Improving girls education in Namibia

Success Stories

FAWENA's overall achievements:

  • Program increased access, improved retention and in many cases beneficiaries becoming top performers in their respective schools.
  • Positive changes in behaviours and attitudes in the classroom.
  • Improved physical outlook of the beneficiaries.
  • Improved social interaction between the beneficiaries and other learners and teachers.
  • Other beneficiaries are inspired by role models (beneficiaries) to perform.
  • Increased parental involvement in the education of their children and support from all key stakeholders.
  • Girls are empowered to make consultative decisions regarding their lives.

These are some of FAWENA's many success stories.



28-31 March 2017

The TUSEME program was established to speifically address this need. TUSEME-a Kishwahili word for "Lets speak out''- is an empowerment process designed to enable girls to understand the gender construct of the society they live in,to identiy and analyse the emergent problems and how they hinder their academic and social development, to speak out about the problems, and to take action to solve them.

The same process can and has been used to empower boys to understand their unequal gender positioning, and the need to support and accept gender equality as a human right. The TUSEME empowerment process uses the theatre for development approach, which espouses participatory methodologies and gives a voice to everybody.

The Department of Fine and Performing Arts of the University of Dar es Salaam started TUSEME  as an  outreach programme for the empowerment of girls in Secondary schools. From its initial seven schools, TUSEME grew to some thirty school in Tanzania.

Borrowing TUSEME from Tanzania, the Forum for African Women Educationalists(FAWE) collaborated with the University of Dar es Slaam and the Miali Training Centre in Tanzania to spread TUSEME to other countries in sub-Saharan Africa.To date 13 countries have TUSEME programmes- Burkina Faso,Chad, Ethiopia, Mali. Kenya, The Gambia, Guinea, Namibia, Rwanda, Senegal, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

In all these countries, including Namibia, TUSEME has proved to be a very effective strategy for building the confidence, assertiveness and self esteem of the girls involved in the programme. Their ability to analyse situations, make correct decisions, and challenge the systems, decisions and situation that negatively affect their welfare has been significantly enhanced. In addition, girls participating in TUSEME have recorded a significant improvement in academic performance.

The TUSEME process in Namibia started in 2005 at Hage Geingob High School with 30 teachers and 100 learners from 10 schools. In 2017, five schools from Oshana region were trained on TUSEME process. This TUSEME Teacher's Handbook is drawn from the experience of the many practitioners who have refined the TUSEME process through their practical work over the years.

FAWENA will build on its existing partnerships, but will work more flexibly with partners by developing a broader range of options for achieving shared development goals. Longer-term patnerships with both Government and civil Society Organisations with clearly defined roles and responsibilities for both the partner and FAWENA will lead to more equal relations with a long lasting and sustainable impact.

Meet FAWENA basket weaver

Meet Ingrid. She is a weaver turned shop seller for the FAWENA Kavango Basket Shop in the Rundu Open Market. She is from a village deep in the bush, and she is quiet, but her English is good, and her math skills are even better than her English. Through Peace Corps funding trained Ingrid in all aspects of how to run the shop – taking payment, giving receipts to customers, using a cash book, recording sales, reconciling the stock every month end, etc. She brings her weaving materials to the market every day so when she’s not selling, she weaves, and explains the details of weaving to the customers. In August, FAWENA sold a record number of baskets in the shop, because of Ingrid’s ability to explain weaving to the customer so they had a greater appreciation and connection to what they were buying. Ingrid is the first person in her family to have a salaried job. And a bank account. FAWENA is proud that Peace Corps funding is able to do this for Ingrid, to help her to perhaps the next level, but maybe more importantly, to make her feel good that she has a job and is playing a role, a big one, to support her family. ‪

Meet FAWENA basket weaver

Anna Ndura Muyenga

Anna Ndura Muyenga

Anna (right) with her son and daughter

Anna was born in June 1948. She has 6 children and 16 grandchildren. She lives in a small tin house on the edge of Rundu with many of her children and grand children.

Anna’s only source of income comes from her baskets. Anna remembers during her youth that women also made similar root baskets; however, they used red dye and wove the baskets much larger. Anna learned to weave baskets because she could sell them to the priest at the mission where she lived. More recently, Anna has taught some of her children and grandchildren to weave baskets and some of the boys, especially her grandsons, greatly enjoy the activity.

In her spare time, Anna goes to church and cultivates millet. She is currently the teacher for the FAWENA girl’s basket club that is helping orphaned and vulnerable girls to earn money to pay their school fees by making and selling baskets.

Hilma Namupolo, FAWENA Alumni

My name is Hilma Namupolo. Iam a former FAWE scholarship beneficiary. I was awarded the scholarship in 2007 during Grade 10 at Hage Geingob High School (FAWENA’s Centre of Excellence) in Windhoek and I was on the scholarship until I successfully completed my Grade 12 in 2009.

After the death of my mother in 2002, my aunt took me in and has been my guardian since then, although she has 4 other school-going children to support. I must say that it has been hard for her to support all of us, considering the low salary she earns.

Before receiving the scholarship from FAWENA, I was a vulnerable, mediocre and a quiet type of girl.  Not only did that reflect on the outside but also mentally, emotionally and psychologically. I was simply a young girl that had a very low self esteem and lacked a lot of life skills with very little faith and hope.

Living in an informal settlement in the capital city of Namibia, I grew up being exposed to all forms of abuse and bad habits in the community. I lived in a neighbourhood were the youth were exposed to alcohol, drug abuse as well as immoral sexual activities which were considered normal practices. Although I tried keeping away from such practices, I witnessed a few of my mates fall victim.

I joined FAWENA’s Girls' Club in 2006, a platform which created an opportunity for me to interact and open up to other girls from my school and where we could share our experiences. The girls' club focused on girls' issues such as sex, teenage pregnancy, alcohol and drug abuse as well as other issues affecting the youth on a daily basis. As a member of the girls' club and having received knowledge and teachings, I saw it as my obligation to encourage my peers at home and at school to start making wise decisions as we are the future leaders of our country.

Being part of the girls' club also helped me realise what kind of career to follow. I loved the club because I could express myself and grow into an ambitious, hardworking and disciplined leader of my community.

Though I was doing my part by excelling in school, the thought of not being able to make it through high school or continue to university due to finances kept on bothering me. After FAWENA’s scholarship committee at the school informed me along with other girls that we were being awarded full scholarships from FAWENA for the remaining high school period, the joy and relief I felt in my heart was indescribable. Receiving the scholarship did not only provide me with the material and financial assistance that I needed but it also restored my hope.

I completed my Grade 12 in 2009 as the top student in the Khomas Region and I am currently a degree holder in Bachelor of Mining Engineering Programme from the University of Science and Technology.

Receiving FAWENA’s scholarship and empowerment through the girls' club still remains a very significant highlight in my life. I have achieved a lot up to this day because of the emotional, spiritual, psychological, material and financial support that FAWENA made available to me.



Hilma Namupolo, FAWENA Alumni

John Tissa, A Role Model in the Khoe- San Community

John Tissa, A Role Model in the Khoe- San Community

"I am John Tissa, attended school at Martin Ndumba Combined and Max Makushe Secondary school respectively Grain the Kavango Region.At that time, I am a San girl, staying with my unemployed mother. My father abandoned my mother when I was a baby.

My mother was the only left from the family and takes care of 12 orphans. Five out of the 12 are schooling at Martin Ndumba Combined School. My mother later passed on in 2013.

Before I became a beneficiary of FAWENA’s scholarship, my primary education was never paid. I started benefiting from FAWENA in 2003 through EDDI and later AGSP Plus. I also attended the “All San Learners Conference” hosted in Windhoek by FAWENA in 2010.

I would like to thank AGSP plus for helping me reach my goal in life, because without them I could have not reached Grade 12. At the moment I am the only San girl (Khoe- San) in my school to reach Grade 12 as all my friends dropped out of school. Some got pregnant, others got married and some dropped out due to financial problems. I am very glad that I am completing this year with the help of AGSP through FAWENA and I am eager to pass in order to be able to help my family in the future.

In addition, I am Khoe-San and the first girl to reach Grade 12. I was the best learner in the Basic Education Support Project in Mukwe circuit and represented the Kavango Region's Debate Club. I am very sure that I will pass Grade 12.

I was also elected as the secretary of the Learners' Representative Council (LRC) at my current school.

Thank you FAWENA for the platform you provided for discussing the problems hindering our academic progression, specifically the San Learners Conference. It really helped me.

I want to to extend my appreciation to FAWENA for making me who I am today. I represented FAWENA and FAWENA headquarters many international platform on girls education such as at the African Union.

Since this life time opportunity is granted to me, i also want to give back to my community to ensure they too can make it in life".