Environmentally sustainable projects gets funding
As a developing country, Namibia is heavily dependent on natural resources for its economic development through sectors such as mining, farming and tourism. However, many communities do not benefit directly from these natural riches. The Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia which became operational in 2011 allocates grants to support individuals, projects and communities that ensure the sustainable use of resources.
Grants given by the fund are funded through international donor commitments, local conservation fees and environmental levies. The grants are used in the protection and wise management of the environment, promotion of sustainable use of natural resources for economic development and conservation of biological diversity and ecological life-support functions.
Other grants are allocated to projects involved in research, surveys and resource management plans, as well as infrastructure projects for rural communities or urban environmental initiatives. Schemes introducing or using new technologies for sustainable harvesting waste management, recycling or alternative energy can also apply for a grant.
According to Robert Kabunga, an intern at the fund, an estimated N$3.1 million has already been allocated to fund 11 projects, both existing and new projects in different categories. Kabunga highlighted that there are certain criteria used to determine which projects are funded and at what amount. “Grants range between N$10 000 and N$350 000 or more if the project warrants it. The N$ 10 000, called the seed grant, is used for planning purposes,” he said.
The process of applying for a grant or loan usually takes about a month before the application is approved. “The applicants are first administered, then screened and then they are recommended by the technical advisor panel before they are forwarded to the board who then select the approved projects based on certain issues such as budget,” Kabunga explained.
Application forms for grants and loans can be found on the fund’s website.
Two successfully implemented projects funded by the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia are the Ezy stove currently being piloted in the informal settlements and the Crane birds projects that conserves the endangered species of cranes. A Paper Block Project that uses recycled paper, wood shavings and newspaper to build bricks and create an alternative fuel to wood for cooking, is also one of the projects funded by the fund. The bricks are found at the Habitat Research and Development Centre and sold at a mere N$1.00 per block.