By William J. Mbangula Oshakati US Ambassador Joyce Barr has presented grants worth more than half-a-million Namibia dollars to eleven schools with a total of about 3 300 orphans and vulnerable children in the north and north-eastern regions. The schools are from Caprivi (Bukalo and Moso-kotwane), Kavango (Sau-yemwa, Ncagcu and Bun-ya), Ohangwena (Okambe-be and Peumba), Oshana (Olukolo and Okashandja) and Omusati (Oshikulufitu and Amwaanda). These schools have the highest proportion of vulnerable children and their requests were approved after they submitted viable project proposals through the Academy for Educational Development (AED), which is part of the USAID-funded Basic Education Support (BES 111) project. As a result of the vulnerability of orphans, a special challenge was created that ultimately affect children. Addressing education officials, local and regional leaders, community members and anti-HIVAids campaigners, Ambassador Barr said an additional N$1 375 000 will be awarded during the second half of 2006. “The US Government through USAID is providing approximately N$35 million in 2006. This funding will assist the ministries of Education; and Gender Equality and Child Welfare, as well as 15 Namibian NGOs and faith-based groups to provide critical care and support services to over 59 000 orphans and other vulnerable children,” she said. Support for HIVAIDS prevention, care and treatment of vulnerable people in Namibia is being provided under the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. The grants were received by the Minister of Education Nangolo Mbumba on behalf of the Namibian Government. He commended the US Government for increasing its grants while others are scaling down their assistance to Namibia. “Under this programme, funding for Namibia increased from approximately N$160 million in 2004 to around N$270 million in 2005. Currently, the figure stands at N$350 million. Namibia is using these resources well and is achieving significant results, so the US Government was able to more than double its funding in three years. We anticipate a further increase in 2007, ” Barr noted. She commended those who are providing love, care, support and education that the vulnerable children require, namely, the parents and care-givers, teachers, school administrators and concerned community members for their work. “We thank those of you who are working for the Government, NGOs, faith-based groups and the private sector to ensure that the service delivery programs for orphans and other vulnerable children are adequately financed and staffed, well-planned, vigorously implemented and carefully monitored and evaluated.” In his welcoming remarks, the Governor for Oshana, Clemens Kashuupulwa, hailed the donation as the beginning of “a very valuable contribution to the families and communities that are being impacted by the HIV|AIDS pandemic”. He said HIVAIDS had become a big challenge to the regions and the central government in particular, more especially when it comes to the caring of a huge number of vulnerable children. The event was attended by many junior and senior stakeholders in education from near and far, more notably, the Acting Director of Education in the Caprivi Region, Lovemore Lupalezi, and the Deputy Director of Education in the Kavango Region, Samwel Kapare-ro.
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