Namibian students adapting to changed life amid COVID-19 pandemic


Anna Newaka, a 13-year-old based in the Ohangwena region in the northern part of Namibia, recorded a video with a smartphone on Tuesday afternoon.

“I am sending it to my friends from school. In the video, I tell them how much I miss playing with them as I can not travel to see them since we live in different regions,” Newaka said on Tuesday.

The Namibian government has extended public health regulations for 14 days until July 29. These include restricted movement between areas and lockdown.

As such, across Namibia, the environment for children is deemed unforgiving for the playful peers, constrained by stringent measures of school closure and non-socialization. The government has also suspended face-to-face teaching in schools.

Many students have since modified ways to interact with peers amid government regulations to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Although Trefine Haingura, from the northern Kavango East region, plays with friends, the games are restricted to those that do not require close contact and touching.

Despite these unfavourable conditions, the children have adopted activities that promote adherence to curfew, social distancing, and regular handwashing.

“It was hard at the start to avoid touching and close contact, but the parents warned us about COVID-19. They also put tippy-taps which we do not have to touch,” she said.

In some sectors of society, children undergo training on COVID-19 and other societal issues to promote safer environments. A local church partnered with White Ribbon civil society organization to educate children on COVID-19 in the national capital, Windhoek.

According to the project coordinator, Pastor Adriaan Aochamub, the lack of education on COVID-19 has exacerbated non-adherence and subsequent spread of COVID-19 among both adults and children in many communities.

“The program aimed to empower young people to be able to safeguard their well-being and create a friendly environment,” Aochamub said.

Shaniwua Louw, a young girl from Otjomuise, a suburb in Windhoek attended the training.

“I observed non-adherence in my community and decided to gain new skills. I learned a lot from the training on adherence and promoting healthier communities. I do better now,” she said.

Erons Ouseb, a boy from Windhoek, has extended the acquired knowledge from the training to teach fellow children and the illiterate elderly to improve and make the community safer.

“I teach by doing- wearing my mask, sanitizing as well as keeping a safe distance. I make sure I am in the house by the curfew time as well,” he said.

So far, Namibia has recorded 112, 824 confirmed cases with 87,778 recoveries and 2,532 deaths. Enditem

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