Improving education in Germany and Namibia

Education experts collaborate on designing new methods and materials

African-German Youth Initiative in Germany and Namibia 2017-2018 (DAJA)

Partner country: Namibia

Partner organisations: Light for the Children Foundation und Suni e. V.

Duration: February 2017 – January 2019

SDG: 4. Quality Education

Improve education quality: that was the aim that Suni and Light for the Children from Namibia had in mind as they launched their exchange project with funding from weltwärts. The 14 participants visited each other, learned about the education systems in the respective other country and split into smaller groups to design new concepts to help achieve their aim. Their efforts paid off in more ways than one: they received an engagement award for their work.

SDG 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

Good education is important to us

“Our organisations are both active in the education field, so we knew straight away that our international exchange would focus on the United Nations’ fourth Sustainable Development Goal on quality education,” explained an education expert from Suni.

The participating experts from Germany and Namibia spent two years working on seven sub-projects to achieve their aim, among them the “NamGerm Hygiene” project. They produced learning materials and concepts designed to improve the quality of education of children and adolescents in Germany and Namibia. The materials and concepts are also suitable for use in other German-Namibian partnerships.

The entire group is pictured in an open space on the outskirts of a village.
Group picture with Christian Schlaga, the then German ambassador in Namibia.

The in-person encounters were a particular highlight

The groups first met in September 2017. The Namibian participants spent four and a half weeks in Germany visiting various educational institutions in Berlin, Cologne and Bonn and spending time in schools, kindergartens and football clubs. The return visit took place in August 2018. Five German participants and two group leaders from Suni flew to Namibia. “We had a packed agenda. The highlight was a meeting with the German ambassador, who sat down with us to listen to our reports of our joint projects and our work. We also spent time in educational institutions,” recalled the participants from Namibia and Germany.

The participants are pictured jumping in the air, arms outstretched, on the roof of the Bundestag building.
The group on a visit to the German Bundestag.

During the two meetings, all participants really got to know each other and then split into groups of two to work on their projects. A special moment was the publication of a mini dictionary in German and the languages English, Khoekhoegowab, Otjiherero and Afrikaans, all of which are spoken in Namibia – an initiative by two of the participants. The dictionary is also used by other German-Namibian partnerships, with all copies distributed within just three days.

During their stays in the two countries, the groups held presentations outlining the education system in their country and their regular day-to-day work. As a result, dozens of students and teachers learned about the partnership and the education systems in Namibia and Germany.

Two hikers climbing over an obstacle during a hike to Waterberg.
Hike to Waterberg, Namibia, site of the German genocide of the Herero people in 1904.

We’ve learned so much

“We learned so much during the exchange and our work has already had a positive impact. We are particularly pleased that seven participants, four from Germany and three from Namibia, were presented with an award for their work by the state government of Rhineland-Palatinate,” says Barbara Scharfbillig.

This particular award documents and recognises volunteer engagement. The entire exchange project served to strengthen relations between the two countries in more ways than one. Suni, the German partner, welcomed a Namibian football team in the German city of Trier, while a Namibian participant completed several speaking engagements at German schools where he talked about his country. This kind of network-building is sure to strengthen the relationship also in future.

A poster comparing the German and Namibian school system.
The poster shows the comparison of the Namibian and German school systems drawn up by the participants.