Minister of Health and Social Services and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Hifikepunye Pohamba Foundation, Dr Kalumbi Shangula, said "a nation that is not food secured is a vulnerable nation; therefore, something needs to be done".
Shangula was speaking to Farmers Forum on reasons why the foundation has decided to set aside money to fund food security programmes to strengthen the sector, so that there is a sufficient number of people with the technical know-how of ensuring food security for the country. The foundation seeks potential candidates who need funding and want to pursue a career in food security.
He further explained the foundation is looking at funding students who cannot afford to pay for their studies. "We are looking at vulnerable, orphans and destitute people who are unable to secure funding," stated Shangula.
He said the focus is on the tertiary level of education. "We mostly concentrate on undergraduate studies, so that we can have a critical mass; however, we do not exclude any postgraduate study if it merits the objective of the foundation," stated Shangula.
The criterions for the funding include, among others, providing proof of acceptance at a tertiary institution in Namibia. There are no limitations because the funding will also cater for institutions outside Namibia, provided that such courses are not offered at home.
The foundation does not have a specific number of students it intends to fund. "For now, we want to establish how many will qualify according to the criteria and how many we can fund," Shangula explained.
He appealed to prospective students to apply timeously, as there is a tendency of them applying late. "What has been happening in the past is we always give November 30th as the deadline, but we notice that some seek funding in January. We do not accept applications after November 30th; we have to process them and wait for January results to award the grants to the suitable candidates," he noted.
The Hifikenpunye Pohamba Foundation, which was launched in 2014, has funded more than 30 students so far in the food security field.