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Home / Popya with Teopolina Shingenge - Instilling leadership skills in rural schools

Popya with Teopolina Shingenge - Instilling leadership skills in rural schools

2021-03-31  Paheja Siririka

Popya with Teopolina Shingenge - Instilling leadership skills in rural schools

Third-year UNAM student, Teopolina Shingenge is passionate about education and in her free time provides leadership training to learners in rural areas.

Shingenge who is busy with an honours degree in education, started the programme in February this year because she felt rural learners often do not understand the significance of leadership.

She kick-started the programme in the Omusati region’s Okahao circuit.

“Most of the time, these learners have low self-esteem, fear and are usually shy to speak up for themselves and others hence, this training is to uplift, empower them and create awareness for them,” she told Youth Corner recently.

Shingenge is also an author of a yet to be released children’s book, a businesswoman who runs a day care centre, a laundry mat and food delivery service in the capital.

The 24-year-old stated that when she was in high school, most learners never understood what leadership was and they felt that they could do anything they feel because there are leaders already.

“Seeing this, I decided to do something to help the learners as I have also schooled in rural areas,” recalled Shingenge.

With the permission of the education ministry and schools’ principals, Shingenge gave leadership training and motivational talks to learners at the Niilo Taapopi Senior Secondary School and Nangombe Combined School, impacting more than 50 learners. “The training has impacted their reasoning skills and thinking as they now understand that leadership is more of influence, inspiring and advocacy,” she noted.

Although there was a barrier in terms of language and communication, she said it helped them understand concepts using more visual materials than theory. 

Shingenge offers this leadership training sessions mostly to learners in LRC positions while the motivational talks are held with everyone at the schools.

This programme expects the learners to explore ways on how they can manage their personality, behaviour and preferences as leaders and also advance their skills and confidence in leading the school to achieve the goals, mission, vision and values of the school.

The learners receive certificates of recognition that consist of the basic modules including a depth understanding of emotional intelligence, self-esteem, financial awareness, conflict resolution and team building. 

Shingenge said more schools have shown interest.

Education ministry executive director Sanet Steenkamp said the ministry believes in engagement from out-of-school youth with in-school youth. 

She said, in general, they make an assessment of the material and an engagement with the particular person who wants to offer that specific training, and once it is found that it is positive and uplifting and empowering, only then permission is granted. 

“We are cautious, however, of the time that such events are to be conducted. When it is exam time, we do not allow any visitors to a school. Usually because of Covid-19 we do not allow visits although they practice strict regulations,” added Steenkamp. 


2021-03-31  Paheja Siririka

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