Namibia Country Information
"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 Caprivi to the dunes that roll the length of Namibia's cold desert coast. Among Namibia's diverse population one finds 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 twenty years after gaining independence from South Africa, 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 30 percent of the government budget annually.
Namibia Summer 2010 volunteer, Meredith Baker, discusses the immense strides Namibia has made after only 20 years of Independence as a nation in the. Click here to read the article in the Harvard Crimson.
WorldTeach volunteers definitely need to be independent and creative thinkers. Without being able to confront challenges and develop solutions on my own, my experience probably would have been a disaster. Volunteers also need to be flexible - you can only ever expect the unexpected.
- WorldTeach Namibia Volunteer, 2010
Unique Challenges for Namibia Volunteers
Namibia is a geographically beautiful yet vast country, second only to Mongolia as the least densely populated country on the planet. While volunteer placements are clustered regionally, placements are individual and therefore, can be isolating, particularly during the initial adjustment phase. In addition, volunteers may also experience frustration in navigating through the language barriers that exist, especially with colleagues and students. However, improving English language skills is exactly why the Namibian government wants WorldTeach volunteers to serve in its schools!!
Volunteers often regroup over weekends, allowing for informal debriefing in a 'familiar' setting, with people that are experiencing the exact same feelings. Group slumber parties are certainly a mainstay of the WorldTeach Namibia experience! With patience, flexibility and always remembering 'you don't know what you don't know', volunteers soon come to love Namibia as a second home. There is a reason why the WorldTeach Namibia program consistently has the highest percentage of volunteers extend their service.
Web Resources for Namibia
- Government of Namibia | Official Site
- US Embassy in Namibia | Official Site
- City of Windhoek | Official Site of the country’s capital
- University of Namibia | Official Site of Namibia's only university
- Namibian Institute for Educational Development | Directorate within the Ministry of Education charged with curriculum development
- The Namibian | National English Newspaper
- BBC News | News and in-depth profile of Namibia
I have to hold on to something every time I look at the Namibian sky to keep from being knocked down by its beauty. Dawn, afternoon, sunset, late night...it never fails to inspire. You begin to realize how big the world is and how small you are. Even after a tough day, a glance at the sky never fails to bring me joy.
Karen McGee, Namibia Year 2011
- US State Department | US State Department country profile
- Centers for Disease Control & Prevention | Health Information
- UN Namibia Mission | Official Site
- Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism | Official Site
- UNICEF | Statistics and News for Namibia
- Stanford Libraries' African Collection | Extensive collection of Namibia-related web links
- The Economist | Archive of the magazine's articles on Namibia