14 February 2018

Namibia: Farmer Feeds Vulnerable Pupils At Otjivero School

Omaheke region farmer Marina Lamprecht donated 240 kilogrammes of maize meal to the Otjivero Primary School last Friday after food for the government's school-feeding programme did not arrive.

Lamprecht said she was on standby to deliver more should the ministry of education's much-anticipated supply not arrive during this week too.

She said although it is a month into the schools' first semester, the government's regular supply of maize meal, on which most vulnerable rural schoolchildren depend, has not been delivered to the school yet.

Government's school-feeding programme was launched as a response to the growing needs of pupils who were affected by a series of droughts in the 1990s.

The programme mainly targets rural schools to mitigate the impact of poverty and hunger to allow children from poor families to attend school.

Lamprecht regularly supports the school of 342 pupils with academic and sports supplies, firewood and other necessities.

The permanent secretary in the ministry of education, Sanet Steenkamp, on Monday said she was not aware of the delay in the delivery of the feeding programme at the Otjivero Primary School.

She, however, stated that the food tender under the programme has been extended, and there are no records of any interruption in delivery to the school.

Last year, Lamprecht delivered more than 1 000kg of maize meal for the school-feeding programme, in addition to meat which she regularly donates from her trophy hunting outfit, Hunters Namibia Safaris.

"For the majority of the pupils, this provides their only regular source of protein," she said, adding that trophy hunters invest in the environment and wildlife at every level, as well as interact with the local community.

"This form of hunting has generated more jobs, pays a good salary, and offers on-the-job training and promotional opportunities than any other form of rural land utilisation in the country, she noted.

In addition, Lamprecht said selective and sustainable trophy hunting has given wildlife a value far greater than that of their meat alone.

"When rural communities benefit from wildlife, they are far more likely to protect it. Trophy hunting has proved to be the greatest conservation success of our time," said the enthusiastic farmer who regularly presents seminars on the topic internationally.

Rebecca Heita, principal of the Otjivero Primary School, said most of the pupils are orphans, and are being raised by their grandparents.

"Most go hungry when the expected supply of maize meal is not delivered on time," she stated.

The Namibian on Monday contacted several other schools across the country, including the Opuwo Primary School, Gammams Primary School, Van Rhyn Primary School and Ngewe Primary School, who all said they had already received their maize meal deliveries under the school-feeding programme.

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