Stories

CLIMATE SMART AGRICULTURE A SUCCESSFUL PARADIGM FOR CLIMATE CHANGE

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In Picture: Kangweru Farmers

The Development Aid from People to People (DAPP) together with the Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF) in 2015 implemented the Conservation Agriculture (CA) Component under the ‘Farmers Clubs with Climate-smart Agriculture for Improved Resilience and Livelihoods of Small-scale Farmers in Kavango Project’, with the aim of improving the livelihoods of small-scale farmers, as well as assisting them with adapting to climate change.

Namibia is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change impacts, primarily on rural people, who are highly dependent on the natural environment and its resources. The negative impacts of climate change (e.g. drought and soil degradation) are greatly felt by communities, causing reduced yields, and plunging them into low food security, poverty and malnutrition. As a result, communities now look for means to adapt and increase their food productivity.

Conservation Agriculture (CA) is a set of soil management practices that has proven itself to be the best method to adapt to climate change, through its permanent soil cover, minimal soil disturbance and diversification of plant association.

What is relatively unknown about CA in Namibia, specifically under this component, is the positive impact that CA has on farmers, especially women. The project has not only underscored on producing better and more yields for farmers, but has also played a pivotal role in improvements of in-field water harvesting and use; institutional strengthening; as well as women empowerment.

The CA Project is active in 20 villages of the Kavango East and West regions, with a Farmers Club and a demo field in each village (the demo fields are the focal gathering point where experiences and lessons are shared). Since the project’s inception, 730 farmers were trained on the CA method, and in October 2017, 665 farmers graduated from the demo fields, to start practicing CA in their own fields, with women representing 85%. Also, for the 2017/18 season, the 665 farmers received a great harvest, with the following overall harvest data: cowpeas, 24 478 kg; maize, 9 698 kg; mahangu, 22 431 kg and; groundnuts, 951 kg.

VOICES OF CA FARMERS

Pauline Kahana, a CA graduate, comes from a family of five and is the breadwinner. Kahana was introduced to CA in 2015, at a community meeting held in Mayana, by the NNF. Kahana started practicing CA out of curiosity, as she wanted to compare the CA method with the traditional crop farming method. Since then she has not turned her back on CA. She said, “Before CA, I used to plant tomatoes, mahangu, and a couple more vegetables, but because of reduced yield, as a result of e.g. poor rainfall, I decided to try the CA method.”

For this season, Kahana only planted mahangu and harvested 1320kg. Happy with her harvest, and looking forward to the next season (2018/19), she plans to do crop rotation, as well as increase her field from 2ha to 4ha. With the harvest, Kahana plans to sell some of it to the Agro-Marketing and Trade Agency (AMTA) and the rest will be for family consumption, she informed.

Farmers from the Kangweru Farmers Club, practicing CA in the demo field said that, “for the 2017/18 season, the ripping in the demo field started late, since we had to wait for a tractor from the Ministry of Agriculture’s subsidy programme. During this period, we started to prepare in our own fields, the traditional way and at a later stage started with CA in the demo field. At the end, we realised that we actually harvested more with CA compared to the traditional method, even though we started late with CA. When we compared the CA crops with the traditional planted crops, we could also visibly see the difference between the two.”

The traditional method has densely populated crops with stunted growth due to poor spacing and broadcasting of seed, lack of colour vigour, and small heads for the mahangu. CA crops on the other hand looked the opposite, with proper spacing, the mahangu heads are big, and mulching is also done in CA – this helps retain moisture in the ground during the dry periods that farmers experience. Veronika Mantjodi of the Kangweru Farmers Club further explained that, had they only used the traditional method for the 2017/18 season, they would have had a very small harvest. Farmers remarked that they will continue to practice CA, use the acquired skills and also encourage others to adopt the CA technique.

The Conservation Agriculture Project is funded by the European Union through U-landshjälp från Folk till Folk i Finland rf (UFF-Finland), with additional support given to the NNF by the Pupkewitz Foundation.

You can watch the Conservation Agriculture documentary here

ABOUT THE ORGANISATIONS

The Development Aid from People to People (DAPP) Namibia is a partner in the implementation of the EU funded project, and the NNF works together with the DAPP staff to implement the CA project through joint field activities, trainings and technical support.

The Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF) is Namibia’s leading non-governmental organisation (NGO) promoting sustainable development, the conservation of biological diversity and natural ecosystems, and the wise and ethical use of natural resources.  The Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF) contributes to a wide range of programmes through core technical skills, financial and project management expertise. Visit www.nnf.org.na

DAPP NAMIBIA           UFF          eu logo  

 

THE RHINO PRIDE CAMPAIGN – I AM A RHINO FRIEND FOREVER

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THE RHINO PRIDE CAMPAIGN – I AM A RHINO FRIEND FOREVER

Over a year now, the Save the Rhino Trust Namibia (SRT), together with the Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF), Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC), and Minnoseta Zoo, have launched the Rhino Pride Campaign – I am a Rhino Friend Forever. Funded by the United States Agency for International Development, the campaign aims to bolster outreach and awareness efforts, to help combat rhino poaching, by improving the value local people attach to saving rhinos, especially those in surrounding rhino rangeland areas.

Namibia has the world’s largest free roaming population of the black rhino, in its north-western Kunene Region, a species listed critically endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, with a global population estimate of approximately 5000. Sadly, the rhino remains under threat from the lucrative market for rhino horn, especially in Asia.

Since the launch of the Rhino Pride Campaign, NNF has been collaborating with SRT, holding various successful campaigning events that bring together both young and old, as well as setting-up and maintenance of rhino pride youth groups and positive messaging events in Kunene south, in joining in support for rhino conservation.

Community Rhino Ranger Incentive Programme Awarded Top Honors International Conservation Awards

The Conservancy Rhino Ranger Incentive Programme including its implementing partners (SRT, NNF, IRDNC and MET), as well as zoo-based supporters Minnesota Zoo, Houston Zoo and North Carolina Zoo, in September, were awarded the Association of Zoos and Aquarums 2018 William G. Conway International Conservation Award, with prize money of USD $25 OOO, for scaling up community-based black rhino conservation in Namibia, at a ceremony held in Seatle, USA.

The award prize money will be injected back into the programme’s field operation in the Kunene region, which primarily includes support for rangers, such as petrol food, equipment and performance bonus payments.

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums names conservation as its highest priority, and recognizes exceptional efforts by AZA Institution, Related Facility, or Conservation Partner members toward habitat preservation, species restoration, and support of biodiversity in the wild through its Conservation Award, thus one of the most sought-after awards in the William Conway International Conservation Award.  Given the number of institutions and conservation projects zoos support around the world, the competition is fierce, particularly this year which was the first time a cash prize (USD 25,000) was included.

World Rhino Day

On the 22nd September, the world celebrated World Rhino Day, under the theme “Keep the Five Alive”. Namibia, home to two species, the white and the black rhino marked this celebration in Khorixas – a small north-western town, with the Ministry of Environment (MET) Deputy Minister Bernadette Jagger.

The two-day event celebration, hosted on 21st-22nd September, hosted by the NNF, saw various youth activities, with 13 teams from the conservancies for the soccer and netball tournament,  as well as two schools participating in a rhino-debate competition.

The aim of the celebration was to send positive rhino-related messaging to communities and build onto the foundation of community involvement, pride and sustainable development in relation to rhino conservation in order to foster the notion of wildlife crime as counterproductive and anti-social behaviour.

Youth Clean-up Campaign

The nation’s call for a cleaner and more beautiful Namibia this year resulted in a national clean-up campaign, under the theme “A Clean Nation is A Healthy Nation”. The nationwide clean-up campaign saw institutions and communities go out into their community surroundings to collect litter. SRT and NNF correspondingly, considered a youth clean-up campaign as a great opportunity to create rhino awareness, linking to community pride and youth mobilization. A three-day Youth Clean-up Campaign was hosted in March, between Uis and Twyfelfontein, an area adjacent to the West Kunene Black Rhino (WKBR) range, internationally recognised by the IUCN’s African Rhino Specialist Group as a Key 1 population and specially protected species in Namibia.

Voices from the youth at the Clean-up campaign: Petrus Nanuseb (25) and Mario Kudumo (20), both members of the Rhino Youth Club and from Fransfontein, are ‘Rhino Friends’ and amongst the youth that participated in the clean-up campaign. Although Fransfontein does not form part of a conservancy, the NNF and the SRT are present in this area, and are the youth’s guidance for conservation awareness.

Petrus Nanuseb stated “I knew of the rhino before the Club, but however, I was not aware of its extinction, the threat that poachers pose, and how precious and unique it is. What I have learnt during this campaign and in the Club so far, does not only end with me becoming enlightened regarding the rhino, but to share with my peers and family, and in future I will also teach my children on the importance of conserving our rhino, as well as our nature”. I am proud to be a rhino friend, he added.

Kudumo who is currently unemployed said that the Club helps him keep busy. He stated “we do not only concentrate on sharing awareness about conservation, but also focus on community services such as helping the elderly.” He also emphasized on the importance of teamwork and how SRT and NNF help them with teambuilding activities. He’s message to the public is “let us help protect our endangered species!”

You can watch our World Rhino Day documentary here, and our clean-up campaign documentary here.

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NAMIBIA NATURE FOUNDATION TURNS 30

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This year, the Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF) is celebrating 30 years in conservation.  In this period, NNF can reflect with a sense of pride on many conservation milestones reached and notable achievements that have been realized.

Before independence, Louw Schoemann, a lawyer and nature passionate, became increasingly aware of the irreversible damages that threaten ecosystems in very dry climates if conservation efforts were not urgently made and taken seriously. It became apparent to him that this should be done not only by official authorities, but that there was a clear need for an independent organisation to focus on conservation issues.  In 1987, he founded the Namibia Nature Foundation with the support and patronage of Mr. KWR List of the Ohlthaver and List Group.

At first, the NNF assisted the (then) Department of Nature Conservation to raise and administer funds for the conservation of wildlife and protected area management. The NNF had a rather modest beginning, the opening bank balance equated to R 100 000, a generous contribution by the former Sarusas Development Fund, kindly arranged by Skerf Pottas and Louw Schoeman. But it was also a relatively unknown organisation and the first Director Douglas Reissner (1989-1993) took to marketing the organisation, making contact with a wide range of other institutions across the world. The initial projects during Namibia’s year of independence focused on anti-poaching support, funding to enable environmental education at existing MET facilities, develop a fund-raising capability both internationally and through Namibian corporate membership and establish linkages with the Ministry of Environment & Tourism, local community-based NGO’s,  like-minded NGO’s within the SADC region and beyond. One of the first steps was to gain accreditation by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature). Douglas says “The formative role of the NNF, was not one of  implementing projects, but rather funding facilitation through third-party donors, including direct fundraising activities primarily for MET and Namibian NGO’s, that cooperated with local communities.” This scope of work continued through-out much of the 1990’s under the leadership of Mr P Tyldesley (1993-1997) and Dr P van Rooyen (1997-1998). In 1998 the Board appointed Dr Chris Brown (1998-2010) as the new Executive Director and in doing so signaled a change in scope and mandate of the NNF.

Dr Brown came in with a clear focus on, livelihoods (improving the quality of life) and conserving the natural resource base through the creation of positive incentives for sustainable development. He also recognised that ‘sustainable development and sound environmental management are not realised by individuals or organisations working in isolation. They are only achieved through people working together, in partnership with one another, towards a common vision.’ This laid the basis of the NNF as it is known today and the basis for the NNF’s two most successful products over the last 30 years, people and partnerships. It is the people of the NNF who have driven the organisation to many successes, large and small. It is impossible to single out any one person but it is a fact that the alumni of the NNF are regularly encountered at any environmental meeting and have gone on to careers in other NGO’s, Government, Private Sector and the international development community.

At the same time the NNF has established solid partnerships across the same spectrum of NGO’s, Government, private sector and with the international development community. Dr Brown had agreed to serve the NNF for a decade and stepped down in 2010, when a suitable replacement in the form of Dr Julian Fennessy (2010-2012) took over at the NNF. Julian took over at a time of a rapidly changing donor environment driven largely by the reclassification of Namibia as an upper middle income country and the fall out of the 2008 financial crisis. During this time the NNF had to reinvent itself and in a short space of time set up forward looking structures which have helped the NNF ride the challenges of the last few years. In one of the most challenging periods the NNF was held up by Acting Directors Ms Sally Wood & Maria Pimenta (2012-2013), before Mr Angus Middleton was recruited to take up the position of Executive Director in November 2013.

The NNF is, without doubt, an organisation with a difference, involved in a very diverse portfolio which illustrates the organisation’s passion for Namibian Nature and People. The work of the NNF has expanded in both scope and capacity to incorporate projects which are focused on social ecosystems; global environmental issues and policies; natural ecosystems and biodiversity and both productive land- and seascapes, with the key aim of supporting the works of the Namibian Government and local communities regarding wildlife conservation, natural resource management and rural livelihoods development. Through the years, the NNF has developed its expertise as a financial management service provider, in addition to being a major organisation in the field of conservation.

The NNF remains a leading NGO for nature conservation in Namibia but it is, first and foremost, an organization led by passion with 30 staff members working at any one time on between 30-50 projects around the country, very often working closely with communities in order to protect nature’s richness for the present and future generations. Our motto is “Love Namibia, Love Nature” and we believe in finding innovative conservation solutions which make economic sense for the communities living in and from these fragile environmental landscapes which constitute Namibia.

However, more than ever the primary aims of the NNF, which are to promote sustainable development, to conserve biological diversity and natural ecosystems and to utilise natural resources wisely and ethically for the benefit of all Namibians, not only remain highly relevant but are also proving ever more challenging.

It is fair to say that the NNF remains the go to organisation for conservation and sustainable development, not because we can do everything, but rather because we know the best placed people and partners who can.

The future is a mugs game but we know that the designation of Namibia as an upper middle income country has necessitated that the government realign its expenditure towards basic social services at a cost to aspects such as environmental expenditure; whilst at the same time support funding in all sectors becomes increasingly project based and metric leaving few resources for organisations such as the NNF to champion the broader concepts of sustainable development. As a result the NNF has been under-going a transition towards a social enterprise that works for pro-people pro-conservation outcomes. The challenges both globally and in Namibia are immense but there is every reason to be optimistic as Namibia has already achieved so much in terms of conservation and more people are starting to realise how they benefit from the biodiversity that under pins our economy.

In the end it is down to each of us to do our bit in small ways and more importantly to support working together to achieve positive outcomes, we thank all the people and partners who have carried the NNF this far.

With 30 years of experience the Namibia Nature Foundation as a product of its people and partnerships (past, present and future) is very well positioned to make a difference to keeping Namibia natural and loving it!

IUCN

FORD DONATES ‘BUILT FORD TOUGH’ RANGER TO THE NNF

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26 Sep 2018

The Ford Wildlife Foundation (FWF) has donated a South African-built Ford Ranger to the Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF), to support community conservation in Namibia.

The Ranger will be used to assist the George Mukoya and Muduva Nyangana conservancies in the Kavango East region, with their engagement with the Khaudum National Park, under the Parks and Neighbors Policy, of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism. The Khaudum National Park, which is within the KAZA Trans-boundary Conservation Area, is home to elephants, African wild dogs, rare sable antelope and over 320 species of birds.

Speaking at the handover event, Edla Kaveru NNF Director of Operations, acknowledged the Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) and the Ford Wildlife Foundation (FWF), with their commitment in the conservation of wildlife and ecosystems in Southern Africa. She said “the ‘Built Ford Tough’ Ranger will make a difference in the project, by enabling the project staff to move around in very rugged conditions inside the park, maintain our ongoing support to the communities in Khaudum, and allow us to be more efficient in responding to the needs of the communities.”

She said that the community at large needs to take nature conservation and sustainable development issues seriously, and that individuals and organisations alike have an imperative role to play in tackling these pressing issues, and that it is possible through collaborations such as this.

“For the past 30 years, FMCSA has been actively involved in the conservation of wildlife and ecosystems, with approximately R40-million invested in supporting more than 170 conservation projects across the region,” said Lynda du Plessis, Ford Wildlife Foundation Manager. This is the 18th vehicle that Ford has donated to support wildlife and nature conservation organisations, and a first out of South Africa, du Plessis added.

FMCSA and the Ford Wildlife Foundation have a proud legacy of supporting and partnering with organisations that address environmental education, research and conservation projects in Southern Africa. The locally built Ford Ranger is used to enable the projects to go further and make a real impact in the communities in which they operate.

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REGINA MULOZI’s SUCCESS STORY FOR CONSERVATION AGRICULTURE

The Sustainable Communities Partnership Project – Conservation Agriculture Component

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Regina Mulozi is one of the farmers in Dzoti Conservancy, Malengalenga area in the Zambezi region, who started doing conservation agriculture (CA) for the first time in 2016.  Regina, a mother of five, started making a decent living after she started practicing CA.

According to Regina, traditional slash and burn farming are labour intensive, and a difficult method to practice, which in the end does not yield surplus production. She cultivated 3 hectares (ha) of maize and sorghum, but harvested on average 6-12 bags or 300-600 kg in a good year.

When the CA project was introduced, she was one of the farmers who registered and tried the CA technology. She cultivated ¼ of a ha of maize and beans using the new technology, and harvested 250 kg of maize (5 bags) on this rather small area, which is equivalent to a yield of 1000 kg/ha when using traditional methods, and thus five times more than what she harvested traditionally. In addition, she also harvested beans on a 0.1 ha (10mx100m) field. Of these beans, she sold 21 kgs of beans at a rate of 20 dollars per kg and got N$ 420. The money received from the sale she used to buy clothes and toiletries. Regina also reserved a large bag of beans for own consumption (unweighted). Regina states that “I have learnt that I can get more bags (yield) using CA”. She further stated that, “not using manure is the reason why we do not harvest much using traditional methods, because our soil are exhausted and we keep on making them worse every year by not replenishing it.”

Regina’s field performed well, and was therefore used to showcase CA principles to farmers in Dzoti conservancy and other communities who were visiting her during field days. She mentioned that CA is less labour-intense because you work on a smaller field and harvest more, which means less time and work, unlike conventional agriculture where you work on a bigger field requiring considerably more labour but with a lower yield in the end.

Regina says that, because she wants to have enough food to feed her family and to support her family, she expanded her field from ¼ to 1 Ha.

About the CA Project

The Conservation Agriculture Project is part of the Sustainable Communities Partnership (SCP) programme funded through World Wildlife Fund (WWF)-Namibia with the aim of strengthening existing Conservation Agriculture lead farmer outreach and effectiveness to bring about the adoption of Conservation Agriculture in areas bordering the Sobbe Wildlife corridor.

The Role of the NNF in the CA Project

The Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF) is Namibia’s leading non-governmental organisation promoting sustainable development, the conservation of biological diversity and natural ecosystems, and the wise and ethical use of natural resources. The NNF contributes to a wide range of programmes through core technical skills, financial and project management expertise.

The NNF has a long history of promoting conservation agriculture. For the CA project, the NNF assists with agricultural activities, including the training of lead farmers, the development of demonstration plots, all activities that promote the diversification of production (either for economic and nutritional reasons), the organisation of all marketing activities and the technical training of tillage and manure delivery service providers.

WWF

 

SUCCESS STORY FOR CONSERVATION AGRICULTURE (CA)

ca-nnf.jpg Alfred Tumelo, a farmer in the Sachona area of the Zambezi region, started practicing Conservation Agriculture (CA) in 2006. He was persuaded after the introduction of a project called Community Economic Development Project (CEDP) supported by CLUSA (Cooperative League of the USA), which was funded by the World Wildlife fund (WWF). Alfred started with a 10x10m plot growing maize and groundnuts; he used the hand hoe method due to a lack of a draught animal needed for ripping.

Alfred learnt the basic principles of CA and followed them accordingly, though he found it was hard work at first. He had to dig the basins, apply manure, plant the seeds, and weed constantly. In the first year, Alfred harvested 75 kg (7.5tons/ha) of maize and the yield was much higher than what he would normally obtain with conventional farming methods, so this motivated him.

In 2007, Alfred extended his CA maize plot to 20x20m. His main concerns were the labour required for weeding, and that any type of mulch was scarce due to the drought that hit Namibia the same year. He decided to reduce his 4ha conventional field to 2ha. The rain came early in November, after he had already planted. Precipitation was deficient that year; in mid-December, when some farmers were still planting maize, the rain was absent for almost a month. Many of the crops that were planted late suffered, but Alfred’s maize production was unaffected, because his soil that was covered with mulch maintained considerable moisture-holding capacity. His crops had established a good root system to withstand the dry period. At the end of the season, the harvest from his CA plot captured the attention of other farmers; everyone wanted to learn the new dynamic technique that provided Alfred with such a high yield. His maize harvest in the second year was 220 kg. Due to the small amount of rainfall, his conventional plot only yielded two and half bags (weighing 50 kg each, total = 125 kg).

In 2008, the project realized the potential in Alfred and decided to send him to Imusho, Zambia to train farmers in CA. Because the yields were consistently high on his CA plots, Alfred was encouraged to cultivate ¼ of a hectare in 2011, continuing to use the hand hoe method. However, this task was not easy to carry out. He had little money and not enough labour or time; he became one of the most influential people in CA promotion, therefore limiting the time he could spend on his plot. When he completed his land preparation, Alfred once again applied manure and mulch and waited for the rain to moisten his soil. This 50x50m plot yielded 18 bags of maize, weighing 50kg each. He sold 10 bags and earned N$2000, most of which he used to purchase an ox for N$1500. Because Alfred’s yield continued to increase, he was able to buy another ox and pay for two of his children’s education the following year.

It was clear to Alfred that CA offered many rewards and was well worth the effort. From 2014 to 2015, with funding from USAID through the Namibia Conservation Agriculture Project, he received more CA training. He expanded his field to 1ha, turning out a harvest of forty 50kg bags. He sold 20 of those bags, from which he earned N$4,200. Alfred used his income to reinvest in his business: he bought wire for the fence around his field, more drought-resistant seeds, fertilizer, and paid others for labour that was required for weeding and harvesting. In the same year, he was declared the best farmer in the region. He invited farmers and the media (NBC) and Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) to witness a field day he organized.

In the 2016/17 season, Alfred joined the CA project implemented by the Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF) on Sustainable Community Partnership (SCP), funded by the WWF. He was hired to work as a Farmer Instructor to assist farmers in understanding CA concepts and to diversify their crops to increase their income. Currently, Alfred is working with nine lead farmers, seven service providers, and 20 contact farmers. This season, he has also expanded his field to 2ha, using the ripping method, as he now owns both the oxen and the ripper necessary to carry out this activity.

Through his experience with CA, Alfred has come to realize that it is a farming system which requires commitment, perseverance, and hard work. It is a process, not something that can be achieved overnight; 3 – 5 years of learning through practice will guarantee adoption”.

WWF

MEME ITUMBAPO WOMEN’S GROUP AND CRAFT CENTRE

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Each year 300 000 seabirds are killed in global marine fisheries. Of this total 30 000 seabirds are killed in Namibian waters, with 22 000 caught in the hake longline fishery and 8 000 in the trawl fishery. Seabirds are hooked and drowned on baited longline hooks or killed in collisions with warp cables on trawl vessels. Namibia is therefore one of the most significant countries for seabird bycatch on a global scale which highlights the important role that the Namibian Albatross Task Force team has to play in the conservation of albatrosses and petrels.

One of the simple, cost-effective measures that can be implemented to prevent incidental seabird mortality is the use of bird-scaring lines also called tori lines. These simple but highly effective devices are flown behind vessels over the area where the birds are most likely to dive for the bait and become hooked (longline vessels) or alongside the cables that hold the net in the water (trawl vessels). These bird-scaring lines are used in fisheries worldwide. The ATF in Namibia has demonstrated that seabird bycatch can be practically eliminated on trawl vessels if two tori lines are flown simultaneously, and reduced by 98% on longline vessels.

In 2014, Meme Itumbapo was identified by Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF) to assist the seabird conservation project in building mitigation measures.

Meme Itumbapo’s motto is: “let us not rely on men as the sole providers of the household; we women should stand up for ourselves.”

Selma Nakale (41) is the founder and manager of the Meme Itumbapo Women’s Group. Selma moved to Walvis Bay in 2002, in pursuit of job opportunities. Here she began the woman’s group along with four other middle-aged women. The woman’s business involves making jewellery from raw materials like seas shells, beads ostrich eggs, and traditional material. Sales are relatively slow and there is no lucrative market for their products. This makes supporting their families very difficult since there is no reliable stream of income.

Selma is also the caretaker of Bird’s Paradise, a freshwater wetland and tourism business, located on the eastern periphery of Walvis Bay along the main road to the airport. The women facilitate guided tours into the wetlands with students and tourists where they spend a couple of hours identifying different coastal bird species.

Some other challenges experienced by the women include unpredictable weather patterns in Walvis Bay, which hinder their working progress. The women do not have any transport means and have to foot (+/- 5-6km) to and from work daily.  Lines are built outdoors at the centre as there is no veranda or less exposed area to work in. Another challenge involves a few fishing companies that have started building their own tori lines. This forces the woman to compete with the industry which should not be the case as it should be the industries’ social responsibility to support the women.

There has been an improvement in the women’s living since the start of the tori line project. They are now able to pay their children’s school fees, buy food and from the money they have also started investing in building houses.

According to Selma, it was a great pleasure for her to be introduced to this new project in conservation because not only did the project help them improve on their crafting skills, but it also contributed to their general knowledge around conservation and the seabirds in particular.

In Selma’s words she expresses: “We are very thankful to NNF for supporting us women, and this particularly in the spirit of woman empowerment. This motivates our womanly purpose especially to find that we do not have any men in our group. We see great potential for this project and hope that it will continue to improve and add on to our existing skills and activities.”

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