Namibia has identified low levels of environmental awareness as a fundamental challenge to environmental protection and sustainable development. Strategies to improve levels of awareness and to stimulate behavioural change are therefore included in Namibia’s 5th National Development Plan (2017-2022). This has also led to the development of two important Policy and Strategy documents. These are the National Environmental Education and Education for Sustainable Development Policy (2018) and the Communication, Education and Public Awareness Strategy (2019-2030) of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism. The Global Search for Sustainable Schools will play an important role in terms of contributing to the implementation of both of these guiding documents.
It will also build on existing programmes being run in Namibia such as the clean-up campaign in schools, eco-schools clubs and the sustainable development awards programme. The Namibian Government has just initiated a pilot project to establish Clean Up Clubs in 10 schools to promote reuse, reduce and recycle and to contribute to the implementation of the National Clean Up Campaign which was launched by the President in 2018. The Namibian Government has currently placed a strong emphasis on improving waste management but other aspects of sustainable consumption and production such as renewable energy, water use efficiency and sustainable food production are equally important in the Namibian context.
The Namibian Government also runs three Environmental Education Centers, which run environmental education programmes mainly for learners from disadvantaged backgrounds. This project will also support these centers to raise awareness and capacitate learners on matters of sustainable consumption and production. In addition to this institutional support, the Global Search for Sustainable Schools will select 5 schools to receive funds to realise plans to make their schools more sustainable. Through these activities, this project will develop skills among the youth, creating the space for positive changes in the daily school environment and ultimately lead towards better environmental-related actions and behavior. Learners need to be educated in a healthy and sustainable environment and this project will help learners to apply concepts of sustainability in their daily environment and be a starting point for them to develop a sense of awareness and responsibility.
Activities will be implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology as well as the National Environmental Education Network (NEEN). NEEN is a registered NGO and represents an umbrella body of around 200 members engaged in aspects of environmental education and awareness from the public and private sectors as well as the NGO community.