Strand Hotel: The legacy continuesJune 30, 2015
Presentations | 6 & 8 JulyJuly 2, 2015
Namibia Desert Environment Education Trust (NaDEET)
By Viktoria Keding
Education is the key to sustainable development, and because we learn best through example, the Namib Desert Environment Education Trust (NaDEET) , offers a first-hand, hands-on chance for students and adults to experience sustainable living.
Founded in 2003, NaDEET’s environmental education centre in the NamibRand Nature Reserve in the Hardap region is where theory meets practice. Participants gain the tools to take environmentally aware actions when they return to their homes and communities.
NaDEET’s newsletter, the Golden Mole, was first published in February 2003, and it outlined the organisation’s approach to creating positive change. It read, in part, “By using an innovative design, alternative technology and living techniques, the Centre is to be a model and experience in sustainable living. Programme participants will not only feel the powers of the sun in the Namib, but will experience first-hand the sun’s ability to light a room and to cook a meal”.
The enthusiasm for environmental education was tangible. In the first year of operation, 120 school children from four school groups visited NaDEET.
Ten years later, the enthusiasm to protect the natural environment in Namibia by educating its citizens to practice a sustainable lifestyle is just as strong, and the momentum continues to build. By 2013, a total of 230 school and adult groups – over 9,000 participants in total – had participated in environmental education programmes at NaDEET.
“When we first started, we essentially only had primary school programmes. Today we have four programmes – primary, secondary, community and educator,” said Viktoria Keding, co-founder and Director of NaDEET.
By using an innovative design, alternative technology and living techniques, the Centre is to be a model and experience in sustainable living. Programme participants will not only feel the powers of the sun in the Namib, but will experience first-hand the sun’s ability to light a room and to cook a meal.
From 2003 to 2013, NaDEET has been the recipient of significant Nedbank Go Green funding. This support has provided environmental education for underprivileged children, and promoted environment research, education and leadership skills in secondary school learners, particularly those living in the Hardap region.
Through the School Programme, Namibian youth come to the NaDEET centre for an experience that integrates sustainable living theory and practice. Sustainable living is a way of life; it refers to the individual’s responsibility within society to take care of the earth’s resources for today and for tomorrow. NaDEET learners return home with a greater awareness of their relationship within the environment and of the consequences of their actions.
The NaDEET centre offers a variety of environmental education programmes tailored to grades 5-12, based on the Namibian National Curriculum for Basic Education. Activities revolve around the key concepts of energy, water, waste and biodiversity.
The primary school programme engages young learners with the natural environment. They participate in solar cooking, measuring our enviro-footprint, a biodiversity dune walk, and catch and release trapping.
The more advanced programme for secondary schools promotes critical and creative thinking skills in older learners regarding the environment and their personal impact on it. Through teamwork and leadership, learners gain knowledge and skills in sustainable living.
For example, through interactive game-activities such as “The Environmental Problem Tree”, “Prioritize Your Pyramid”, “Shop Till You Drop” and “The G6 Challenge” the schoolchildren learn about the causes of environmental problems, their consequences, and possible solutions to solve them. They then critically discuss important social and global issues and try to decide which ones are more urgent and need to be faced first.
By the end of 2013, all 55 schools in the Hardap region had visited NaDEET at least once and many schools nationwide have made the NaDEET Centre an annual outing. Approximately 1,000 children and adults attend our programme each year.
NaDEET realises the importance of reaching out to the communities where the learners who visit our centre live.
“We have learned that children need support to implement change. Our community programme in the Hardap region encourages children and their families to apply sustainability through a more holistic approach. For example, it provides access to solar cookers, bottle skylights, bucket showers, fuel efficient stoves and recycled firebricks to participants,” said Keding.
The positive examples learned at NaDEET are spreading to various parts of the country, through its internship programme. NaDEET has trained over 14 tertiary level interns from the Polytechnic of Namibia and the University of Namibia in environmental education. Many of these interns now work as environmental educators in different regions.
“One child, one educator, one community at a time”. NaDEET is proud to help Namibians create a better future.
Share your story
If you’ve participated in an environmental education programme at NaDEET, we would love to know how your experiences at NaDEET have impacted your choices for living a sustainable life. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- The NaDEET Centre runs purely on solar power
- The NaDEET Centre has provided solar cooked food for over 10 years to over 9,000 participants. That is between 50,000 – 75,000 solar cooked plates of food served
- NaDEET Centre average water use is 13 litres per day per person (which is equivalent to one toilet flush!)
- NaDEET Centre has recycled more than 5 tonnes of waste of which 50% has been composted and reused to produce vegetables for the centre’s meals since 2003
- Our Bush Telegraph magazine has a print run of 18,000, with 16,500 subscribers
- Participants’ overall favourite activity at NaDEET is solar cooking