Building peace in the minds of men and women

Namib Desert Environmental Education Trust (Namibia)

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© NaDEET

The Namib Desert Environmental Education Trust (NaDEET) is a Namibian non-governmental environmental education organization based in the beautiful Namib Desert. Its three core projects are: the Centre on NamibRand; Environmental Literacy Projects; and the Urban Sustainability Centre. Designed to complement each other, these three projects work towards achieving NaDEET’s mission to protect Namibia’s natural environment by educating its citizens to practice a sustainable lifestyle. Its experiential transformative teaching methods bring sustainable living alive while the national school curriculum is supported through practical learning. NaDEET collaborates throughout the region to promote ESD. With an efficient budget and dedicated staff, NaDEET reaches over 25,000 Namibians annually.

NaDEET receives the Prize for its 'Centre on NamibRand'.

NaDEET Centre on NamibRand

Located deep in a Namib dune valley, the almost 100 per cent carbon-free NaDEET Centre on NamibRand is a unique institution providing first-class hands-on learning in a desert environment. Designed to maximize educational opportunities, and through rigorous self-evaluation, NaDEET Centre has closed the gap between ‘teaching’ and 'practicing' with respect to the environment. It offers hands-on immersion in ESD for schoolchildren, educators, parents as well as for entire community groups.

Programme participants learn first-hand about biodiversity, a sustainable lifestyle, and the way to achieve a healthy balance between the needs of humans and nature. NaDEET believes in the natural curiosity of every person and utilizes all aspects of the day to integrate sustainable living practices with learning. For example, participants may conduct light experiments and learn about absorption and reflection by observing the behaviour of the of Waxy Tok Tokkie beetle on a dune walk and then cook pizza for lunch in a solar oven.

The Centre was founded 15 years ago by a group of women motivated by the desire to share the magic of the Namib Desert with local schoolchildren and the need to establish an environmental education centre. To date, the Centre has hosted and trained over 13,000 children and adults.

Recommendation by the International Jury of the Prize:

"Behind this project lies a strong conception of the nature, dynamism, relevance and potential of ESD – even in challenging environments such as the Namib Desert presents. A passion and confidence is reflected in NaDEET’s approach and programmes, which are clearly effective in supporting individual and social change towards greater sustainability in outlook and practice amongst both students and teachers. Embracing environmental awareness, cultural change, sustainable living skills, empowerment and social transformation, this project presents a very coherent and exemplary model of what can be done. Achieving impressive impact – including a growing outreach programme – on a modest budget, we consider it inspirational and hope that its model will be emulated in other geographic and cultural contexts."

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Related Information: Laureates 2018