On Friday 23 March 2012, forty-seven (47) students from previously disadvantaged backgrounds graduated as official tour guides from the Namibia Academy for Tourism Hospitality (NATH) with funding from the Millennium Challenge Account Namibia (MCA-N).
The students who came from as far as the Caprivi, Ohangwena, Omusati, Kunene, Otjozondjupa, Karas, and Erongo regions received their certificates in Windhoek after undergoing a 14-month training course in subjects such as English, communication skills, flora and fauna as well as geology. Some of the participants had gained tourism experience in previous jobs but lacked the financial resources to study for the nationally recognised level-3 tour guiding certificate.
NATH was the first official training provider certified by the Namibia Qualifications Authority (NQA) to sign an agreement for scholarships with MCA-N. The development programme which is funded by the US government through the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) granted N$2 million to train Namibians as tour guides.
Front row from left to right: MCC Resident Country Director Oliver Pierson (orange tie), MCA-N CEO Penny Akwenye, NATH CEO Jean Averia and MCA-N Director of Education Tuli-Mevava Nghiyoonanye with graduates proudly holding their tour guide certificates.
Twenty (20) of the graduates already found employment in the industry.
Top performer of the NATH course, Tunamukwathi Angula, said that she is thankful to MCA-N for empowering her. “I am now a fully-fledged tour guide - a dream has come true,” she said.
Grateful tour guide fledgling Tunamukwathi Angula: “A dream came true!”
The training forms part of MCA-N’s overall intervention in Namibia’s tourism sector to the tune of US$67 million (N$500 million). During its five-year implementation programme MCA-N has budgeted US$4 million (N$30 million) for scholarships in fields that are experiencing skills shortages.