Namibia Economist (Windhoek)

Namibia: Finland Bankrolls Research Centres

The Embassy of Finland last week signed two funding agreements with the Desert Research Foundation of Namibia (DRFN) and Gobabeb Training and Research Centre (GTRC). The agreements signed are part of the Fund for Local Cooperation of the Embassy of Finland. The fund supports the eradication of poverty and economically, socially and ecologically sustainable development of Namibia in line with the goals of the NDP4.

The total funding amount of 145 000 Euros (N$1.9 million) will focus on the sustainable management of natural resources and environmental education as well as contributions to the upcoming United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification(UNCCD) eleventh Conference of Parties (COP11) through civil participation.

The Desert Research Foundation of Namibia (DRFN) was granted a total of 77 500 Euros for a one year project aimed at developing capacity in sustainable environmental management and livelihoods. Through this funding, DRFN supports decision making bodies and individuals in the government and private sector by developing, disseminating and implementing scientific, fact-based and analytical options that form the backbone of policy development, planning and implementation.

In addition, DRFN as the coordinating body of Civil Society Organisations (CSO)'s contribution towards COP11 will provide training to journalists on environmental matters.

The Gobabeb Training and Research Centre (GTRC) was granted a total of 68 000 Euros for a year's project that is aimed at promoting education for sustainable development in Namibia and its role in transitioning to a green economy, with a particular focus on the youth as future leaders in the country. The GTRC is actively involved in the preparations for the COP11 as a partner to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism and will assist the Ministry with side-events and activities prior to and during the Conference showcasing its on-going work with the youth.

According to GTRC Member of the Board of Trustees, Mary Seely, the GTRC intends on starting the project immediately and will hold a Youth Environment Summit (YES) where Grade 11 learners from the Erongo region will be invited to attend and be part of a project called 'We are proud of our desert'. Learners will get a week-long, intensive environmental training course where they will be exposed to science and how scientific research is conducted, firmly grounded in field observations and data collecting. The training is particularly focused on skills based learning rather than content knowledge and strives to encourage critical thinking, problem solving and self- discovery under the guidance of professional researchers who regularly collaborate with Gobabeb.

The Fund for Local Cooperation is a local funding instrument administered by the Embassy of Finland. It has actively supported the work towards the promotion and realisation of human rights and democracy in Namibia for nearly 11 years, complementing other funding instruments made available by the Government of Finland. The Fund for Local Cooperation is used to support various developments and civil society actors. It is also used to promote trade and business relations between Finland and Namibia.

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