Mobile Telecommunications Limited last week handed over various machinery and equipment to technical and vocational education training (TVET) graduates and for gardening projects from across the country.
The donations were collected through funds secured from the ‘We Race Together’ project.
The project, which took place last year, managed to rake in N$1.4 million from various corporate pledges. Some 12 gardening projects and 70 TVET graduates benefitted from this project.
“With these auto-mechanic tools and equipment that I received, I can properly solve my clients’ problems. In the process, I can also sharpen my skills as a mechanic. This couldn’t have come at a better time,” said Erickson Negumbo, one of the beneficiaries.
The Namibia Institute of Mining and Technology (NIMT) graduate said the biggest problem for someone in the technical field is acquiring equipment. For this reason, he was over the moon when his proposal was accepted by the deciding committee.
“I can now enhance my business by fixing cars and further distributing posters that were made for me to get more clients. I can do anything car-related. I am willing and ready to continue with this,” said the 24-year-old, who hails from Swakopmund.
One of the committee members tasked with selecting beneficiaries, Jeanine Husselmann, said the sponsors sat and decided to channel funds to assist TVET graduates who do not have equipment to start their businesses.
“The other portion was to assist emerging and existing community gardens, whose primary aim would be to assist the communities in the process of skills’ transfer. An expression of interest was made public via media platforms for all eligible candidates to apply,” she recalled.
Husselmann said 273 applications for community gardens were received, whilst 204 applications for SME empowerment grants were garnered across most regions.
“The vetting process shed light on the number of unemployed, and unemployed vocationally- trained youth. There are non-active participants in the economy. The level of education was just one of the criteria that showed the level of education these candidates had, which was quite high,” she noted.
Husselmann added that the deciding committee was pleased to review community gardens in rural areas that have focused on food security, and aided the local communities in increasing self-sustainability. The long-term hope is that food security will improve to be beneficial at the constituency levels and beyond.
Amidst all of these, the deciding committee was, however, disappointed in the seeming lack of interest from the public, as some regions did not submit any applications.
MTC spokesperson John Ekongo said the committee was deliberate and specific that N$700 000 be earmarked for SME Youth Empowerment for TVET graduates to aid them in purchasing equipment and toolkits for start-ups.
“The other N$700 000 was destined for agro and food production-related issues to emerging and existing community gardening projects. This was earmarked for 12 beneficiaries in Erongo, Kunene, Omusati, Ohangwena, Kavango East, Zambezi, Omaheke and Karas,” he explained.
The initial project brought together more than 140 personalities from across Namibia and from all walks of life to race together in a 4x100 metre relay at Independence Stadium in May 2022.
Launched in 2019 under what is known as the MTC Knockout Project, the ‘We Race Together’ initiative is aimed at creating a platform for corporate Namibia to join hands and raise funds to combat social ills in society.
The initiative first tackled GBV, followed by homelessness, which saw Namibians from all walks of life slug it out in a boxing ring, and secondly on stage singing for a roof over homeless Namibians. The last two editions raised a combined N$2 million, which was channelled to respective themed courses.