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Striving for a greener Keetmanshoop

Desere Hamman, project coordinator of the Keetmanshoop //Karas Environmental Club during a recent tree planting day in Warmbad.

Desere Hamman, project coordinator of the Keetmanshoop //Karas Environmental Club during a recent tree planting day in Warmbad.

In recent years, several deaths have been attributed to the very cold winters in the south and with the high unemployment rate in the Karas Region, the community based //Karas Environmental Club is striving to tackle unemployment as well as create awareness of environmental issues.
Established in November 2010, the //Kharas Environmental Club is one of the few community  outreach projects in the South that aims to enhance and promote the livelihood of its residents as well as the environment.
“It was established to address climate change and its impact on vulnerable communities in the South. We had cases of deaths due to the extreme cold conditions in the south and thus we saw a necessity to address climate change issues amongst vulnerable communities in the region”, says the project coordinator, Desere Hamman.
They envisage a greener Keetmanshoop for the future generation and that is exactly what they are working towards said a proud Hamman.
In a recent interview with the Economist, she said that they are proud to have planted 25 trees in Warmbad, in honour of one their now retired activists.
“Our core activities are weekly radio talks to engage the community on environmental issues, backyard tree planting and we have recently visited the dumping site for what we hope to be a waste management project.”
She said that the club is still waiting for the go-ahead from the Global Environmental Fund (GEF) in order to start recycling waste material where they will provide employment to people already living off the dump-site.
“There are people living of the dump-site, and if people get 20 cents per kilogram for the waste material, imagine what can they do with that money, stressed Hamman.
“We want to provide these people with a decent income in order to improve their livelihood.”
The club is also currently working on new upcoming projects such as the Paper Fire Brick Project as well as recycling plastic by weaving door mats from recovered shopping bags.
“We believe that environmental issues need to be addressed because it has an impact on our economy.  If this is not addressed our economy could suffer as a result of lives being lost by challenges that can be challenged.”

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