ACS Cobham International School

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Namibia Trip 2017

This summer, eighteen students and two teachers from ACS Cobham returned from a successful month-long expedition in Namibia. 

Since 1999, ACS has been sending groups of students and teachers to Namibia, to participate in lasting partnerships with different schools and projects. From 19th June to 19th July, the Grade 11 students travelled to Namibia, which is situated in the south part of the African continent, to work on different projects to create global awareness for the students.

During the first week of their month long expedition, the group travelled to Kutenhoas Primary school in The Karas Region, the southernmost and least densely populated of the fourteen regions of Namibia. They worked on different student-led projects, such as organising a sports day, working on a garden project, and conducting a community survey. 

After an influential period at the school and in the community of Kutenhoas, the group went on a 5-day hike through Fish River Canyon, before they visited NaDEET (Namib Desert Environmental Education Trust). Together, with children from a local school, they learned how to protect Namibia’s environment, by learning to live a sustainable lifestyle. NaDEET covers three main topics; using the sunshine for solar cooking, learning to reduce, recycle and reuse waste and also reducing water wastage in so called ‘water wise washrooms’.

Rob Surminski, an IB Dutch teacher and a Namibia Project Team Leader, explained:

This trip has been a great experience for the students, as well as for myself. Seeing how students grow as individuals during the weeks of the expedition, is something every teacher loves to see. It has been valuable for me to see how involved the students felt with the different projects and how much they did to get the most out of it.

After visiting Swakopmund, a city on the western coast of Namibia, and Etosha National Park, where the students saw the fantastic local wildlife on their safari tour, the team went to visit the Dr. Alpo Mauno Mbamba Junior Secondary School in Rundu. 

After this visit, one of the students said: 

Visiting Dr. Alpo was definitely a highlight of the trip for me. It was amazing to talk to the students who were similar in age to us and learn about how they live. Also going into classrooms was so cool to see what they are learning and how it differs from us. This helps to demonstrate the impact the visit to Dr. Alpo has had on the students.

A highlight of the preparations this year was the successful Night for Namibia event, which raised over £65,000 for the projects the students were going to visit. Another highlight was the training exercise in Ashdown Forest, Surrey. Here, the students learned how to plan meals, cook dinners with camping gear and how to ‘survive’ in the wild - skills that were crucial to the success of the group during the weeks in Namibia.

We are very proud to support this programme, which in line with the Namibia Project, is ‘creating life chances’. Not only for the schools, the projects and the communities, but also for the students themselves.

Next year’s team have already started their preparations for the trip next summer. In November 2017, they will go on their training weekend to Ashdown Forest, with another Night for Namibia planned for April 2018.

If you are interested to learn more about the ACS Namibia Project, please contact Rob Surminski at rsurminski@acs-schools.com or Tasha Arnold at tarnold@acs-schools.com

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