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Plant tissue culture, Probiotics dairy products, biomas recycling and regulations of environmental activities at Okongo, Namibia

To build an Industrial biotechnology vocational training centre that will help in contributing to food security and poverty eradication.

Photo of Mariah Muhongo
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Written by

Lead Applicant Organization Name

Pan African University Institute for Basic Science , Technology and Innovation.

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Researcher Institution

Website of Legally Registered Entity

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • Just beginning now

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?


Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?


Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

Okongo, a village in Ohangwena region of northern Namibia, covers a total area of of approximately 600 km^2.

What country is your selected Place located in?


Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

Okongo is in the process of developing into a town. I was born and raised up at this area and attended my school from primary to secondary level. I know and aware of all the challenges and what impacts they have on residents. I am a native to activities associated with culture, religion and what are the socio-economy issues at this area. Okongo is filled with so much memories from my childhood. There were lots of things we had no access to but now we have access to basic amenities though is not enough, so much change is required. Though certain challenges are addressed to the government, poverty and unemployment rate is still high. I want to assure fair life positively introduce development impacts on gender, quality education, access to clean adequate water and improvements on agricultural entities.

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

Okongo is a village in Ohangwena region of northern Namibia, its situated about 120km east of Eenhana which is the main town of Ohangwena region. Its know as the district capital of Okongo constituency. It was first settled by the San people in the 1900s who are known as hunter-gatherer community. This name is derived from Oshiwambo dialect meaning a place or forest of hunting. Later on the San community were displaced by Bantu people. The commonly and local language is Oshiwambo while Christianity is the predominant religion. Okongo has basic amenities like electricity, water, sanitation, police station, maternity houses, office, supermarkets, few big stores, 2 fuel filling stations, clothing store outlets, one bank branch. The public hospital features a 62 beds that serve surrounding settlements. There are several pre-primary schools, primary schools, a combined school and secondary school. There is also a landing strip for a small aircraft . Okongo is governed by a village council that has five seats Grain products such as millet, maize and sorghum are the most important source of energy in the diet of Okongo community members. They also rely on other foods as source of protein for instance spinach, fish, meat, mopane worms (both fresh and dry) and milk. During rainfall season they cultivate and grow different vegetables like pumpkins, groundnuts, beans, watermelons, tomatoes and spinach which are either kept fresh or dry as food for families or sold to generate income. Most middle aged people in Okongo are illiterate. Few youth dropped out of school and due no no qualifications they are unable to secure jobs to support their families. Some dont even make it to universities due to financial difficulties from their parents so they end up being in the street or send to other villages to do minor work for survival.

What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?


Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

Though okongo has basic amenities, people from the nearby settlements have no access to this amenities. Most villages in Okongo constituency have no access to electricity( they depends on small scaled solar systems, Gas cylinders, fire wood) and water supply is wreck as people have to walk long distances like 10km to fetch water from a village which has a water pumbing system and this is not sufficient for both people and livestock. There comes a point when the pumbing system is damaged and people are forced do drink from drainage and wells. Most people depends on cultivation and farming but during drought season, livestock dont survive as grazing lands are dry, farmers are unable to afford food for their livestock and no access to veterinary services. During those dry season, majority benefits from government food distribution but now due to economy fall out in the country and population increment at this area, people tend to suffer due to hunger and children become victims of malnutrition. The public hospital does not have all necessary and required equipment. In cases of emergency, only one ambulance is available for operation and which have to travel 120km to another district intermediate hospital which is in Eenhana. Okongo hospital cater as a clinic too all residents in the constituency because no other clinics are build at settlements and it's a pity that people travel long distances to access health facilities. For those that have no jobs and have health problems, they are unable to seek medical attention as they cannot afford it. Climate change also contribute and negatively impact on food security in this area. Education system practised is not up to standard, secondary students have no access to good accommodation, library, computer lab and science laboratory. And that is why most learners tend to drop out and becomes streer vendors or migrate to the city where they are unable to secure jobs.

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

My vision is to set up an industrial biotechnology vocational training centre which will adequately impact on several challenges in Okongo and also Namibia at large. Big challenge which is electricity, the centre will train students in developing of microbial fuel cell to generate Electricity from organic matter for those settlements or other communities in Namibia. In term of water supply issues, the facility will engage students on systems that will assist in water conservation and distribution, improve current pumbing systems or drill more boreholes that will benefit all residents to have acces to water and able to set up industrial effluent treatment plant to recycle waste water. Because drought is a natural change, through this training centre, student will acquire skills in developing of technical irrigation systems for farming both small and large scales, use of plant tissue culture to propagate different crops and trees, attain knowledge and skills in food industry in order to become self sustainability and also venture into business sectors to create jobs for others and generate income. This vocational centre will open doors and inspire students that are unable to seek universities education due to financial difficulties in other town. Less privileged, orphans, people with disabilities will have access to free education at this centre. By doing this, droup out rate of learners at secondary level will decrease, learners would be motivated to study very hard.

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

By vision 2050, Okongo should be a fully developed town with access to standard amenities. A better hospital with adequate facilities and trained nurses plus Doctors. Most if not all settlements in Okongo constituency should have a working clinics with access to free health. All settlements should be powered with electricity at affordable prices and working pumbing systems for clean and adequate water. Residents should acquire skills through community development training at this facility and use those skills to unable them to generate manure from waste products for their farming. There would be adequate food for both people and livestock as agricultural will be improved, people will be self sustainable and set up a food security bank to benefits all Namibian. Quality accommodation and education will be accessed by every learner. Youth empowerment will be the main key role to food security and nutrition regenerative in Okongo by 2050.

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

By 2050 Namibia will have (i) Unemployment declines to 5% from 46%. The country will operate a totally integrated, unified, flexible and high quality education and training system, that prepares Namibian learners to take advantage of a rapidly changing global environment, including developments in science and technology. This, inturn, would and that contribute to the economic and social development of the citizens. There will be equal access to excellent educational and vocational training institutions and quality sports services/facilities by all, with basic education placing emphasis on Science and Mathematics. Public education, covering every area of life and living, will be an integral part of the system of continuing education, which is free and open to everyone in Namibia. Moral education will be well integrated into the school curricula. In order to meet the exigencies of industrial transformation, Namibia will continue to monitor cross-sectoral internal and external development in the field of “knowledge, information and technology” and assesses its impact on the rights of the individual and the functioning of society and the national economy. (ii)Gini-coefficient, a measure of income inequality and poverty, falls from 0.7 to 0. (iii) Per capita income to have increased to the level of developed high- income countries; (iv) Manufacturing and the service sectors account for and contribute more than 80% of gross domestic product; The rural sectors, with its traditional economy, would have been transformed and integrated into a modern economy. a country. v) Having a vibrant and sustainable economy,society and environment; a high level of human capital development; greater opportunities and access to these opportunities for the population; and a high level of human security. Developed country status for Namibia is, therefore, a definition crafted from our realities and aspirations and against which we will measure our achievements and successes.

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

  • Website


Join the conversation:

Photo of Mildred Mayondi

It's a good vision... thumbs up

Photo of Mariah Muhongo

Thank you

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