By Jana-Mari Smith
At the recent United National Climate Change Conference (COP18) held in Doha, Qatar, a climate adaptation initiative from Namibia was selected as one of nine 2012 Momentum for Change lighthouse activities.
The project, which is implementing six communities based climate change adaptation concepts in northern Namibia, has played a critical role in creating awareness of climate change in poverty stricken communities.
Moreover, the Namibia’s climate change adaptation project has proven that despite the weariness that surrounds the topics, climate change adaptation projects are being implemented and do work.
According to the United Nationals Momentum for Change initiative, the nine chosen projects were chosen because they are “beacons shining a light to show that climate action is taking place right now – that there is momentum for change. Change is good”.
The Momentum for Change initiative was developed as a “way to demonstrate the multiple benefits of addressing climate change and to transform misperceptions surrounding taking action on climate change.”
Highlighting positive developments in the field of climate change mitigation and adaptation will motivate and enhance innovation, hope, passion and capacity for further chance, the UNFCCC believes.
The Namibian projects have been designed to look at the overall influences and backgrounds of communities, including their livelihood, ethnicity, gender, geography etc. The majority of the target communities are subsistence farmers.
Among some of the key challenges faced by the communities are extreme climates with pronounced drought and flood events, loss of productivity of agricultural arable land and range, severe land degradation, loss of livestock and high levels of deforestation and over utilization of natural resources.
The coping strategies include energy efficient, easy to assemble and affordable cooking stoves, which drastically reduce the amount of wood needed to cook a meal.
Moreover, the project has focused on self help groups as a way for member of the community to take charge of their own development, savings and lending.
Some of the results yielded so far was the first harvest of pearl millet, which increased from an average of 70 kg per hectare to 570 kg. In addition, the self help groups have generated cash incomes from their maize harvest and are planning to sell cooking oil extracted from their sunflower harvest.
The project is being implemented with multiple partners, which include Creative Entrepreneurs Solutions (CES).