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Press Release
MCA Namibia draws curtain on successful Compact implementation as Omaheke Library is handed over to the people
27 Nov 2014

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The Millennium Challenge Account Namibia (MCA-N) wrapped up the successful implementation of the N$3 billion Namibian Compact with the hand-over of the Omaheke Regional Library, the last of the three built with funding from the American people to the tune of N$167 million. The new regional library was officially inaugurated by Education Minister David Namwandi at Epako in Gobabis on 25 November 2014.

 

In an effort to redress inequalities in the access to knowledge and learning resources, MCA-N funded and equipped such Regional Study and Resource Centres (RSRCs) at Oshakati, Helao Nafidi and Gobabis. The new centres provide an alternative to the one-room community libraries which have insufficient space to meet student and learner demand, as well as insufficient collections of materials to support secondary-level and distance students.

 

MCA-N CEO Penny Akwenye said her organisation was proud to officially hand over the last Regional Library to the Namibian people and urged members of the community to make use of the facility. Akwenye said communities who live in remote areas had not been forgotten as these will be served by the mobile library units, which are equipped with books, computers and television screens.

 

“Enjoy the great opportunities and exciting learning experiences these facilities offer – now and in future,” Akwenye told the large crowd of Omaheke residents that gathered to witness the inauguration of the library. Minister Namwandi paid tribute to MCA-N and the American Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) for making the three regional resource centres possible. “I am humbled to be standing in front of this superb facility. Not only is the building a joy to behold, but the thought of the impact of this library this centre will have on the community of Omaheke is dazzling and overwhelming,” the Education Minister emphasised.

 

He said with the launch of the Omaheke facility, Namibia was inaugurating a new era on knowledge accumulation, a new access to information and the empowerment it offers to all that make use of it. Namwandi said the Regional Study and Resource Centres (RSRCs) were a “one-stop for knowledge, free knowledge and everyone, young and old is welcome.” “No longer is the access to information a privilege of a few. The 21st century’s explosion of information has levelled the playing field. Now, we all have an equal opportunity to gain knowledge,” said Minister Namwandi. He added that while it was important for the community to make use of this new fountain of knowledge, it was also incumbent upon them to look after the facility and not allow anyone to vandalise the centre.

 

Omaheke Regional Governor Festus Ueitele said the library will go a long way in addressing the high level of illiteracy and unemployment in the region.“We want all the citizens of this region to be able to read, write, converse and value ideas and thoughts. Therefore, it is our aim to propagate libraries and the value they have to offer to all the citizens of this region. I am hopeful that this beautiful library, which is the biggest library in Omaheke, will educate the people of Omaheke for decades to come,” said Governor Ueitele.

 

Speaking on behalf of the American Government, U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires in Namibia, John Kowalski, said the new Study and Resource Centre creates an opportunity for the people of Omaheke to access the information they need to build their knowledge and explore the world. “This centre will provide you with the answers and direction you seek to gain the knowledge and confidence to land a better paying job, improve your business and help make your dreams come true. Enter it. Explore it,” Kowalski appealed to the community.

 

Omaheke resident and historian, Alex Kaputu, described the RSRC as a “dream come true” for the people of the region. “We will watch this facility with an eagle eye and we will ensure that it does not become a white elephant,” Kaputu said, urging local resident to make the library their “second home”. Willisa Springbok, a Community Skills Development Centre (COSDEC) trainee, said the library was helping to simplify the office administration and computing course she was doing. “This library offers a comfortable environment with a wide selection of books and modern computers. We also have internet, which helps with our research,” said the 19-year-old Willisa.


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