JUNE DEPARTURE ・ HOST FAMILY OR TEACHER HOUSING ・ TEACH COMPUTER LITERACY
“Contrasting, beautiful Namibia,” sings the Namibian national anthem — and Namibia is indeed a land of contrasts and beauty, both natural and cultural. The environment ranges from the densely populated, palm-dotted plain of Ovamboland to the arid hills of the central highlands, and from the lush forest savanna of the Kavango and Zambezi to the dunes that roll the length of Namibia’s cold desert coast. Among its diverse population are pastoralists, subsistence farmers, and a growing urban middle class. Namibia boasts eleven national languages, of which most Namibians speak two or three. Although English is Namibia’s official language, it is the first language of very few Namibians.
For all its diversity, a spirit of cooperation characterizes Namibia. Today, just a short time since gaining independence from South Africa in 1990, Namibia stands out as country marked with remarkable progress and promise. This atmosphere of cooperation has allowed Namibia to concentrate its resources on basic needs, and education has been a top priority, garnering over 20 percent of the government budget annually.
In 2006, the Ministry of Education developed its Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Education Initiative, and WorldTeach was a founding member of the steering committee tasked with designing its implementation plan. Since that time, over 300 WorldTeach Namibia Summer volunteers have been integral in actual implementation of the initiative’s goals, working with both teachers and students to improve computer literacy as well as promoting ICTs for more effective teaching. In addition to teaching basic computer skills to students and teachers while abroad, volunteers’ jobs often include taking on classes in a range of subjects, all taught in English. The WorldTeach Namibia Summer program is an exciting opportunity to contribute to nationally-driven educational reforms by addressing “digital divide” issues at the most grassroots level through teaching overseas.
[WorldTeach] helped motivate me at a time when many people begin to feel stagnated in their career.
While volunteering abroad with WorldTeach, you work in a dual capacity in rural Namibian classrooms by providing students and teachers with computer literacy instruction to close the digital divide that is prevalent in schools. Placements span all grade levels from elementary to high school.
By working with students in English, it quickly becomes an additional component of your role as a teacher, as you are working with kids that would otherwise receive little quality English language instruction. Depending upon the needs of the school, past volunteers have taught English or other classes in addition to ICT.
Being so close to the school allows you to get to know your learners outside of the classroom, which has been remarked by several WorldTeach alumni as being one of the most meaningful ways to increase your cultural competency and learn about your surroundings. You may choose to help organize a library, start a soccer club, or let your learners teach you how to dance. This will likely be met by giggles at first, but a great sense of humor can aid you throughout your summer experience.
Upon completion of your volunteer service, you will have nearly a week of time to explore this beautiful country with your cohort. The group begins in the northern region of Kunene, in Opuwo, where you meet members of the still relatively untouched Himba tribe, followed by a visit to Epupa Falls. The journey continues south to Etosha National Park, home to the Big Five game animals, and see if you can catch glimpses of the lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, and rhino. The group ends in the large coastal town of Swakopmund, a town of German origins in the Namib desert. Here you have the opportunity to go dune sledding and sand surfing on the vast dune sea, or relax on the beach. The group participates in the End of Service conference in Swakopmund, allowing all of you to reflect on your summer of service in Africa and explorations through multiple regions of Namibia.
Your life outside the classroom is with a local host family or on school grounds with other Namibian teachers who quickly become your in-country family. In either case, you have your own room, and you can expect to bulk up those arm muscles as you carry water from the spigot. While you live within walking distance of your school, it’s common for placements to be a few hours outside of a larger town, however, living in rural Africa doesn’t mean you’ll be at a loss for things to do.
The cost of the Namibia Summer program is $4,990. This covers pre-departure preparation and visa if necessary, supplemental overseas medical and emergency evacuation insurance, one week in-country orientation as well as a Mid-Service and End-of-Service conferences, an Exploration and Reflection excursion lasting up to one week, a small stipend to cover teaching-related expenses, 24-hour field staff support, room and board, and alumni support and networking.
Many volunteers successfully fund raise all or a significant portion of their volunteer commitment. Please refer to our fundraising webpage for more information about fundraising possibilities.
Volunteers in the Namibia Summer program must:
- Be a native-level English speaker
- Be between the ages of 18 and 74
- Be flexible, open-minded, and patient
- Have a genuine interest in teaching