Urban youth reconnect to nature via Giraffe Conservation Foundation
Khomas Environmental Education Programme (KEEP) an initiative of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) in the past two and half years played a key role in promoting the importance of environmental education in the country.
The programme is aimed at allowing urban youth to reconnect to nature and to build a culture of environmental awareness, social responsibility and action, in addition to understanding the impact of humans on their environment and vice versa.
The programme consists of a 3.5 kilometre hike that takes students and their teachers away from book bound facts into real life experiences. A follow-up quiz game has shown that the day in the bush allows students to acquire valuable new skills and knowledge.
Most students that take part in this programme are the less privileged and under-resourced schools, and together with their teachers.
According to the foundation, the programme is closely linked to the Namibian national school curriculum, students and teachers engage with topics from their syllabus and apply concepts that are already familiar from the classroom.
In a report, the Girraffe Founsation said that of all the schools and groups that have joined, less than a third currently have any kind of environmental activities and even fewer have the resources and are able to expose their students to other environmental education opportunities.”
“With deep budget cuts faced by schools during the economic downturn, there are concerns that environmental education will continue to slide down the scale of priorities,” they added.
According to them initiatives such as KEEP programme can ensure that students are still afforded the opportunity to step out of their classrooms and learn about their natural environment.
During the field trips, students have encountered a variety of animals and animal behaviours, including firm favourites such as baboons, wildebeest and giraffe.
“KEEP has made a big difference in the lives of Namibians directly and indirectly. Not only is it benefiting primary level children, but at the end of the day, it benefits us all our communities and our wildlife,” said Gernot de Klerk, Head: Marketing & Communications at Nedbank Namibia. Keeping Children Close to Nature
Meanwhile, Nedbank Namibia’s Go Green Fund, a non-profit fund which supports individuals and organisations working towards a sustainable future for Namibians as well as for Namibia’s species and habitats, is a proud sponsor of the programme.