Archive | June, 2011

Shaping the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs

29 Jun

An energetic crowd of more than 100 delegates from around the world gathered today in Melaka to listen to Malaysia’s Prime Minister’s wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor as the keynote speaker at the 11th Melaka International Youth Dialogue luncheon organized by the World Assembly of Youth (WAY).

Ntiokam Divine, Iduka Outreach Coordinator (left) with Malaysia's Prime Minister's wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor (right).

“The next generation must not only transform business just for profit per se. They must reshape its relationship to society by creating economic value in a way that also creates value for society,” she said at the conclusion of WAY’s annual meeting.

Also present was the Deputy Minister of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture of Namibia and WAY’s Vice-President, Mr. Pohamba Shifeta, the President of the World Youth Bank Network, Mr. Tomislav Bogdanic, Melaka Chief Minister, Mr. Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam, MP of Malaysia and WAY President, Datuk Idris Haron, WAY Secretary General, Ms. Ediola Pashollari and our own Iduka African Pilot Project Outreach Coordinator, Mr. Ntiokam Divine.

Tomislav Bogdanic, Ntiokam Divine, Pohamba Shifeta, and Ediola Pashoralli

WAY was established in 1949 and has members in most countries promoting programs in areas, such as: democracy, environment, human rights, population, health, drugs, community development and leadership training.

We are proud to count with the support of WAY!

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2 Down – 1 To Go

27 Jun

The long awaited Angolan visa!

Okay, I now have a visa for Angola that is valid until the 24th August and a visa for the D.R.C, which is valid until the 7th September. I picked up my passport from the Embassy of DRC in Pretoria this morning and went straight to the Congo embassy, a few blocks down, and handed in my application. My visa for Congo will be ready on Thursday! So….I should be back in Windhoek by this coming weekend!

And today marks 2 months on this journey!  Here’s a little video to celebrate…

 

Angola – Mapping the Country’s Education System

21 Jun

So, after a rollercoaster few weeks Jolandie has finally got her Angolan visa and is about to set off on her Cycle For Education Tour of the country. But just what can she expect education-wise?

Flag of Angola

The country gained independence in 1975, but experienced intense civil war from 1975 – 2002. Since the closure of that period, Angola has looked towards stability and rebuilding the shattered education system. There is now compulsory, free primary school education for children in Angola for the first four years (which begins at the age of 6 or 7). Primary school then lasts for another four years and secondary school education follows immediately afterwards. In 2000 this system was classed as severely sub-standard with over half of adults classified as illiterate. The Angolan government has since concentrated on shifting that situation for the betterment of the people. Education reform started in 2004, and by 2008 over 80% of students had been integrated into the new system.*

The Ministry of Education is based in Luanda, and in 2009 this Ministry made an agreement (with UNICEF) to provide quality education training to 8,750 primary school teachers over the course of three years.** In addition, just yesterday, allafrica.com reported that over 1500 adults of the Chicomba district have been attending the second phase of a programme designed to fight illiteracy. Since the beginning of the programme, 6,500 adults have been taught to read and write.

Luanda, Angola's capital city.

But what about post-secondary education? There has been considerable development in post-secondary education over the last few decades. Just after independence, the public Universidade Agostinho Neto (UAN) was established, and shortly afterwards came Universidade Católica de Angola (UCAN). A wave of political liberalisation in the 1990s saw the growth of many private universities, some of which were directly linked to Portugal. In 2010 the UAN split up, with various faculties now constituting autonomous public universities (two have retained the UAN name). Pupils hoping to continue to university level are now required to undergo a post-secondary, “pre-university” 2-3 year course.***

A class in Kuito...

Although great progress clearly has been made in the country, there are still many challenges ahead. Primary school enrollment is at an all time high, however drop out rates keep increasing. Around 20% of males and 45% of females are still illiterate, despite the programmes implemented to directly tackle this problem***. The solution is not a short-term one but the focus on education is clearly present – I’m sure Jolandie will have personal insight into this situation once she gets back on the road.

 Sources:

* i4donline.net.

** UNICEF.org

*** angola-today.com

Image of Luanda… Photo: Silje L. Bakke, Wikipedia.org

Image of schoolchildren… Photo: Living in Kuito, Wikipedia.org

 

 

News in Nigeria: Foundation describes the condition of Edo State education as ‘deplorable’.

21 Jun

Edo State, Nigeria

Last Friday the TY Danjuma Foundation declared that the state of education in this region was alarming, despite huge infrastructural investment in the education sector. The TY Danjuma Foundation attributed the problem to an imbalance in the posting of teachers, and the poor construction of school buildings in rural and urban areas. In rural areas, the student-teacher ratio was found to be 160 pupils to 1 teacher, whilst in urban areas it was found to be 50 to 1. Although this indicates that there are more teachers in urban areas, there is a class size problem that desperately needs addressing. An oversized class means that not all of the children have fair access to the limited resources. Children that may initially struggle through classes do not get the one-on-one teacher care that their education requires, and they will become despondent with the system. Few pupils in class sizes this large have aspirations of higher education, and they fail to reach their full potential.

Moreover, the investigation discovered that secondary schools were woefully under-funded. Without resources, pupils cannot better themselves. There is no reading without books; there is no writing without pencils and paper. Such a situation means that secondary-school graduation rates remain low – further hampering opportunities for pupils to continue to post-secondary education. The TY Danjuuma Foundation have sponsored the Wing Community Development Project, which has supported over 2000 pupils through secondary and tertiary education – but there is still a long way to go, and the momentum must come from the state.

 

News Source: allafrica.com

Image Source: Uwe Dedering, Wikipedia.org

Angolan Visa Application Accepted!!!

20 Jun

Wooooohhhhooooooo!!! FINALLY!!! My visa application for Angola got accepted last Tuesday!
Now I feel like I’m (almost) back in the game again. For a moment there I felt like a spider floating in space…disconnected from my web.
Soon enough I’ll be back on the road again!! Yay! I am very excited to hit the open road again. Visa processing time is usually ten days so I should have it any day now. Fantastic!

On Tuesday I actually had some fun at the Consulate. I mean, it’s not like the first time I have spoken or seen these people. The woman that was assisting me (very friendly and helpful), disappeared with my documentation through a door to the back. On her return she was accompanied by the Head of Consulate (who can’t speak a word of english), with my mission letter in his hands. He looked at me and spoke really fast…all in Portuguese. I just smiled at him. The woman assisting me then told him that I do not speak Portuguese. He pointed at my date of birth on my visa application form. Then looked back up at me and stared at me, for what seemed like, the longest five seconds of my life. “What has my age got to do with anything”, I thought to myself??
He then gave me a broad smile and said something else in Portuguese, gesturing with his hands like saying: “Come on in”. The woman assisting me now played the role of translator and said: “He says: You are welcome to Angola”.

Fabulous! Muito Obrigada!!
The Head of Consulate then proceeded to tell all and sundry in the office about me and what I am planning on doing. I had to show them my route on a big map on the wall. One of the women said: “I’ll follow you on a scooter”. LoL. Great, now they’re even rallying for back-up!
I can only hope that future encounters on the visa application front will be like today’s.

Jolandie relaxing with friends, before the big journey kicks off again

What happens now?
Once I have my visa (which seems like it might be early this week), I’ll be on a plane back to Windhoek and my faithful bike Luna. I then have some Social Responsibility to take care of in Windhoek.
First National Bank, Namibia, is sponsoring the Namibian leg of my journey. In return I will be giving motivational talks at ten schools on my route. Four in Windhoek, six on my way North to the Angolan border. (Primary Schools)

I then have 30 days to make it to the Angola/DRC border, seeing as my Angolan visa is only valid for that period of time.
The break that I’ve had now (More than 2 weeks already), has also broken my momentum. I suspect I’ll have to build it up again. But not too worried about that. Keeping in mind that the roads have been superb thusfar. Once I enter Angola, it’ll be a very different story!

The adventure awaits!!

*Thank you to all the people who have jumped in and helped with: attaining letters of invitation, translating documentation etc. And to the staff at the Angolan Consulate in Johannesburg today. Because of you, I now can’t wait to enter Angola!*

A Step Closer to an Angolan Visa

13 Jun

Since I’ve arrived home Hanret has been spoiling me a great deal! Hanret’s been cooking all my favorite food! Pork chops, Lamb shanks, Oxtail!!! YUM!! :-))

Mmmm delicious lamb shank!

I would be lying if I said that I don’t enjoy being home. Of course I enjoy being home!!! The open road is beckoning though!! But it’s not like that would make any difference to the Angolan Embassy!

I went to the Angolan Embassy in Pretoria this morning. A good friend of mine and fellow adventurer, Shayne Robinson, was so kind to give me a lift! First, when we got there, the security guard nearly had a cardial infarction because we drove in at the gate!! (ooops)
Then they informed me that the Embassy is only open for visa applications on Mondays and Tuesdays. (Lesson #64839387293867: Ask specific questions when dealing with any institution that has even the slightest connection to any kind of government). I phoned yesterday to double check on their office hours. They did tell me what their office hours are but neglected to tell me that I can only apply for my visa on Mondays and Tuesdays. My own fault as well…I should be more specific!!!

Upon my return to South Africa I was told that the Angolan Consulate in Johannesburg had closed down. I phoned the number I was given, just to double check. The answer on the other side: “Roman’s pizza…how can we help you”? Wahahahahaha!!! “Can I have a four seasons with extra cheese and an Angolan visa on it”???? :-))

Today, at the Embassy, I was informed that the Consulate had NOT closed down. “Do you have a number for them”, I asked. “No, sorry”. (But of course you don’t).
It took me having to phone the Angolan Embassy in Cape Town to get the number for the Angolan Consulate in Johannesburg!!! So I eventually do get hold of the Consulate and quadruple check on what their requirements are. Everything is pretty much the same, BUT, “all your documentation needs to be in Portuguese”. Oh and you need proof of returning flight ticket. “Ummmm… and if I’m not flying”? I ask. “Then your vehicles registration documentation, etc”.
“And if I’m cycling”? – At this point I had to take the phone away from my ear because the exclamation and laughter that followed got quite hectic! Then I could hear the whole office in the background chipping in.

After they all eventually managed to calm themselves down to a mild panic, the woman came back to me and said that I would need a letter stating my mission… and that also needs to be in Portuguese.

What this all means is that I have to get my new friends in Angola to edit my letters of invitation. (I have 2). They are both in Portuguese, but now I have to have them faxed to a different address altogether. All my other letters have to be translated into Portuguese. (This is currently being done). And then hopefully I can go to the consulate either tomorrow or latest Friday. And then we’ll try AGAIN!!

A few people have asked what I plan on doing regarding the countries that still lie ahead? Well, that’s my focus whilst in South Africa right now. In the meantime, I’m having all my documentation done in English, Portuguese, French…and if I can find someone to help me, Arabic as well… just for good measure!

Current documentation...

Visa Difficulties Force Jolandie Home (For Now…)

7 Jun

Jolandie arrived in Windhoek in fantastic time – but since her arrival in this great city, her luck has rapidly deteriorated.

Windhoek Skyline

The first few days were filled with the necessities of life: food, rest, and washing. Then Jolandie made it a priority to visit the Angolan embassy in order to secure a visa that will open up the next stage of her tour. However, objections came thick and fast:

1. Jolandie must have insurance (an issue that is well beyond the ability of Jolandie’s budget).

2. Jolandie must have a letter of invitation from an Angolan resident or organization, inviting her into the country.

Jolandie's bike receives some care and attention

Whilst utilising all of her contacts to find an Angolan friend Jolandie managed to make the most of her Namibian stay. After having exciting interviews with radio station RadioWave and the newspaper The Namibian, Jolandie had a meeting with a potential sponsor and then she took her beloved bike Luna to Cycletec for some much-needed treatment. Of course, Jolandie made time to catch up with George – Iduka’s Namibian country coordinator.

Jolandie in The Namibian!

On Wednesday Jolandie managed to donate blood at a local shopping centre, she picked up Luna from the bike shop AND she managed to fit in an interview with the Republikein newspaper.

Jolandie gave blood in a local shopping centre

However, visa troubles continued…

Jolandie visited the Angolan embassy in Windhoek time and time again to try and sort the issues. On Friday she was informed that, on top of the other requirements, she would also need to apply for an extension on her Namibian visa. This is because the Angolan Embassy requires that Jolandie should have a 6 month visa in Namibia before she can apply for an Angolan visa.

Fed up and frustrated, Jolandie was forced to take a flight back to Johannesburg. She is now home with friends and family awaiting an invitation letter from Angola (to arrive shortly) and then it will only take ten days for the Namibian visa to be processed.

Jolandie’s bike and all her gear are still in Windhoek and of course, with her upbeat and energetic attitude, Jolandie shrugs this complication off as all part of the experience. Hopefully, she will be back on the road very soon and on her way to Angola.

Jolandie meets Caleb Thole, an Iduka volunteer from Malawi

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