Namibia: Eighty five educarers in Namibia finish their ECD training before the end of year




ICEIDA has, for the last two years, supported Early Childhood Development (ECD) in Namibia. In this support the agency has emphasised the training of educarers for kindergartens. “Initially, the plan was to provide more extensive support to ECD, but following the economic collapse in Iceland, it became clear that only very limited funding would be available” says Davíð Bjarnason, Project Manager for Social Projects in Namibia.

The importance of early childhood development does not need much iteration says Davíð. In the early years of children's live the foundation is laid for their development, education and wellbeing. “Most developing countries have, in their effort to reach the Millennium Goals and the goals of Education for All, put main emphasis on primary education. UNESCO´s evaluation report on Education for All, from 2007, pointed out that Early Childhood Education provides the foundation for other goals on education, as well as contributing to the MDGs. However, Early Childhood Development has not been attended to in relation to this. Therefore, important basis of children's further education in the developing countries is widely lacking,” he says.

The training of educarers is the main emphasis of Iceland's support, according to Davíð, since their capacity and knowledge is a key factor contributing to a stimulating learning and play environment at a kindergarten, ICEIDA has supported the training of 85 educarers in cooperation with the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare (MGECW), 60 of them have finished their training and 25 will finish it in December this year.

In the 12 weeks training course, emphasis is put on basic factors in childcare and child development, along with teaching practical ways for play and  toy making from recycled material where “conventional” learning material and toys are not available. Davíð says that most of the participants are women from the rural areas, who run their own kindergartens but have little or no education. The course is acknowledged by the Ministry of Education in Namibia and gives the participants an opportunity to get further education in this field. Davíð mentions that furthermore, 10 deaf youth have finished the training and the plan is for them to start work with deaf children in their home villages.  Also, 20 Ovahimba women are now studying a year-long course in Early Childhood Education, at the Namibian College for Open Learning, with the support from ICEIDA.

ICEIDA has also supported the development and printing of learning and awareness materials for ECD in Namibia as well as the construction of a kindergarten and an ECD resource centre for the San in the village of Tsintabis in the northern part of the country.