Positive interventions towards youth development

WILDERNESS Therapy Namibia (WTN) is an intervention and awareness programme aimed at addressing issues affecting the youth in Namibia.

The organisation was established in 2008, as a nature and adventure based alternative to traditional counselling and therapy for Youth-At-Risk.

Wilderness Therapy Namibia is a welfare, non-government organisation which embarks on the positive development of participants in order for them to become competent, healthy and responsible adults with leadership potential.

The participants of the programme are Namibian youth exposed to negative physical and mental conditions, for example, lack of emotional support, peer pressure and an environment where substance abuse is rife.

The WTN liaises with school guidance teachers to identify learners who have potential to grow beyond their circumstances and enroll them in their programme for the purpose of changing their outlook on life and groom them to be the leaders they have the potential to be.

A typical programme starts with a nature-adventure intervention in the form of a strenuous eight-day wilderness hike in the most remote parts of the country. During the hike, participants are challenged physically and emotionally as they attempt to surmount the hurdles around them. This teaches them to become resilient when going through hardships and remaining composed every step of the way. Participants are made to introspect on how they overcame the challenges faced during the hike and relate it to the status quo in their everyday life.

During the course of the programme, participants are guided in a process of self-discovery and self-realisation through group therapy, group discussions and individual counselling sessions. This gives them an opportunity to have discussions on real life events and struggles they overcome on a daily basis. It is a bonding session amongst participants over a burning fire resembling how the ancestors did it in the past.

Nedbank Namibia noted WTN’s plight for safe and reliable transport and sponsored N$375 000 towards a VW 10-seater minibus which will transport the WTN staff and the participants to the venues the programmes are held.

Nedbank’s CSI and sponsorship manager, Helene Meintjes said the bank is happy to associate itself with the project.

“At Nedbank Namibia, we continuously aim to be money experts who do good. The WTN project was a natural fit to our current focus areas of conservation, poverty eradication, and education among others. We are very pleased that we could support the organisation with a vehicle, which is vital to the execution of its core purpose of assisting learners with leadership potential,” she said.

Wilderness Therapy Namibia participants remain active in the programme through a mentorship programme until they have completed Grade 11.