The essence of NaDEET’s work is based on educating the youngest members of Namibia’s population. Viktoria Keding and a group of women motivated by the desire to share the magic of the Namib Desert with local schoolchildren decided to establish an environmental education centre. It was 15 years ago. To date, they hosted and trained over 13,000 children and adults and made it an almost 100 per cent carbon-free NaDEET Centre on NamibRand It offers hands-on immersion in ESD for schoolchildren, educators, parents as well as for entire community groups.
NaDEET uses a hands-on, experiential approach to ESD. The local context is an arid country with a relatively low population yet few natural resources. The core of NaDEET’s work is centre-based, residential ESD programs. This gives participants a transformative experience as they are immersed in learning and living at a sustainable centre. One of the key elements is that NaDEET’s approach is simple, yet effective in reducing environmental impact and educating.
NaDEET Objectives are to provide environmental education for Namibians, regardless of income, by:
• Addressing relevant environmental issues through hands-on, experiential learning.
• Supporting the Namibian school curricula in a practical, learner-centred way.
• Providing the opportunity of experiencing the county’s namesake – the Namib Desert – first hand, thus creating a sense of respect and responsibility for their natural environment.
They offer three- five day hands-on, experiential, environmental education programmes for Namibians. Most of their programmes are attended by primary school children. However, they also offer courses to secondary schools, out-of-school youth, educators and community members.
Furthermore, the main NaDEET literacy project is a youth magazine available at no cost to all learners, educators and interested citizens in Namibia, called the Bush Telegraph. Approximately 18,000 learners and educators are currently subscribed. It aims to increase knowledge of and improve attitudes towards the environment, through reading. This project is complemented by their “It’s Time to …” activity book and guidebook series.
The Urban Sustainability Centre in Swakopmund is NaDEET’s newest initiative, an education centre for day visitors that features a “sustainability activity house”. The centre is open to both the general public and schools. It aims to challenge Namibians’ assumptions about the impact of their lifestyle choices and to offer ideas to finding suitable everyday solutions to environmental problems.
Within the population, there was a lack of understanding about basic environmental issues such as water, energy and waste. This was heightened by a lack of a sense of responsibility towards addressing the problem. NaDEET believes environmental education must not only increase awareness and knowledge but also eco-friendly attitudes and skills in Namibia’s youth and educators to promote participation.
Over 200 schools have participated in the NaDEET Centre programme, many of which return each year. Over 1500 sustainable living materials (solar ovens, fuel efficient stoves, solar lights) have been distributed to programme participants, which now numbers over 14,000. Learning support materials have empowered numerous teachers to better implement ESD in the classroom. Lastly the natural environment has benefited through the almost 100% carbon free centre (almost all solar).
Nation-wide with a focus on the Hardap Region. The main populations are school-aged children, teachers and communities. In addition, NaDEET has greatly contributed to the development of the National EE/ESD Policy which was recently launched in Namibia
– Sufficient funding: This is always a challenge. NaDEET tries to use a balanced approach to financing their programs by diversifying sources. Importantly, they also keep expenditures as tight as possible to minimise waste.
– Consistency and development of a more senior staff to develop programs further. They are working on a mentoring program for the near future to concentrate their efforts on existing staff and developing their skills.
– Government buy-in and prioritization: this has been an issue for the field of ESD as it is not thought of as a priority. They hope that with the new National Policy, they will be able to advance in this area as well.
– Sharing their successes and impacts: They have recently hired a PME officer and look forward to re-orienting their approach to M&E and sharing of impact
– Transport for program participants is affordable for most and requires financial support .
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