care of the people Maltahohe

Feeding initiative promoting healthy children and communities in Namibia P.A. Schmidt Primary School, Maltahöhe, Namibia

P.A. Schmidt Primary School, Maltahöhe, Namibia

The Maltahöhe community is situated in the southern part of Namibia, about 300 kilometers south of Windhoek. The community has about 6 000 people, housed in two suburbs; the Andreville location, and Blikkiesdorp informal settlement, which are not serviced by any municipality. The town has been in decline for a number of decades, with extremely limited infrastructure and neither sewerage nor electricity supply.

There are just two schools in the town, Daweb Secondary School and its feeder primary school. For a number of years, &Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge has made weekly visits to Maltahöhe and recognised malnutrition as a major issue in the community. Despite limited resources and infrastructure, the lodge staff established a feeding scheme, reaching around 500 hungry children living here. Meals are prepared by local volunteers in a small brick and corrugated iron shack, and served to children sitting in the yard.

The scale of this identified need, and informal solution, led to plans to formalise the feeding programme. Through the collaborative efforts of &Beyond Sossusvlei Lodge, Africa Foundation, the Village Council, community and other private sector stakeholders, the wheels were set in motion to construct and equip a large kitchen and dining facility at the primary school. With a focus on the primary school, other educational needs were identified, and the plans extended to include the provision of a library, media centre and playground. Although located on the school premises, the library and media centre will be of benefit to the whole community who will have access to the facilities to improve their literacy skills and access information.

To date, the informal feeding scheme organised by the lodge has fed 500 hungry children daily.

The dining and kitchen buildings were completed in December 2017, and with the infrastructure in place, the school can now benefit from the government nutrition programmes, as well as the food supplies provided by the lodge. This has enabled a more sustainable feeding scheme for the school.

With recent funds raised , Africa Foundation is now able to begin purchasing computers for the media centre, industrial ovens, as well as fridges and freezers for the kitchen, and enough tables, chairs, crockery and cutlery to feed 500 children daily. This will enable improved learning opportunities for the students and the ability to store food longer at the school.