During the last quarter of 2020, the Khomas environmental education programme (KEEP) hosted 633 students (322 girls and 311 boys) and 50 teachers from 12 different schools and organisations in the region.
The programme brings students from across the region to participate in field excursions at Daan Viljoen Game Reserve on the outskirts of Windhoek and mainly focuses on hosting groups of Grade 3 and 4 learners, accommodating more than two thousand five hundred annually in a pre-Covid year. Since the beginning of this year, the team so far hosted 1,064 students and 22 teachers.
The programme is designed and implemented by the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) with support from the Go Green Fund, which is co-funded by Nedbank and the Namibia Nature Foundation.
Environmental education programmes, such as KEEP, are a new teaching method in terms of changing attitudes and habits of citizens to address the challenges affecting the world and its people.
Stephanie Fennessy, the co-director and co-founder of the GCF said the programme helps young people connect with nature and seeks to build a culture of environmental awareness, social responsibility and action in the country. Since it's aligned to the Namibia national school curriculum, students and teachers apply principles that are familiar from the classroom while spending a day in the bush in an interactive, fun and practical experience.
"KEEP aims to connect Namibian learners with their environment and show them how beautiful their own country is. While schools in Namibia have closed face-to-face teaching again, the KEEP team hopes to be able to reach out to primary schools in the Khomas Region soon and is looking forward to the prospect of taking primary school students into the field again soon," said Fennessy.
Fennessy added that during these difficult times, the GCF team has found different means of reaching Namibian primary school students by partnering with One Africa TV and producing a series of eight environmental education episodes for broadcasting and streaming on social media channels to keep the young generation informed.
The GCF team also extended an invitation to local tour guides to learn more about giraffes, their foundation and KEEP to share these stories with visitors.