Environmental Education and Information Services Unit
Background and Objectives
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Namibia Environmental Events Calendar 2010 – In Celebration of the International Year of
Background and Objectives
The Environmental Education and Information Services (EEIS) Unit envisions an environmentally aware and literate Namibian nation where environmental education forms an integral part of our every day lives. Through action orientated environmental education, our goal is to spread awareness, enhance knowledge and foster individual and collective participation and commitment. In this context, the vision of EEIS Unit is to bring environmental education to all Namibians through its programs, projects and services and its member network of organizations.
Being charged with the responsibility of providing environmental education and information services, the EEIS Unit of the Directorate of Environmental Affairs coordinates the implementation of environmental education (EE) and environmental information (EI) activities in Namibia.
Environmental education and information remains a critical tool in Namibia’s long journey of achieving its Vision to be a prosperous industrialized nation by 2030, developed by its own people, and enjoying peace, harmony and political stability. The EEIS Unit will therefore continue to be an important actor in the provision of environmental education and information services to facilitate the empowerment of Namibians from all sectors to become environmentally aware and literate, as per Article 95 of the Namibian Constitution and in conformity with national development goals and objectives.
Environmental education and information provision, including formal and informal education, public awareness and training are recognized as a process by which human beings and societies can reach their fullest potential. Education and Information are critical for promoting sustainable development and improving the capacity of people to address environment and development issues.
Formal and non-formal education is indispensible to changing people’s attitudes so that they have the capacity to assess and address their SD concerns. It is also critical for achieving environmental and ethical awareness, values and attitudes, skills and behavior consistent with SD and for effective public participation in decision-making processes. Thus, to be effective, EE and ESD should be integrated in all disciplines, and should employ formal and non-formal methods and effective means of communication.
· To actively encourage, support and implement environmental education and information programmes, projects and activities as a means of achieving and fulfilling Article 95 of the Namibian Constitution and the Environmental Management Act (Act 7 of 2007).
· In conformity with the national development goals and objectives, empower Namibians from all sectors, to critically evaluate environmental information and options, to make informed decisions, and to take actions that will contribute to the goal of environmental and economic sustainability.
To help create a prosperous society that is environmentally aware and literate, the EEIS is developing new initiatives in environmental education and information service provision, which include:
Environmental Educational Exhibitions
Exhibitions are effective mechanisms for environmental education. In an effort to raise awareness, understanding and popularization of environmental events, issues and concerns, exhibitions will be held at various times and locations through the year.
During 2010, the Unit’s focus will primarily be on improving the design and layout of Ministerial exhibitions and an information stand at various shows and events. A consultancy will be awarded to a competent firm for the design, development and delivery of the new stand. This will enhance the performance of the exhibitions team and the attractiveness of the MET’s presence at exhibitions. Amongst others, environmental education exhibitions will be held at the Windhoek Agricultural and Industrial Show, the Ongwediva Trade Fair, the Keetmanshoop Show, the Otjiwarongo Agricultural Show, the Okakarara Trade Show, the Erongo Trade Fair and the Katima Mulilo Trade Fair.
The Ministry submitted the following DVDs for showcasing at China World Expo for 2010: On the Move, a DVD on Namibia’s conservation game translocation programme, A Shared Future, a DVD on Practical Illustration of Access and Benefits Sharing in Namibia, The Namib Desert Coast, a DVD on Namibia’s Coastal Biodiversity and Conservation. These material will be vital in providing the necessary environmental information and promote environmental and biodiversity efforts in Namibia.
Environmental Information Services Center – The New Library
A clearinghouse for environmental information, the Environmental Information Services Centre aims to disseminate and distribute environmental information products to the general public, and, in particular the scientific community and students.
The 2010 project activities will entail the development of a guiding framework and the establishment of satellite resource centers in Ongwediva, Katima Mulilo and Keetmanshoop. There is also an idea to revamp the resource rooms at the two environmental education centres – Okatjikona and Namutoni EE centres. It is essential that these satellite resource centers be linked with the main MET Resource Center which will be housed at the new Trosky Building in Windhoek. Completion of the new MET building is planned for 2010, and thereafter the new modern and state-of the-art “Environmental Information Services Center” will be opened for general public.
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Environmental Information System (EIS)
The aim of the Environmental Information System is to provide integrated environmental information, including spatial data, in all formats to aid in environmental planning and decision making processes. All government, private and non-governmental organizations involved in the field of planning and environmental management will benefit from this service.
Additional objectives of the EIS are to provide stakeholders with user driven and accurate digital and graphical information to raise awareness about environmental resources. It is also important that schools are supplied with environmental information, which will complement the curriculum in the subjects such as geography, natural economy, development studies and environmental studies. Currently the EIS consist of Meta Databases, Atlas Map Server, MET Resource Center, and the Integrated State of the Environment Reports (iSoER).
Environmental Education (EE) Centers
To ensure continual appreciation and conservation of Namibia’s environment, the environmental education centers where established at Okajikona (at Waterberg Plateau Park) and Namutoni (in the Etosha National Park). The objective is to provide a more practical and “hands-on” approach to environmental education to learners, youth and other visitors outside a traditional classroom structure.
There are also a range of private and non-governmental environmental education centers in Namibia, such as Gobabeb Training and Research Centre, Namibia Desert Environmental Education Trust (NaDEET), and Cheetah Conservation Fund. The MET has the overall mandate to coordinate the implementation of environmental education and education for sustainable development programmes through these centres. Norms and Standards will have to be developed to regulate the development of future EE centers and as a tool to monitor and evaluate the operations and programmes in existing EE centres. The Ministry is investigating the possibility of expanding its network of environmental education centres, beginning with the first feasibility study for the development of the Klein Dobe Environmental Education Center.
Framework Policy and a System for Environmental Education
The development of an environmental education policy for Namibia has been a lengthy process involving many stakeholders from 1991 to 2004. The process was coordinated initially by the Ministry of Wildlife, Conservation and Tourism and has involved the formation of the Namibia Environmental Education Network (NEEN) as the organization task by the MET to promote and coordinate the EE policy making process.
In 1999 the Presidential Commission accepted the draft EE policy; and with the recent revitalization of NEEN and the involvement on the Ministry of Education, the policy is expected to be finalised in the near future. The policy will allow for the proper coordination of environmental education and education for sustainable development activities in Namibia. It will also provide for an appropriate organizational and institutional framework for the Namibia Environmental Education Network.
National Environmental Education Programme (NEEP)
This Ministry, in conjunction with the Namibia Environmental Education Network, will drive the National Environmental Education Programme (NEEP). Its purpose will be to support the collective implementation of EE and ESD activities and the sharing of resource materials across formal and informal spectrum of education provision. Joint government and donor funding will be sought to support the institutionalization of NEEN, build human and organizational capacity of environmental education centres, enhance environmental education programmes, and strengthen institutional collaboration and collective implementation of environmental education and education for sustainable development programmes.
A short consultancy is planned and the 2010 NEEN annual workshop will deliberate on its findings, leading the way for the finalization of the 5-year strategic programme (2011 to 2015) in line with the UN decade for education for sustainable development. The SADC Regional Environmental Education Programme will be consulted to appoint a consultant in this regard.
Popularization of the Environmental Management Act
Namibia has adopted a number of measures, including the development of policies, strategies and legislations that are aimed at reducing the vulnerability of natural systems and human population to environmental degradation and climate change, while at the same time, promoting equity and sustainable development.
One such legal framework geared towards mitigation of root causes of and impacts of environmental degradation and climate change is the Environmental Management Act, No 7 of 2007. The EEIS Unit seeks to popularize and promote widespread understanding and appreciation of environmental issues and concerns as provided for in the Act. It is important to mention that an annual popularization campaign in a form of a training of trainers’ workshop will be conducted with the involvement of the communities and participation of the Conservancy members.
Career Information Service (CIS)
The Career Information Service (CIS) will be hosted by the Resource Center in the new library and will support learners, students and the general public in making informed decisions about their career choices and employment plans. The project will include a booklet on environmental careers that is revised every three (3) years, and the production, display and distribution of career guidance posters and pamphlets.
The Ministry is seeking services of a competent firm to research, design and develop a colourful and state-of-the-art career guidance booklet for the environment and tourism sectors in Namibia. This booklet will provide an overview of career opportunities available within the environmental and tourism sector. The Ministry will also exhibit and display material at various career expo’s and regional career fairs throughout the year.
Environmental Clubs and Professional Associations
School-based Environmental Clubs play a significant role of disseminating environmental information to learners and thereby empowering them to participate effectively in environmental debates and decision-making.
The EEIS Unit will seek to establish a National School Environmental Club Network across Namibia. An online register will be developed through the MET website ensuring easier coordination of school-based environmental education and information services. This will facilitate possible support by this Ministry to enrich these essential activities at school and professional levels.
National Science, Engineering and Technology Week
National Science, Engineering and Technology Week, an initiative of the Directorate of Research, Science and Technology of the Ministry of Education is a country-wide celebration of science involving various stakeholders conducting science-based activities during the week. For now, the DRST has been running the NSET week activities in Katima Mulilo, Oshakati, and Windhoek.
The focus week for 2010 will run from 21 to 25 June 2010 in Windhoek, and 28 June to 02 July 2010 in Katima Mulilo and Oshakati. The EEIS Unit, through its environmental exhibitions team will participate in this important national event thereby raising awareness on important environmental issues.
Other projects, programmes and services that are part of the EEIS include:
• Environmental Events Calendars
• Environmental Educational Exhibitions at Shows and Trade Fairs
• Celebration of Environmental Days
• Namibia Environmental Education Network (NEEN)
• SADC Regional Environmental Education Programme (SADC REEP)
• Environmental Education Association of Southern Africa (EEASA)
• Environmental Monitoring and Indicators Network (EMIN)
• Southern African Association of Science and Technology Centers (SAASTEC)
Teaching Materials for Environmental Educators
Ø Online database of Environmental Posters and Pamphlets
Ø Online database of Environmental Video Material (DVD)
Ø Career Guide for the Environment and Tourism Sector
The ‘EcoSchools’ programme of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, in conjunction with the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa, is a tool used to encourage curriculum-based action for a healthy environment. It is an internationally recognized award scheme that accredits schools that make a commitment to continuously improve their schools environmental performance.
This program is of interest and utmost importance to the EEIS Unit, as it has led to a number of initiatives that respond to local environmental problems, including the removal of alien plants in school yards, planting of indigenous trees, improving the condition of toilets at schools, cleaning up the school grounds, planting of vegetable gardens, and the planting and propagation of medicinal plants.
With the establishment of this project in Namibia, the EEIS Unit will provide formal and informal support base for all flagship environmental champion schools in Namibia.
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Namibia Environmental Education Network (NEEN)
Various Namibian environmental education practitioners created the Namibia Environmental Education Network (NEEN) and educators in response to a desire to work collaboratively towards several nationally recognized objectives. The foundation for these efforts is deeply rooted in Article 95, of the Namibian Constitution, which establishes a framework for environmental protection and a wise resource management in Namibia.
The NEEN was constituted and registered as a not for profit organization in June 1995 with its own constitutional and active steering committee. Its membership comprises of government ministries, non-governmental organizations, community-based organizations, private sector and interested individuals.
The network has not been active for some time, and thus a consultative meeting was held in 2009 to revitalize and strategize on the options to strengthen the network. During this meeting, the EEIS Unit was nominated to become the secretariat and thus be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the network. A national workshop is envisaged for 2010 to further deliberate the institutionalization of NEEN and to build on the 2009 revitalization spirit.
For more information, visit: www.nnf.org.na/ENVDIR/pages/neen.htm
Environmental Monitoring and Indicators Network (EMIN)
Various stakeholders who were knowledgeable and enthusiastic about monitoring environmental indicators and data sharing in Namibia created the Environmental Monitoring and Indicators Network (EMIN). This network, hosted under the former INFOCOM project, was designed to review and prioritize the National-level Environmental Indicators and provide a mechanism for making environmental information available to all relevant stakeholders.
At the third Environmental Monitoring and Indicators Network (EMIN III) workshop held in August 2003, the network refined the National Core Environmental Indicators (NCEI), drafted the first Integrated State of the Environment Report (ISoER) and devise measures to see to it that a Spatial Data Access and Sharing Policy is formulated.
The ISoER is based on the National Core set of Environmental Indicators (NCEI) and is prepared by the EEIS Unit in collaboration with monitoring programmes in various institutions. The National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) committee formulates the spatial data access and sharing policy.
Network revitalization is sought for 2010 in which expectations are to strengthen and institutionalize EMIN. Funding for this important network and its sustainability programme has been provided for under the Country Pilot Partnership (CPP) for Integrated Sustainable Land Management in Namibia.
For more information, visit:
Environmental Monitoring and Indicators Network (EMIN)
SADC Regional Environmental Education Programme (SADC REEP)
In 1993, the SADC Environment and Land Management Sector (ELMS) initiated a programme to support environmental education processes in the southern African region. The SADC Regional Environmental Education Programme (SADC REEP) was formalized, and the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa was charged with its implementation.
The purpose of the SADC REEP is to enable environmental education practitioners in the SADC region to strengthen environmental education processes for equitable and sustainable environmental management choices. This will be achieved through enhanced and strengthened environmental education policy, networking, resource materials, training capacity, research and evaluation.
Each SADC country has a National Network Representative and Mr. Lesley Losper has been nominated through the Office of the Permanent Secretary (MET) as Namibia’s National Network Representative to the SADC REEP. Network Reps are expected to compile a detail country documents on the implementation of EE programs and to report that at annual Net Reps meetings.
The 2010 SADC NET Reps meeting is scheduled to take place at Copperbelt University, Zambia, on the 6th September – the day before the start of EEASA conference. This will enable National Net Reps to attend both the SADC REEP meeting and the EEASA conference.
For more information on this programme, visit: www.sadc-reep.org.za
Environmental Education Association of Southern Africa (EEASA)
The EEASA was established at an international conference held at Treverton College, South Africa in 1982. The Association has grown tremendously and now has almost 400 members including teachers, conservation officials, community and development workers, resource developers and researchers.
The ultimate role of EEASA is to support environmental education in southern Africa. It endeavors to achieve this by providing opportunities for the exchange of ideas and opinions on environmental education through its publications, the annual national conference and workshops as well as the activities of working groups in the regions.
The Ministry as well as both the Okatjikona and Namutoni Environmental Education centres is registered, active members to this association. The EEASA 2010 Annual Conference will be held in Zambia, from the 7th to the 10th of September 2010.
For more information, visit:
Southern African Association of Science and Technology Centers (SAASTEC)
Southern African Association of Science and Technology Centers (SAASTEC) is an association promoting the understanding and use of science and technology through interactive exhibits, displays and programmes. The first NEPAD Ministerial Meeting of Science and Technology held in November 2003 referred to a need to establish national and regional programmes to promote public understanding of science and technology. In line with this quest, SAASTEC was established to bring together science centre communities from all over the region.
The opportunity for the Okatjikona and Namutoni Environmental Education Centres to join this association is seen as an important milestone for environmental education in Namibia. While there is no question about the wealth of knowledge we can gather from this network, there is also a lot that Namibia can share with the rest of the region to further enhance the knowledge, information, materials and capacity of various environmental education centers.
MET Deskpad 2010 (Corrections)