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Hwange school neglected two years after storm

by Staff reporter
18 Apr 2021 at 09:06hrs | Views
A classroom block at Ndangababi Primary School in Cross Dete whose roof was blown off by strong winds two years ago
The state of Ndangababi Primary School in Cross Dete reflects that of many rural schools in Hwange district. Lack of furniture and dilapidated classroom blocks are commonplace.

Attending lessons at Ndangababi, in particular, is like sitting on a time bomb that may explode anytime. The classroom walls with huge cracks appear like they could give in anytime. The trusses which support the asbestos roof are a scary sight.

Grade 1 pupils sit on top of desks because of shortage of chairs, while some learners sit on the dusty and cracked floor when it is time for writing.

Communities around Dete blame Hwange Rural District Council (HRDC) for negligence, ignorance and not using the Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (Campfire) funds in revitalising the school.

Campfire is a community-based natural resource management programme meant to benefit locals.

"The school can be in a better position if HRDC puts more effort in renovating it using the Campfire funds," said evangelist Munsaka, a businessman in Cross Dete.

The project aims to empower communities that live adjacent to wildlife areas by encouraging tourism to the region and providing funds for wildlife ecology research.

It also enables hunters to pay an extensive fee to kill one large game animal, most often an elephant. The project's idea is that while some individuals hunt wild animals, their longevity would be secured by the funds received from a trophy hunter. The hunted meat and profits would be given to the communities to develop schools, clinics and wildlife research facilities.

"Our area is prone to elephants, lions and other various wildlife. "Trophy hunters usually operate in these areas, meaning money from these trophy hunts can renovate the schools in this area. Still, to my surprise, nothing is being said about such funds regarding community development projects," said Munsaka.

Ndangababi Primary School is one of biggest schools under HRDC. Its enrolment is around 700 learners.

The school's dilapidated state was caused by a heavy storm that hit two years ago, leaving some of the classrooms with no roofs, broken windows and some walls falling off. It has been in that state since then as no major renovations have been done.

Samukeliso Dube, a parent with children at the school, says the school's state shows that the responsible authorities HRDC and the education ministry don't care about the learners' situation.

"Honestly, the school was damaged two years ago, and still little has been done to make sure that children are learning in a safe environment. As you can see, everything is in shambles here! This shows that the school is not that important to the responsible authorities as it is to the community," she said.

"As it is, the school has no proper furniture, now with the Covid-19 pandemic, children are just squashed in these cracked classrooms.

"As parents with children at the school, we are calling for Campfire funds to help in resuscitating the school. We know there is money set aside from Campfire funds to develop our communities."

Local councillor Cosmas Mwakiposa says the school's state has impacted the learners as the environment is no longer conducive.

"The environment is not conducive for the learners, the school has been in this state for a long time now, it's disheartening," said Mwakiposa.

He says the council has donated 40 000 bricks, but they are not enough as there is need for massive renovation of the infrastructure at the school.

HRDC CEO Phindile Ncube said he was aware of the state of Ndangababi Primary School.

"Yes, the school was destroyed by a storm a while ago, but we are trying to refurbish the school," he said.

On the issue of Campfire funds, Ncube says the community needs to know that resources harvested from Campfire funds differ in every community.

"Of course, the community decides on how they want to use the funds from Campfire, but it then depends on the communities. Some communities are rich with wildlife while some communities are not rich like Cross Dete," said Ncube.

He, however, assured the community in Cross Dete that the council would make sure that

Ndangababi is renovated to its old glory despite the financial constraints they are facing.

Although the direct economic benefits are small, Campfire was the first community-based wildlife conservation project to approach wildlife as a renewable, profitable resource. It serves as a model for other indigenous conservation projects in Africa.

This article was originally published by The Citizen Bulletin, a nonprofit news organisation that produces hard-hitting, hyperlocal reporting and analysis for the southwestern region of Matabeleland.

Source - the standard

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