OPUWO – Kunene governor Marius Sheya and various other government departments recently held a consultative outreach programme with the community of Otjinungua.
Otjinungua is a village in the north-west of Namibia about 280 km from Opuwo in the mountainous area that is home to indigenous Ovahimba, Ovatjimba and Ovatue communities - with a population of between 4000 and 5000.
The aim of the meeting was to give feedback to the community on their requests from different ministries, as most of the issues raised concerned different government departments.
One of the major issues was that the community has no clinic. The nearest clinic, which is about 80 kilometres away, is only accessible by road through the rugged terrain. It takes almost a three to four hours’ drive to reach the clinic.
Besides, there is no communication network in that area or access to information through NBC radio.
The only primary school in the area has 91 learners from pre-primary school to Grade 6 and four teachers. Learners are housed in a community hostel, which has no electricity. The school at least has its water pumped from the river through a communal water tap it shares with the community, with the help of the local conservancy. However, it is not always easy for learners because the water from the tap is insufficient and they have to share it with livestock.
Teachers at this school resort to multi-teaching methods by combining grades and the learners are introduced to multi-learning methods of mixed grades, which makes it difficult for them to concentrate, and difficult for teachers to deliver lessons optimally.
The other challenge the school faces is the school-feeding programme. The community said it takes too long to replenish meals when they are finished and learners are forced to return home before another consignment arrives, as they stay far away within the radius of 8km to 9km from the school, sandwiched between mountains. It is difficult for the learners to commute every morning to and from school due to the area’s rugged, mountainous terrain, the community said.
Each member of the community echoed the sentiments of their headman Matengekuani Tjambiru, who said: “We need a clinic as a matter of urgency because if there is no health among the community it becomes a big challenge.”
The Director of Kunene Region for Health Thomas Shapumba promised the community that a clinic would soon be constructed.
“Be assured that your cry has been answered, all the stages of government procedures are completed, and we are just waiting for the tender of the construction of the clinic to be advertised.”
The lack of mobile network coverage was their second main challenge. They said they cannot wait for MTC’s 081Every1 network rollout scheme to reach them.
The community also raised the issue of drought and water scarcity in the area.
Selma Gumbo is an Information Officer working for the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology in Kunene Region.
2019-08-14 07:23:54 | 3 months ago