THE Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia yesterday handed out 11 grants worth N$3,1 million to projects addressing environmental sustainability and contributing to economic growth.
This was the first disbursement to 11 projects identified out of more than 90 applications. The second disbursement will be done in June.
The approved projects deal with food security, climate change adaptation, mining rehabilitation, conservation of engendered species, livelihood improvement and diversification, water management and environmental education. These are to create at least 32 full-time jobs.
Grants were given to the Polytechnic of Namibia's agriculture department for the prevention of livestock deaths from the toxic plant Dichapetalum cymosum (N$168 200); the Namibia Crane and Wetlands Working Group for flight paths for wetland flagships (N$254 500); N$330 320 and N$275 825 to the Institute for Management and Leadership Training (IMLT) for the Lüderitz and Tses integrated bio-systems projects.
Other beneficiaries were Creative Entrepreneurs Solutions that got N$104 978 for its EzyStove project; the Uibasen Twyfelfontein conservancy got N$350 000; N$262 397 went to the Uis Environmental Awareness Regional Diversity Booklets; and N$225 998 was granted to EnviroScience for its work to rehabilitate environmentally sensitive areas along the Orange River in the /Ai-/Ais Hotsprings Game Park.
Kehemu Jam and Juices got N$350 000 to improve its processing capacity; mobile environmental classroom Eduventures got N$396 649; and Recycle Namibia Forum got N$153 825 to pave the way for recycling.
The Environmental Investment Fund was established in February.
Before then, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism used to give grants to communities involved in value addition to natural resources.
Those activities were funded by projects like the Integrated Community-based Ecosystem Management (ICEMA), the Namibia Coast Conservation and Land Management (Nacoma), Africa Adaptation Programme, and the Country Pilot Programme.
Minister of Environment and Tourism Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said some of those projects have ended because they were donor funded.
"Considering the abundance of natural resources, fragile ecosystem, effect of climate change and limited financial mechanism on multilateral levels, it makes a strong argument for Namibia to innovatively raise finances to address our pressing developmental needs," Nandi-Ndaitwah observed.
She stressed the importance of balancing environmental sustainability and the utilisation at local levels to stem the tide of economic meltdown and recession.
The CEO of the Environmental Investment Fund, Benedict Libanda, said the fund is in the process of establishing an endowment facility to enable rapid provision of financial support in response to environmentally related catastrophes, conservation and development.
Libanda said because about 60 per cent of the fund's prospective beneficiaries are based in rural areas, it will embark on an outreach programme to all regions from next month to inform rural communities of the fund.