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Know your civil servant - It takes a full stomach to feed the mind

2024-04-12  Correspondent

Know your civil servant - It takes a full stomach to feed the mind

Lahja Nashuuta


HILDE Fudheni Kalipi is a committed public servant who has devoted her life to preparing meals for the marginalised community, and ensuring that underprivileged pupils get their daily bread and no longer go hungry in class.

Kalipi is the chief hostel matron at Tsintsabis Combined School, where she is responsible for supervising other hostel matrons and workers. She is in charge of stock provisions, works out menus, ensures the kitchen and laundry run smoothly, and that all preparations are up to standard.

As chief matron, Kalipi helps new pupils to settle in, and looks after all pupils  in the hostel on a day-to-day basis. 

She monitors the behaviour of pupils within the house, both good and bad, and helps them individually to cope with any crises in their lives. This involves listening to their problems covering a wide range of issues. She is also the point of contact for the pupils’ parents.

“I also give induction to staff members, and receive and regulate the amount of food consumed. My main duty is to ensure that children eat a healthy, balanced and safe meal always,” Kalipi said.

She further said: “I have managed to create a home environment for many pupils, and they no longer drop out, but remain in the hostel. I’m also happy that the environment has become so nurturing that the smile on the pupils’ faces has become constant.” 

Born and bred in Ogongo Village in Omusati region, Kalipi is no stranger to the public service, having joined on 11 January 2016 as a matron at Ruacana High School, and was promoted in January 2020 to chief hostel matron at Tsintsabis Combined School.  “At both Tsintsabis and Ruacana I served predominantly marginalised children,” she said with a contented smile.

Asked how her expertise was beneficial to the school, Kalipi had this to say: “My expertise is beneficial because at my former workplace, I used to work with food and food safety, so moving to the public service, I could implement all the knowledge I gained in a more advanced way. My expertise is beneficial to the ministry because together with the hostel staff, we make it possible for the children to go to school and learn, which is the main aim of the ministry; to educate and transform the Namibian child”.

Before joining the public service, Kalipi worked as a cashier at the Namibia Fish Consumption Promotion Trust in Ondangwa where she also got an opportunity to act as the branch administrator for six months.


Working for government

Working in the public sector can be a fulfilling and rewarding career path for many people and according to Kalipi, in the public sector, there are many opportunities for career progression, clear paths for advancement, with training and development opportunities provided to support civil servants in their careers. Additionally, public sector jobs can come with job security and stable pension, which can provide peace of mind.

“I take pride in the opportunity given to me to serve the public diligently and optimally without expecting more than what the government is already remunerating me,” Kalipi said.

There is no job without challenges and, the language, barrier is an obstacle, especially when dealing with the younger boarders.  

“Tsintsabis community speaks predominantly San languages and I’m unable to communicate with them effectively, although I am trying my best to learn,” she said.

She, however, said her major achievement is managing the transition in the way matrons work as well as establishing an administrative system at the hostel that was not there prior to her arrival. "The salaries' difference between staff who started on the same date, year and rank was also rectified in my era,” Kalipi revealed.

She was quick to reveal that her personal aptitude of being naturally observant, analytical and somewhat disciplined has made it easy for her to adapt to the San community environment. Asked for her take on the public misconception that people working in public institutions are unproductive and inefficient, Kalipi had this to say: “I don’t agree with this statement because I do my work to the best of my ability. I would rather die than provide an inefficient and ineffective service. My work represents my whole existence, and can never be compromised,” she said. Kalipi does not mince her words when explaining that she is not planning to leave the civil service anytime soon. She enjoys the job security that comes with her job, as well as the opportunities for further studies.

Her wish is to climb the ladder to a higher rank. “My dreams are to see myself as a senior administrator in future or a hostel officer at the regional directorate,” she added.

2024-04-12  Correspondent

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