Nature Foundation grows as conservation partner
The Namibia Nature Foundation’s (NNF) overall aim this year is about restructuring to meet the plethora of challenges to conservation and sustainable development in Namibia.
An important aspect of the ongoing restructuring is to develop a core focus on building an ethos of being the partner organisation for conservation and sustainable development, said Mr Angus Middleton, Executive Director of NNF.
“This implicitly recognises that there are other organisations and individuals that can and already do contribute so much and we feel that we can do more together,” he said adding that the NNF faces many obstacles but the biggest has been the need to reposition in light of changing donor priorities driven largely by the fact that Namibia is now classified as a middle income country. “This poses a challenge on funding and drives the need for professionalism, but professionalism can come at the cost of passion and innovation, two of the most important components of any conservation success,” emphasised Middleton. ”And this is part of the challenge of the restructuring that we are going through at present,” he explained.
He stated that the NNF has been a key part of the conservation success story of Namibia, to which many have contributed. “In future we hope that our success will be reflected through our partnerships and ultimately in being a part of delivering conservation of nature and development for the people of Namibia,” he said.
Regarding the foundation’s wider role in rural areas, Middleton said that a lot of work they do with communities is through their Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) team who supports the development of communal conservancies. “This work is carried out in the Omaheke, Kunene, Erongo, Kavango and Otjozondjupa Regions and we work as part of NACSO which is a partnership of NGO’s that help support the development of communal conservancies,” he elaborated.
He stated that their support ranges from governance to technical issues right through to supporting communities in developing joint venture partnerships with private (tourism) companies. “We also do some work in promoting conservation agriculture in Kavango to help rural farmers improve their livelihoods and in Zambezi and Kavango helping fishing communities protect and enhance their fish stocks through better management. All of this work is done in collaboration with the relevant ministries and a number of other NGO partners,” said Middleton.
He concluded by stating that at present, the Namibia Nature Foundation does not entertain membership for individuals, but that should not stop people from joining them in embracing the complexity of conservation, spreading the word, demanding a better environment and celebrating the fact that Namibia is Nature.