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MAIN PHOTOGRAPH: And the winner of the 2013/14 Schools Recycling Competition is… St Paul’s College in Windhoek! Jaques Lorenzen, Amy Vermooten and teachers Mrs Ursula Salvoldi and Mrs Andrea Callessen are pictured with Mr Wessie van der Westhuizen, MD of Namibia Breweries Ltd – the sponsor of the main prize of N$10 000.
St. Paul’s College was recently crowned the winner of the Recycle Namibia Forum’s (RNF) ‘Schools Recycling Competition 2013/14’ and walked away with a prize of N$ 10,000.00.
“This year the school decided to support a needy community with their prize money instead of keeping it for the school – a very commendable gesture,” says Anita Witt, RNF Coordinator.
Ursula Salvoldi, one of the teachers at St. Paul’s driving the recycling campaign, said: “We are grateful that we are situated in an environmentally-friendly neighborhood and en-route for many a farmer coming from the east which actively supports us. As such we felt obliged to give back to the community. We were alerted to the Little Vikings Pre-school in Goreangab with 100 children. As there is no running water and every bucket of water has to be carried more than 500m, we decided to use our prize money to build a dry-pit toilet (Otji-toilet) for them. As you can imagine, the ‘little vikings’ were overjoyed about this “luxury”, which we often take for granted.”
The school furthermore purchased taps for two water fountains to be installed on the school grounds to reduce the use of bottled water. This was bought from the money they received for the weight of the collected recyclables. They also held a braai for the school’s ground staff to show their gratitude. “Without their continuous work to sort the garbage and keep the grounds exemplary clean, we would not go far”, said Salvoldi.
Anita Witt advised that 52 schools participated and the top spots were keenly contested. “We were fortunate this year to welcome Pionierspark Primary School (who bought their own stand) and Van Rhyn Primary School to the competition, whilst in the north, Erundu Primary School also joined.
The greatest challenge remains the fact that we cannot support all the schools that approach us. It is interesting to note that even schools outside of Windhoek, the coast and Oshakati/Ondangwa are keen to recycle.
There is so much goodwill and good intention to recycle, thus the RNF tries to assist schools outside Windhoek in their recycling efforts. The assistance and involvement of community members is vital – as the collection, packaging and especially the transport of recyclables to Windhoek remain the biggest challenge”, said Witt.
Highlights of the RNF the past year include the printing of a booklet “What Can Be Recycled” that is targeted at the young learner. The booklet – made possible with an Environmental Investment Fund grant – has proven to be instrumental, and was circulated across the country. Witt concluded by saying: “The awareness has definitely grown with schools from Gobabis, Otjiwarongo, Okahandja and even Gochas having approached the RNF to learn more about recycling.”