By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK A serious look needs to be taken in adopting more social solidarity funds by the workforce in order to address the poverty crisis in the country. It is only through this solidarity approach that Namibians will be able to help those who are less fortunate than them. This is the sentiment with which the former Prime Minister Dr Hage Geingob commended the Namdeb Employees Social Responsibility Fund (NESRF) for handing over 12 computer laboratories to 10 schools countrywide and two community centres, at a value of N$240 000 in Windhoek on Monday. As a patron of this fund since its inception in 1998, Geingob commended Namdeb for this noble gesture that would go a long way to not only close the digital gap especially for rural schools, but serve as food for thought in taking social responsibility into action. “We must have social responsibility and social solidarity for those who are suffering,” said Geingob when addressing close to 30 school principals, regional governors of the Karas, Hardap and Oshana regions as well as educationalists at the handing over ceremony. He said that initiatives like the Basic Income Grant by the churches should also be placed on the discussion table, as well as the creation of a wealth tax. The latest handing over of computer laboratories to schools, one teachers resources centre and ar development skills resources centre, comes as result of a voluntary process whereby the company deducts N$10,00 from each employee every month as a contribution to the NESRF. Besides that, education, skills development and institutions that support those infected and affected with HIV/Aids are also among the priorities of the fund. Thus since inception the NESRF has played a valuable role in assisting in the plight of disadvantaged and needy communities through financial and material donations over the years. Of the close to 4000 employees of Namdeb, over 20 percent of them have signed up with the fund on a voluntarily basis. To date the fund has disbursed funds amounting to N$500 000 and its administered by a board of trustees consisting of Namdeb employees, management and representatives of the Mineworkers Union of Namibia. The rural schools that will mostly benefit from the handover are from the Oshikoto, Oshana, Omusati, Hardap, Karas and Otjozondjupa regions, including two community centres in the Caprivi and Kavango regions. Through smart partnership with Microsoft, the computer laboratories include a server instead of a one-off PC donation, which may not benefit greater communities in the long run. Thus Microsoft provided the essential software packages, installation and training to these computer laboratories. Speaking at the same occasion, Minister of Education Nangolo Mbumba said that the learners of the various schools should make use of these computers wisely in order to address the socio-economic problems of today. “Use Information Communication Technology (ICT) to retrieve modern information to solve our problems. There are instruments you can use to gain skills and knowledge as the future leadership – it’s just not there for decoration,” said Minister Mbumba, adding that the ultimate goal should be geared towards enhanced ICT in all aspects of life in order to reach the country’s developmental goal of Vision 2030. It is only in this way that Namibia will be able to compete effectively in this fast growing digital village where the use of ICT has become of paramount importance in all spheres of life.
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