Oshilambwili village in Ohangwena Region inaugurated its first ever early childhood development (ECD) centre last Friday.
The centre was officially opened by the Deputy Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, Lucia Witbooi, as part of the government’s strategy to build ECD centres in remote areas across the country and laying a foundation in developing children from an early age to help prepare them for formal education.
The Oshilambwili ECD centre is one of three centres built in Oshikunde Constituency by the Ohangwena Regional Council with Ombumbu and Onakanghudi villages also benefiting from this initiative.
The three ECD centres cost the regional council N$918,000 to establish, with the Oshilambwili centre taking up N$250,000 of the total amount.
Ohangwena Regional Council’s deputy director of rural services, Natalia Ndaitwa, stated the regional council was indeed committed to bringing services to the whole community, including those in the remotest of areas and helping these communities to achieve economic development.
“Education is one of the government’s primary areas of focus. It is a fundamental building block for the reservation workforce and economic development. Let us make sure that the Namibian child gets a first class education despite the situation,” said Ndaitwa.
Ndaitwa urged the communities of Oshilambwili village and nearby villages to own the ECD centre and treat it as their own, as well as encouraged parents to take care of the centre by continuously maintaining it.
Witbooi also urged the community to spread the importance of early childhood development to neighbouring villages and assured the community that the ministry was indeed busy with the process of relieving the burden of the community paying caretakers.
“The ministry is currently busy with the process of placing qualified caretakers at all ECD centres in the country and also making sure that the communities no longer have to pay for caretakers from their pockets as the government is busy accommodating them on their payroll,” she said.
Oshilambwili ECD centre is located nine kilometres south of Oshikunde and has 30 learners and a qualified caretaker, who underwent a seven-week training offered by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare.
• Michael Samuel is an information officer at the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) stationed in Eenhana in the Ohangwena Region in the north.