San childhood development under spotlight

14 June 2018 | Social Issues

Among a multitude of hurdles faced by San communities in Namibia in accessing education, health and other basic services are the humiliating and discriminatory treatment experienced at the hand of service providers.

Findings in a recently launched report that assessed integrated early childhood development programmes among San communities indicate that while the delivery of integrated early childhood development (IECD) among the San is gathering momentum, many barriers remain.

“A relatively high number of San children are not accessing some of the early childhood development (ECD) services currently available, particularly those provided by ECD centres.”

Barriers cited by study participants include extreme poverty, long distances and inability to afford decent clothing for children, lack of nutritional support at ECD centres, and a limited awareness of the importance of the full range of ECD services in addition to alcohol abuse.

The report also highlighted that accessing healthcare, child grants and birth registrations are hindered by discriminatory attitudes towards the San, poor quality of services, language barriers, and travel and service costs.

In 2011, 58% of San children were not attending school and only 6% of eligible San children attended secondary school. Of those who started in Grade 1, only 1% complete their schooling, with the majority of San children dropping out before the end of the primary phase.

“This lack of education perpetuates cycles of poverty and inequality, and continues to see low levels of representation in civic engagement and governance,” a statement released at last week's consultative meeting and the launch on the report noted.

The report further highlighted that lack of mother-tongue instruction, limited capacity of educators, inadequate and substandard ECD facilities and infrastructure and failure to adhere to the ECD curriculum and guidelines compromise the quality of early learning in these marginalised communities.

None of the ECD centres visited during the research had any learning material in San languages, and a majority of teachers indicated they had not completed the required minimum 12 weeks of training in ECD.

Alarm bells

IECD services that were taken under the loop during the research for the report, included health, education, nutritional support, child care, protection and birth registration services. The report noted that the most “alarming findings were related to access of services. Specifically health services, child protection services including child grants, civil registration services, police and domestic violence assistance and social services including access to government subsidised food parcels.”

Among the issues that hinder access to services, participants complained that some health workers “insisted on using English, knowing that the patient did not understand this language, and cases of health workers shouting at San patients and humiliating them. Such maltreatment was said to lead to a lack of trust in the services and reluctance to seek health care.”

A number of health facilities are described in the report as “beset by poor staff attitudes, lack of standard operating procedures, and disregard for procedures and opening hours, with limited accountability.”

There were also complaints that “clients from other socio-economic groups” frequently received preferential treatment.

Another issue identified found that while San communities are aware of the availability of social protection services as well as the importance of national documentation such as birth certificates, multiple barriers prevent access.

Access to child grants is impeded amongst other issues by delayed pay-outs, abuse of grants by caregivers, poor customer services and bad attitude by staff with “lack of accountability.”

Moreover, disability care among families with children with disabilities is nearly non-existent and cases where parents were sent home by medical staff and told “the children are well”, were reported.

Research also found that none of the early childhood development centres attended by San had any specialist services to cater children with disabilities.

Key recommendations based on the findings in the report include the need to train San high school graduates to be integrated into ECD centres, community, outreach and other services in their communities.

Moreover, that educator allowances should be “paid regularly and timeously” in addition to reviewing allowances taking inflation into consideration.

Another recommendation is investment in renovating and developing ECD infrastructure and to scale up and expand its educator training programme with a focus on marginalised communities.

Interventions should be harmonised “to ensure consistency in the provision of nutritional support to communities, including ECD centres as an intervention point.”

A number of other recommendations are included in the report.


Similar News


San childhood development under spotlight

5 days ago - 14 June 2018 | Social Issues

Among a multitude of hurdles faced by San communities in Namibia in accessing education, health and other basic services are the humiliating and discriminatory treatment...

Women are critical to development success

1 week ago - 06 June 2018 | Social Issues

The upliftment of women and girls through education and literacy programmes and overall gender equality are undeniably tied to achieving successful development goals in countries...

Homeless People's Parliament to restore dignity

4 weeks ago - 22 May 2018 | Social Issues

The devastating consequences of life on the street were laid bare during the inaugural Homeless People's Parliament that was held last week under the theme...

Trapped in sex trade

1 month - 03 May 2018 | Social Issues

Impoverished village girls as young as 10 are trapped in the flourishing sex trade along the Zambia/Botswana border. Sex workers from Namibia, South Africa,...

Last outpost of contract labour

1 month - 02 May 2018 | Social Issues

People living at the country's sole remaining single-quarters complex, the pre-independence living quarters for labourers at Grootfontein in the Otjozondjupa Region, say they were happy...

Steep increase in OVC grants

1 month - 23 April 2018 | Social Issues

Over the past two financial years the number of grants for orphans and vulnerable children rose by nearly 60 000 to a total of nearly...

Majority say Germany must pay

2 months ago - 16 April 2018 | Social Issues

The majority of Namibians say traditional authorities should join the negotiations for genocide reparations, the latest Afrobarometer survey has shown. Currently two parallel negotiations...

Most Namibians condemn wife beating

2 months ago - 13 April 2018 | Social Issues

While a majority of Namibians say nothing justifies a man beating a woman, men and rural communities are more prone to hold the belief that...

Poverty declines, inequality still high

3 months ago - 15 March 2018 | Social Issues

ILENI NANDJATO Poverty and inequality remain pressing concerns in Namibia despite the latest figures showing a slight decline.The Namibia Statistics...

Sex workers stand up for their rights

3 months ago - 07 March 2018 | Social Issues

JANA-MARI SMITH Poverty, abuse and being shunned by a homophobic and trans-phobic community were some of the push factors named...

Latest News

Kingon re-appointed as SARS commissioner

23 hours ago | Economics

South African Revenue Service (SARS) acting commissioner Mark Kingon’s time at the helm has been extended by another three months, after minister of finance Nhlanhla...

Support for refugees

23 hours ago | Economics

NDAMA NAKASHOLEA total of N$13.2 million has been allocated in 2018/19 financial year to the administration of refugees programme under the home affairs ministry.The programme...


23 hours ago | Economics

Quote of the day“The Minerals Council believes that much more work needs to be done to create a Mining Charter that promotes competitiveness, investment, growth...

Court reins in spies

23 hours ago | Justice

The flimsy fig leaf of national security and secrecy, used by government, especially the Namibia Central Intelligence Service (NCIS), to withhold information in a constitutional...

Phosphate judgment on Thursday

23 hours ago | Environment

Environment minister Pohamba Shifeta has reserved judgment until Thursday on whether the granting of an environmental clearance certificate to Namibian Marine Phosphate (NMP) will be...

Public grills ECN contenders

23 hours ago | Government

OGONE TLHAGEThe Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) has started interviewing candidates for the position of chief electoral officer.For the first time ever, the process, which...

Otjomuise shack fire claims two

23 hours ago | Crime

JANA-MARI SMITH A shack fire in Windhoek’s Otjomuise area killed two people over the weekend.The police reported that the two...

Katrina takes time into own...

23 hours ago | Education

The education ministry has issued a directive that schools may not start earlier than 07:30 or later than 08:30.This follows numerous directives issued by the...

Two in court after drug...

23 hours ago | Justice

Two men arrested in connection with a drug bust at the port of Walvis Bay on Friday made their first court appearance yesterday. Grant Noble...

Load More