The Impact of Education in a Developing Country: My Experience in Namibia
Primary students in the computer lab
The Malala Fund works with local partners in developing countries to ensure education for all children. Currently Malala has projects in Pakistan, Jordan, Nigeria, and Kenya. However, there are still 66 million girls out of school around the world. The governments of many developing countries are working on enrolling and retaining all children into the school system, and this summer I was able to witness an education system in the midst of this battle.
In July, I took the opportunity to study abroad in Namibia with the University of Maryland’s iSchool. The trip enabled me to see first hand the impact a successful education and library system can have on a developing country. Namibia, located in Southern Sub-Saharan Africa, is a developing country that achieved independence in 1990. Before independence, the country was a part of South Africa and endured the oppressive and damaging policies of Apartheid. The post-apartheid government immediately began to address the inequalities the country faced, including the education system.
A student answering a question
Namibia has been striving to reach all 8 of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals since the 2000 Millennium Summit. Goal two is to achieve Universal Primary Education by 2015. Namibia believed that education was the cornerstone to reaching many of the other Millennium goals. While I was in the capital city I was able to visit and talk with members of the Ministry of Education, as well as visit multiple primary schools in varying economic areas of Windhoek. Girls and boys were mixed in the classrooms at all ages.
The country successfully increased the number of girls that finished schooling by addressing the issue of teen pregnancy, and fighting the social norm of girls remaining home to help with housework. The country also faced a problem with children in rural areas since they had to travel far distances to reach a school. This was a deterrent to attendance and retaining students, especially since many students had to be boarded by a relative or family friend. To combat the disparities between rural and urban regions, the country increased access in rural areas by training more teachers and building more facilities. As a result, in 2013 almost all children were enrolled in primary school and the country is on target to achieve 100 percent literacy rate among youth.1
Designing bookmarks in the Oshana Regional Center
Namibia also addressed the lack of access in rural areas by partnering with IREX and the Millenium Challenge Account to build Regional Study and Resource Centers. The centers provide residents with access to library and information services, which is critical to improving the lives of Namibian citizens and enabling them to access information on agriculture, health, economics, finance, workforce development, and education.2
Programming for Secondary students
During my trip I was able to collaborate with staff to design and implement programming for primary and secondary school students. Our group held programs at the Ohangwena Regional Study and Resource Center and the Oshana Regional Study and Resource Center. We designed programming for young learners in kindergarten through 3rd grade that focused on library resources. We also designed programming for 12th grade students on how to apply to jobs and colleges, and on interview skills.
Overall, the trip to Namibia opened up my eyes to how important education is in a developing country and truly helped me place Malala’s story in context. Malala almost lost her life in her fight for education, and she has now committed her life to helping other children in developing countries achieve their potential and receive an education. The bright minds of the children I met and worked with in Namibia proved to me just how important it is to continue supporting countries and organizations, such as the Malala Fund, that are working to provide resources and an education for all children.
A group of talented 12th grade secondary students who are a part of the education revolution in Namibia
UW-Madison News reports on use of Go Big Read book on campus
Malala speaking to the United Nations in the Summer of 2013
The University of Wisconsin-Madison News site released an article this morning entitled, “Campus community reading ‘I Am Malala’ as semester begins.”
The article discusses why Chancellor Becky Blank chose the book from a list of possible books with a theme on service. The Chancellor told the 5,500+ incoming freshmen and transfer students at convocation that “Malala’s story is about the value of doing something – anything, even when it’s scary and even when you’re not sure it’s the exact right solution -rather than sitting around feeling hopeless.”
The article also talks to members of the campus community that have chosen to use the book this fall. Over 35+ courses have decided to use the book in their course material. Disciplines range from anthropology, English, enviornmental studies, nursing, political science, and education.
A group new to the Go Big Read program is the Lubar Institute for the Study of the Abrahamic Religions. The group was established to promote mutual understanding and civility among Jews, Christians, and Muslim after tensions arose following 9/11. To learn more about the different courses and groups participating in Go Big Read this year read the entire article by following this link: Campus community reading ‘I Am Malala’ as semester begins
October 15, 2014
March 11, 2015
4:00-5:30 pm Union South I Am Malala
Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb
Book discussion led by the UW Women Deans
“When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education. On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive. Instead, Malala’s miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At seventeen, she has come a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize. I Am Malala is her remarkable story.”
To register for one of these events, please visit:
Dr. Asifa Quraishi-Landes: 2014 Wisconsin Festival of Ideas: A Background on Islamic Law and Constitutionalism
The Go Big Read book this year, “I Am Malala”, focuses on a religion and region of the world that many readers will be unfamiliar with, however throughout this fall we will be providing resources for readers to gain a deeper understanding of the themes and background of the book.
The first resource is from Dr. Asifa Quraishi-Landes, an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Wisconsin who specializes in comparative Islamic and U.S.constitutional law. Asifa presented in the Distinguished Lecture Series at the 2014 Wisconsin Festival of Ideas on her current work and shared a background of what Islamic Constitutionalism means. Asifa provided definitions and the background of terms that we hear often in the media today, such as sharia, itjihad, and fiqh.
Asifa has served as a public delegate on the United States Delegation to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, the Task Force on Religion and the Making of U.S. Foreign Policy for the
Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and as advisor to the Pew Task Force
on Religion & Public Life. You can find out more about Asifa, including her publications, educational background, and interests here: http://email@example.com
“I Am Malala” TimesTalks
Malala Yousafzai was interviewed by New York Times correspondent Jodi Kantor for The New York Times TimesTalks series. Jodi asked about Malala’s life in Pakistan under the Taliban regime. She also had Malala talk about her campaign for universal education and how she is working to achieve her goals.
Malala displayed a humble sense of humor and a great deal of maturity for a 17 year old during the event. The interview allowed viewers to see a more personal side of the young activist. Malala discussed how much she misses her best friend, but that she does get to Skype her often to catch up and also to hear what is happening in her homeland of Swat Valley. Though not all the information she hears is hopeful. Malala expressed her frustration that girls she used to attend school with are engaged to be marry at only 17 years old and will no longer be able to continue their education.
Malala’s prevailing message throughout the interview was that Malala shared her story to inspire others to create change, she said “YOU should stand up for your rights, YOU should speak up.” Malala is currently working on education projects in Pakistan, Jordan, Kenya, and Nigeria. She shared that her own mother is now attending school five days a week to learn to read and write since she had never received an education. In a touching moment, Malala asked her mother to stand up in the crowd to introduce herself and explain why she is now learning how to read and speak English.
Watch the TimesTalks video below and share with us your thoughts on the interview.
Malala visited ABC “Good Morning America” Monday to announce the release of “I Am Malala” for young readers. The memoir was adapted to reach a younger audience and start inspiring children to believe in themselves and their ability to make a difference in the world.
In her interview with Amy Robach, Malala shared her dream of attending university in able to enter politics and become the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Malala hopes to become the Prime Minister to be able to help her country.
When asked about being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for the second year in a row, Malala humbly said that she does not deserve the award yet. She said, “I started this campaign….when I have achieved this big goal which I always dream for, then I’ll think ‘okay now I deserve it’, but it is very early now.”
Malala is only 17 and already has achieved so much, though her next big plan is to learn how to drive! Watch the video below to hear her discuss her political aspirations, education goals, and her excitement to turn 18.
If you are interested in the young readers edition of Malala’s book it is now on sale under the title, “I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World”.
The Center for South Asia and Go Big Read at UW-Madison present a special workshop for librarians and educators on Saturday, September 13, 2014, 9 am-4 pm in Room 126 Memorial Library:
Center for South
Asia and Go Big Read
Announce a special workshop for educators
Saturday, September 13, 2014
I am Malala: Exploring the History and Culture behind
9 am – 4 pm │Memorial Library
workshop will bring together a variety of speakers to address the historical
and cultural realities of Modern-day Pakistan as well as book discussion facilitators
to explore using the book in your classroom.
workshop fee is $25, participants will receive a copy of I am Malala. Morning and afternoon breaks and lunch.
For more information please contact Rachel Weiss,
Assistant Director, Center for South Asia, firstname.lastname@example.org or (608) 262-9224.
Sonia Nazario visited The Daily Show with Jon Stewart to discuss the crisis of children from Central America crossing the border into the United States. Nazario is the author of Enrique’s Journey, the Go Big Read book from 2011-2012. Sonia shared her experiences from riding the freight trains and actually meeting and talking with the children about the horrors they face in their home countries. Sonia believes the children are refugees and that the United States needs to step up and “do the right thing.”
Do you believe the children are refugees? Do you think that the U.S. should offer the children asylum? Watch the video below and share with us what you think.
Today the world is celebrating Malala Day with Malala Yousafzai. She asks that “The road to equality is long, but we will succeed if we walk it together. Please join me in raising your voice this Malala Day.”
Celebrities, journalists, government officials, and motivated individuals are discussing on Twitter the important issues that Malala discusses in her book and in her work every day. Are you joining the conversation?