approached on a win-win basis by equals,” emphasised Aochamub.

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