Education sports event a huge success

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Hilmah Hashange

Mariental-Organisers of the recently concluded annual national sports event in conjunction with the ministry of Education, Arts and Culture, expressed satisfaction with the spirit that prevailed during the successful hosting of this year’s gathering since its inception nine years ago.

The five-day annual gathering featuring sports, cultural activities and a beauty pageant celebrated its 10th year of existence in the southern town of Mariental, Hardap Region earlier this month.

Debutant Ester Shivute from Khomas Region said the event offered an opportunity to bond with her colleagues. “I didn’t realise that my colleagues and I can actually work together as a team; in the office everyone is so individualistic. We were rooting and supporting each other throughout the games while I also met new people. I really had great fun”, she added.

Another staff member attending the event for the 8th time, Ismael Aupindi from Ohangwena Region praised the host town for the friendliness, as well as the crime-free environment. “The event was properly organised, especially the locally prepared food, while team spirit was very high amongst the players. I really enjoyed the games.”

According to the chairperson of the portfolio ministry’s social sports club, Kandiwapa Amwele, one of the main highlights contributing to the successful hosting of the event was the innovative ideas Hardap staff came up.

The host region was also praised for organising events geared towards uniting staff members, that included a gospel show topped by a cultural evening, which saw staff members showcase cultural attire. All these, according to Amwele, had never been done before at previous events.

The governor of the Hardap Region also played a major role from the beginning having been an ever-present figure at all preparatory meetings up until the closing ceremony. “When your political leaders are involved in such activities, it gives one more reason to want to improve and do more,” she said.

Amwele pointed out that the purpose of the event was to bring together regional office staff members and those at head office from all directorates in the portfolio ministry to interact with one another and form work-related links.

“The aim is for the staff to social and also get a chance to get away from their busy schedules and see places in the country that they would not have otherwise seen.”

The annual gathering is staged in a different region each year to allow staff members to explore the diversity of the country. “This year, we brought them to Mariental, so that those that have never seen the Hardap Dam could see it for the first time. Last year, we were in Katima Mulilo and staff members had the opportunity to see the Zambezi River, giving them exposure,” Amwele noted.

Ironically, the gathering was almost called off due to various challenges. “There were financial challenges of hosting an event of this magnitude. The ministry has been very supportive. As much as these are sports games, this is also a team-building exercise, which will only increases the focus of the staff in fulfilling the mandate of the ministry when they are interacting together.

“We are all aware of the government’s financial position. These games were under threat of not taking place, but we engaged and came up with various ways aimed at minimising costs in order of the games to go ahead,” Amwele said.

“So, the fact that the games were allowed to go ahead is a major highlight amidst all the financial difficulties the ministry is currently experiencing” he said.

Amwele pointed out that the largest chunk of the finance went to catering for about 900 people. He however noted that the staff were accommodated in school hostels and were not given any subsistence and travelling allowances to take part in the event.

“The costs were higher in previous years but this year it only cost us N$450,000, because we were very specific in terms of how much caterers could charge the ministry per plate for breakfast and supper. He said other logistical costs, such as the payment of referees, was done by the clubs. “Each sports club had to contribute N$6,000 to the host region, which made up total of N$92,000.”

The logistical costs do not necessarily come from government, all the regions have sports club that are active and have members who pay monthly fees. Through the collection of membership fees, the clubs are able to subscribe to the national sports club, of which the annual fee of N$6,000 is given to the host region to supplement their budget for logistics.

Going forward, the ministry aims to approach various companies to perhaps partner with them and see how to share the financial costs of the game. The 2018 annual sports games is scheduled to be hosted in Gobabis in Omaheke Region.

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