WINDHOEK - The Youth Economic Empowerment Program (Yeep) is offering 15 bursaries for a certificate in Early Childhood Development as well as in Organic Gardening Training to the youth this year.
Jennifer Gatsi says the bursaries are open to all young men and women between 18 to 35 years. She adds that the ECD bursaries encompass physical, socio emotional, cognitive and motor development training for children between 0-8 years. “The first five years of a child’s life are vital because 90 percent of their brain has already developed during that time. If a child receives the right care, stimulation and sensory education, their chance of a more successful life increases dramatically,” says Gatsi.
She adds that children from poorer and marginalised homes who are unable to access support are put at a distinct disadvantage when they are applying for the bursaries. “If they start school at five years without early years’ support, they will have a limited vocabulary and ability to learn,” she explains.
“The Organic Garden Training is a pilot programme, which we are sampling to see whether it will work or not. We will be training 36 young men and women throughout the course of this year in the groups of 12. We will provide a short period, hands on training at our garden in Katutura and thereafter assist the youth in creating their small organic vegetable gardens at their place of residence,” says Gatsi, adding that they will monitor the progress of the gardens every week to provide motivation and encourage continuation until harvest of the produce. “By providing ECD bursaries, we aim to raise awareness for taking urgent action to make sure all children have access to the full range of nurturing care.
The ECD course is one year while the Organic Gardening Training is a short course of three days hands-on most of the time at the youth’s place of residence. Gatsi says Yeep will provide vegetable seeds for the Organic Gardening Training. “Beneficiaries do not pay anything, they are asked to ensure that they have taxi fees for attending the ECD training at the identified training institutions and at the Katutura garden. Yeep pays the fees, study materials and exam fees for the training.”
Yeep is a programme addressing the socio-economic vulnerabilities of marginalised youth. It intends to empower Namibian underprivileged youth through life skills training, vocational training, access to information, and mentorship. The programme so far has benefitted 920 youths since 2009 from Khomas, Oshana, Hardap and Erongo regions.
Some of these youths were from informal settlements and rural areas. Yeep programme has provided bursaries for vocational skills, supplementation of subjects and first year academic degrees at University of Namibia (Unam), Namibia University of Science and Technology (Nust) and the International University of Management (IUM) as well as other private colleges.