The provision of health and education services as well as roads leading to Sesfontein are some of the projects earmarked to improve the lives of those living in the settlement.
Sesfontein constituency councillor in the Kunene region Julius Kaujova expects the Health Centre, currently under construction, to uplift the living standards of more than 7300 inhabitants through provision of better health care services and expertise.
Speaking to The Patriot in a telephonic interview recently, Kaujova said people in his constituency have suffered greatly due to the absence of a standard healthcare facility, and according to him, residents of Sesfontein are forced to travel at least 150 kilometres to the regional capital Opuwo to have their “basic health needs attended to”.
The Sesfontein Clinic has been upgraded into a modern day health centre and is expected to open its doors in June this year, said the Swapo councillor.
“The Sesfontein Health Centre will be completed during this financial year and will be a significant boost to our people in terms of getting registered nurses, doctors and improved services that will come with it,” said Kaujova.
Moreover, Kaujova said one of the major plights that residents in constituency are faced with is the unavailability of a mortuary which forces them to transport corpses to Opuwo.
Many of the residents are unemployed, making it cumbersome and difficult to transport a corpse to the mortuary in Opuwo and return it a few days later for burial purposes.
“The critical issue about it (Health Centre) is the mortuary which was demolished and closed down, as a result the elderly and poor members are forced to hire cars to transport corpses of their beloved ones to Opuwo,” lamented Kaujova.
In addition, Kaujova said the health care centre will bring with it a new “energy” in terms of services while also providing employment for locals within the constituency and the region at large.
In other developments, lack of decent roads are some of the complaints that residents have in the constituency and according to Kaujova, government is doing all in its power to better the situation.
The C43 road (Sesfontein-Opuwo) is among the major projects that are already up and running in the Sesfontein constituency as a tender to design it was awarded late last year and will be completed around April this year.
“Expectations in terms of roads are high, the Sesfontein-Opuwo will be upgraded to the Bitumen Standard road at least by 2019. We hope that this year’s financial budget will be sufficient to cater for the tarring of the road so that at by June, road works can begin,” added the councillor.
Moreover, other roads that have raised eyebrows include the Otjikondavirongo-Sesfontein as well as the Omuramba-Otjokavare roads which are in very bad state, he noted.
According to Kaujova, his office has written letters to the Namibian Roads Authority (RA) requesting the abovementioned roads to be upgraded into “acceptable gravel roads”.
With regard to education, Kaujova believes more need to be done to improve learner performances in grade 10.
Kaujova cited the movement of learners in and out of school grounds, lack of discipline and absence of parental involvement as some of the leading factors towards bad results as seen during the 2016 Junior Secondary Certificate (JSC) grade 10 examination.
In last years’ grade 10 results, the Kephas Muzuma School in Otjokavare (in the Sesfontein constituency) failed to pass a single learner, a record which Kaujova is not proud of.
“It is a blessing in disguise, the best performing in Kunene (Elias Amxab Combined School) and worse performing school (Kephas Muzuma School) are both from my constituency,” said Kaujova.
Kaujova has already met with school principal at Kephas Muzuma School to iron out some of the challenges which the school experiences.
Also, on Thursday Kaujova is expected to meet with parents of learners at the Kephas Muzuma School as well as community members to map the way forward and discuss issues affecting the school.
In addition, a special programme will be set up for advisory teachers to monitor the progress of Kephas Muzuma School on a daily basis according to Kaujova.
Meanwhile, measures will be taken improve cooperation and coordination between the regional education directorate and schools in the region.
Furthermore, as a former teacher himself Kaujova to some degree attributed “lack of passion and respect” toward the teaching profession factors contributing to poor learner performances in his constituency.
“Sometimes when you visit places (Otjokavare), you don’t even see the difference between learners and their teacher, they are more like peers which is very disturbing,” noted Kaujova.
In efforts to encourage learners to perform better, Kaujova promised to pledge an “undisclosed” amount of money out of his own pocket to be given to the top performing learners from the two schools in his constituency.
Speaking to The Patriot late last year, education director in Kunene Angeline Steenkamp told this paper that lack of experienced teachers and indiscipline were the key factors that lead to below par performances recoded at some schools in her region.
At the time, Steenkamp said an action plan will be put in place to tame the high failure rates in Kunene.
Last year, 30 240 learners full-time learners sat for the national grade 10 examinations, with 29 291 of them qualifying for admission to grade 11.
The northern regions lead the pack in terms of performance. In their order from one to 14, the regions ranked as follows:
(1)Oshikoto, (2)Oshana, (3)Omusati, (4)Ohangwena, (5)Kavango East,(6)Zambezi, (7)Kavango West, (8)Erongo, (9)Kunene, (10)Otjozondjupa, (11)Khomas, (12)Omaheke, (13)//Karas and (14)Hardap.