Fund connects learners with their environment

By Staff Reporter

THE Nedbank Go Green Fund was co-funded by the commercial bank and the Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF) since 2011, and aims to enhance conservation and protect natural resources in the country.
The fund has since raised millions of dollars for funding more than 40 environmental projects across Namibia, such as the Khomas Environmental Education Programme (KEEP).
This interactive environmental education programme was designed and is implemented by the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF). Since 2015, over 10 000 learners have benefitted from the KEEP programme.
On its 14th anniversary in 2015, the Minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta, applauded the fund for the valuable contribution it had made to support the country’s biodiversity.
“Along with the wide variety of successful projects, the longevity of the Go Green Fund is testament to the effective collaboration of the Namibia Nature Foundation and Nedbank in its implementation. This type of institutional collaboration is vitally important to assist in good biodiversity conservation outcomes, and sets a good example for others to follow,” said Shifeta at the time.
Environmental education programmes offered by non-governmental (NGOs) and civil society organisations are a new teaching method in terms of changing attitudes and habits of citizens to address the challenges affecting the world and its people.
KEEP brings students from across the region to participate in field excursions at Daan Viljoen Game Reserve on the outskirts of Windhoek. The programme mainly focuses on hosting groups of grade 3 and 4 learners – accommodating more than 2 500 annually in a pre-Covid year.
With the support of Nedbank Go Green Fund, GCF helps to educate Namibia’s future leaders. Stephanie Fennessy, the co-director and co-founder of the GCF said the programme will help young people connect with nature and seeks to build a culture of environmental awareness, social responsibility and action in the country.
The programme is also aimed at reaching out to more schools in the near future.
During the last quarter of 2020, KEEP hosted an impressive 633 students (322 girls and 311 boys) and 50 teachers from 12 different schools and organisations, always adhering to the Covid-19 health protocols.
“Since the beginning of this year, our team has hosted 1064 students and 22 teachers so far. This means that we’ve already had more participants than in all of 2020. We look forward to schools reopening and continuing to implement the project. KEEP aims to connect Namibian learners with their environment and show them how beautiful their own country is. While schools in Namibia have closed face-to-face teaching again, the KEEP team hopes to be able to reach out to primary schools in the Khomas region soon and is looking forward to the prospect of taking primary school students into the field again soon,” said Fennessy.
Fennessy also said that GCF team has found different means of reaching Namibian primary school students by partnering with One Africa Television and producing a series of eight environmental education episodes for broadcasting and streaming on social media channels to keep the young generation informed.
The GCF team also extended an invitation to local tour guides to learn more about giraffes, their foundation and KEEP to share these stories with visitors.
Nedbank Namibia said that by supporting conservation programmes such as KEEP, it will help the country to ensure that natural assets deliver its full economic, social and environmental potential.