Twenty-eight young Namibians from across the country recently took part in a workshop on solar cooking, renewable energy and climate change at a private nature reserve in the Namib Desert.
Namib Desert Environmental Education Trust (NaDEET), which tries to educate people to live sustainably, offered the workshop in mid-August at its centre in the NamibRand Reserve.
The objective of the workshop was to transfer practical knowledge of solar cooking and sustainable living through experimental methods.
Rodney Seibeb, the project coordinator of the Promoting Renewable Energies in Namibia (PREN) project of the Hanns Seidel Foundation Namibia (HFN), said the 28 participants were chosen from different regions of the country and were selected based on their motivation letters.
"This was done to have a very diverse group that consists of students, unemployed young people and those who had just left school," he said.
Seibeb said a raffle was held at the workshop for the participants and one of them won a brand new solar oven valued at N$2 500.
Suzette Rooi, a chef from Koës in //Karas region, said she was impressed by the solar cookers.
"Solar equipment is cheap and effective. I will integrate solar cooking into my catering business," she said.
Emilia Nangolo, a student of the Windhoek Vocational Training Centre (WVTC), said cooking on a solar cooker was fun for her because "it's an experience which can never be forgotten".
Another participant, Jamanuka Mbaisa, who hails from Omaheke region, said he participated in the workshop to learn solar cooking skills and transfer them to others in the region without access to electricity.
He proposed that NaDEET research the region to come up with ways of how people can survive without electricity.
"Some people in the Omaheke region have no access to electricity and also cannot afford gas stoves. They mainly depend on wood for cooking," he remarked.
The workshop also trained participants on how to survive on minimal water.
Bucket showers and dry toilets were some of the methods the NaDEET centre has adopted to use less water than normally used in a conventional bathroom set-up.
Michael Mulunga, National Youth Council (NYC) grants coordinator, said the economical use of water at the centre proves that Namibians can achieve a sustainable lifestyle.
"After eating food from the solar cooker, I am convinced, and I am going to preach the message and also promote solar cooking," he added.
Viktoria Keding, NaDEET co-founder and director, said the centre tried to make environmental education as practical as possible to make learning an amazing experience for participants.
"Everything at NaDEET is not perfect, but it is a work in progress that is based on the 'we practise what we teach' philosophy," she added.