MALTAHOHE - In the middle of the NamibRand Reserve, the Namib Desert Environmental Education Trust (NaDEET) centre, a non-profit organisation, has for nearly 15 years now been teaching solar cooking and how to adopt a sustainable way of life.
In 2003, Viktoria Keding, the director and co-founder of NaDEET, was already teaching environment to Namibian kids for some time.
“But I wanted environment education to be truly environmental. Marc and Elinor Dürr, who were in the tourism business inside the NamibRand Reserve, came to me because they wanted Namibians to come here,” she explains.
And that’s how the idea of NaDEET came to life. A teaching centre in the middle of the desert, to welcome schools, groups and communities, to teach how to be environment friendly.
“It was difficult. At the time the idea of sustainability wasn’t popular, but we started with passion, and we built this place by hand,” said Keding.
Thanks to grants, private donations and a lot of personal involvement, the accommodation, solar panels and all the equipment needed turned the place into a real sustainable education centre, Keding explained.
Until 2010, NaDEET mainly welcomed pupils with school classes, before extending its activities to the larger community and a variety of programmes, to touch the lives of as many people as possible.
“We don’t want to leave anyone behind. That’s why we have an open-door policy: everyone gives according to what they can, so every group can come here,” said Keding.
For the interns working at the centre, this is also a chance to learn more about environmental issues and Namibian culture in general.
“I was interested in environment education and I found the idea of NaDEET very nice, and since I’m here I’ve met so many different people that I learned a lot about the country,” says Paula Riehm, a German intern working at the centre for over one month.
“I first heard about NaDEET was because it was in the middle of Africa’s First International Dark Sky Reserve, but I found the message so clear and solid that I wanted to work there,” added Esther Mas , another intern from Spain.
The programme runs from Monday to Friday. The participants have the chance to learn how to cook with a solar oven, and about energy, electricity, waste and how to respect the environment.
“A lot of parents tell us that after NaDEET their kids wanted to eat healthy, to save water, to save energy in general, and that’s what we want to accomplish,” said.
• Lucie Mouillaud is an intern from Toulouse in the south of France.
2018-08-16 09:11:08 9 months ago