The Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia (EIF), in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform (MAWLR), is implementing the Improving Rangeland and Ecosystem Management Practices of Smallholder Farmers Under Conditions of Climate Change in Sesfontein, Fransfontein and Warmquelle areas of the Republic of Namibia (IREMA Project).
The IREMA project is funded by the Green Climate Fund (GCF) (SAP001), and it aims to reduce the vulnerability of smallholder farmers in the Kunene region to the impacts of climate change.
Regarded as one of the driest and vulnerable regions in the country, the Kunene region is negatively impacted by the effects of climate risks and shocks, such as prolonged droughts, water scarcity, floods and heatwaves.
As part of its response to devastating negative impacts of climate change experienced in the region, the IREMA project is currently undertaking a disaster risk reduction assessment in the Kunene region to determine the nature and extent of such risk.
This is done by analysing and evaluating conditions of vulnerability that could potentially harm exposed people, livelihoods, property and the environment on which they depend.
This exercise will help in risk profiling and evaluation to identify cost-effective risk-reduction options in terms of the socio-economic concerns of the Kunene society and its capacity for risk reduction.
The project recently concluded a training of trainers’ (ToTs) workshop, held in Khorixas and Opuwo in August.
The aim of the training workshop was to enhance the ability of various sectoral institutions that are involved in community development work in the region to facilitate community training on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR to improve farmers’ resilience to climate risks, shocks and stresses at the local level.
The workshop was attended by 56 participants from various institutions, including the Kunene Regional Council, MAWLR, conservancies and farmers associations, as well as Agribank Namibia.
In his opening remarks of the training workshop, Opuwo Constituency Councillor Ueutjerevi Ngunaihe welcomed the initiative, emphasising the training came at the right time, as the region continues to experience persistent droughts and climate risks that need urgent attention and involvement of the community.
“This training will have a meaningful impact on the ground as the knowledge gained will be transferred to the local communities, who are mostly the ones negatively affected by disasters,” he said.
According to Amon Kapi, the chairperson of Ngatuwane Farmers Union in Kunene, this training was an eye-opener to them, as they now understand the different key components and strategies they can implement to mitigate risks and hazards in their respective areas.
In her remarks, Mirjam Kaholongo, project manager of IREMA Kunene, commended the participants for their active participation.
She pointed out: “The benchmark for reducing disaster risks in our communities lies in the knowledge of the hazards and the socio-economic, physical and environmental vulnerabilities as well as the ways in which the hazards and vulnerabilities are changing over time, followed by action the communities are taking on the basis of that knowledge”.