• July 21st, 2019
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Namibians address 36th EEASA conference in Livingstone

Absalom Shigwedha

LIVINGTSONE – Education for sustainable development should include transforming learning and training environments to contribute to the co-existence between human beings and endangered wildlife.

This was said by Professor Alex Kanyimba from the University of Namibia and Hiskia Tyappa – the Environmental Education Officer in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism at the 36th conference of the Environmental Education Association held in Livingstone (Zamibia) last week.

Kanyimba said Namibia has embarked upon efforts towards this as a result of the mounting incidents of human wildlife conflicts in the country.  Namibia, he said, is currently experiencing unprecedented levels of poaching and human wildlife conflicts. “For example, statistics released by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism shows injuries and fatalities resulting from wildlife conflicts in regions like Kavango, Zambezi and Erongo,” said Kanyimba.

He said it is against this background that Namibia is looking at ways how environmental education and education for sustainable development can be sewn to support the peaceful co-existence between people and wild animals.
Kanyimba and Tyappa made a joint presentation on ‘Transforming learning and training environments to support the peaceful co-existence with the endangered wildlife among the Namibian environmental education and education for sustainable development practitioners’ at the conference.

Tyappa said the concept of peaceful co-existence with endangered wildlife is used to refer to the interaction between human beings and wildlife in the natural environment which does not results in negative impacts for wildlife and their habits as well as for people and their resources.

This concept, he said, is rooted in the UNESCO Global Action Plan and rests on two principles and the first principle calls for practising sustainable development in the context of peaceful co-existence with endangered wildlife, which entails that learning environments such as eco-schools or green campuses should be created to allow educators and learners alike to integrate people’s co-existence principles in their daily practices.

Secondary, said Tyappa, the concept entails transforming learning and training environments’ concerns, not only managing wildlife sustainably, but also about chasing the ethos and governance structure of the whole institution to address peaceful co-existence with the endangered wildlife.

He said in Namibia tourism is a fast growing sector and it is wildlife which attracts a lot of tourists to the country.
“Tourists come for viewing wildlife and wildness areas for non-consumptive tourism rather than for hunting and angling (non-consumptive tourism),” he said, adding that, it is very important that learners are connected with wildlife scientists  as this is where wildlife specialists can work hand in hand with learners and teachers through series of sessions that include both classroom time and field works.

Learners, he said, should be taught about wildlife safety and wildlife tracking and are given the opportunity to develop uppers level research skills close to home or school while conservation programmes on arts for wildlife should also be established. “This is an approach where schools build education programmes focusing on art for wildlife. Art for wildlife builds learners’ natural interests in expressing themselves creatively and teaches the importance of both wildlife and art in their communities,” said Tyappa.

The 36th EEASA conference was held from the 17th – 21st of this month. Namibia’s Annetjie Siyaya from the Cheetah Conservation (CCF) made a presentation on ‘Enhancing change in the negative attitudes and misconceptions towards cheetahs and other predators through hands-on learning in Namibia.’

Siyaya told the conference that at the moment there is lot of negativities and misconceptions towards cheetahs and other predators, although human beings are the ones encroaching on their territories.

She said sometimes human beings use leather control of predators, adding that, CCF is striving to integrate how human beings can co-exists with cheetahs through education. “We are educating farmers on the importance of cheetahs in the ecosystems,” said Siyaya. She said CCF has come up with programmes, which entails providing scientific support on cheetahs, awareness raising on the importance of cheetahs  and conservation to ensure the survival of cheetahs.
According to her, there are about 7000 cheetahs in the world today and bout 1000 of these are in Namibia, making Namibia the cheetah capital of the world. Loss of habitat, poaching, loos of genetic variation, illegal taking for the pet trade, are but some of the major threats facing cheetahs in the world. 

Benson Muramba from Eduventures gave a presentation on ‘Experience –Learning-Cooperating: Innovation through practical experimental education – Implementing Learning for Sustainable Development Goals through Education for Sustainable Development’ while Maria Johanness (also from Eduventures) spoke on ‘Harnessing Information Communication Technology for enhancing  Education for Sustainable Development training institutions to strengthen community members in remote Community-Based Natural Resources Management areas.’

Namibian well-known comedian, Fernando Tafish, gave a very good enviro comedy which triggered laughter for almost every delegate.  EEASA is a voluntary membership based multi-sectoral organization of educators, researchers, policy-makers, students and practitioners. It was founded in September 1982.

New Era Reporter
2018-09-28 10:09:09 9 months ago

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