The Ju/’hoansi Development Fund

The Ju/’hoansi Development Fund

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About the Fund

The Ju/’hoansi Development Fund is a grassroots organization supporting education in the Nyae Nyae Conservancy, Namibia. The development of five Village Schools (grade 1-4) will support young Ju/’hoan children in their education.

The Village Schools project combines the construction of physical infrastructure, transport, food security and training of educators. Special focus will be placed on cultural engagement of parents and the wider Ju/’hoan community.

The Ju/’hoansi Bushmen call the Nyae Nyae region, N//oaq!a’ – a rocky place without mountains. It lies in the heart of the Western Kalahari, a landscape of extremes and distinct beauty, where wild game roam freely and the Ju/’oan people still live on a portion of their ancestral land. The magic of N//oaq!a’ is not in the beauty of the Kalahari, but the people: in their spirit, their poetry and culture.

If you’re educated you can protect your culture, it is true.

/Ui Kunta, board member, (2017)

The Project

Our goal is to improve the Nyae Nyae Lower Primary Village Schools infrastructural needs. We must however go beyond “fixing up schools”. We recommend a collaborative approach focusing on solving immediate infrastructural problems, simultaneously focusing on the development of sustainable, long term solutions.

The purpose of the Village Schools is to ensure that all learners develop an awareness and pride in their own culture whilst applying their knowledge, understandings, skills and attitudes, thereby enabling them to participate fully in the school and their community. The schools will provide a safe nurturing environment for young Ju/’hoan learners.

The learning environment supports the aims of the schools:

  • To improve education outcomes for Ju/’hoan learners by increase student attendance and retention at school
  • To strengthen and infirm indigenous culture
  • To involve community members in school operations and cultural education
  • To continue training of mother tongue Ju/hoan teachers as educators of their own people

Community, Food & Transport

The Village School Project will provide ongoing training to teachers and support to learners, matrons, janitors, school boards, parents, and the community at large.

Each school will consist of two permanent Ju/’hoan teachers, and three Ju/’hoan staff, two matrons and one janitor. The staff will work on a rotation system from school catchment villages, ensuring the community takes responsibility for the running of the schools.

The project will also focus on two vitally important aspects, changing the face of the schools, transport and food.

Providing an effective transport system for learners, teachers and service delivery to the schools will facilitate the running of the schools. The Village Schools will be provided with a school bus, a service vehicle for the school principal, and donkey carts.
Food is the most crucial issue that any educational project needs to take into account. As well as qualifying for the Namibian school feeding program, vegetable gardens will provide sustainable food that not only provides nutritious vegetables but reduce food demands on villages.

Village School Design

Nina Maritz Architects (Namibia) have been tasked to design five environmentally sustainable, low maintenance schools and accommodation structures, using local materials and labour, reflecting Ju/’hoan culture.

A full consultation was facilitated by the architect to:

  • Ensure the schools represent the aspirations and visions of the Ju/’hoan community, culturally and educationally
  • Enable the expression of the rich Ju/’hoan cultural heritage
  • Engendered an ownership by the school community, from planning through construction and management of the schools.

The five village schools will be erected on diverse sites, each with different existing infrastructure or no infrastructure, and site characteristics ranging from fairly dense woodland to open savannah. Some sites have rudimentary classrooms, others have nothing. Standardisation of buildings over the entire project will not work given different site characteristics. It is therefore proposed that different components of the building complex are designed as standard modules, which can be arranged together in different ways to suit the sites. These moduleswill consist of the classrooms, dormitory, the children’s toilets, the kitchen – stores, the staff house and toilet.

Planning for building to The Ju/'hoansi Development Fund

Dormitory and class room with roof structure

Donate to The Ju/'hoansi Development Fund

Potential Site Layout

Planning for building to The Ju/'hoansi Development Fund

Project proposal

The Ju/’hoansi Development Fund is a grassroots organization supporting education in the Nyae Nyae Conservancy, Namibia. The development of five Village Schools (grade 1-4) will support young Ju/’hoan children in their education.

The project proposal provides more information on the San, the region, the current education system, the design and built of the schools, community involvement, staffing, transport and food programmes, management of the project and the detailed budget. Click here to read the project proposal in PDF (37 pages).


“What is the importance of a little group of people living in the desert in a corner of a southern African country? Unless we are able to recognise the potential value of such cultures, and to include specific protection for them and their rights as funding priorities, we will be allowing some of the world’s richest and most resourceful – but also most vulnerable – cultures and languages to slip through the cracks. – ” Jennifer Hays in “Owners of Learning: The Nyae Nyae Village Schools over Twenty Five Years” (2016)

For more information about the Ju/’hoansi Development Fund and the Village Schools project, please visit the website:

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