By Anna Ingwafa
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Small Graft Programme (SGP) held a stakeholder workshop at Ongwediva to launch a community-based adoption programme.
Besides launching the community-based adoption, the workshop also aimed at providing an update on SGP Namibia activities to grantees and stakeholders, and to provide a forum for grantees to share their project experiences and lessons learned with SGP and other grantees and partners.
Participants further sought to streamline enterprise development in SGP projects to ensure livelihood improvement and to sensitize local communities about climate change and the need to adapt.
Speaking at the workshop last week, UNDP Resident Representative Simon Nhongo said the SGP is important to Namibia because it is the key funding mechanism to address environmental concerns which are available exclusively to communities.
SGP Namibia has awarded 73 grants to Namibian community based organisations (CBOs) and (NGOs) and the overall grants awarded amount to over N$13 million.
Globally, Nhongo noted, SGP objectives are to develop community-level strategies and implement technologies that can reduce threat to the global environment, gather lessons from community-level experience and initiate sharing of successful community-level innovation among CBOs and NGOs, the host government, development aid agencies and global environment facilities (GEF).
Another aim is to promote understanding on conservation principles including the protection of the global environment by communities and other key stakeholders.
“SGP is premised on the principle that global environment problems can best be addressed if local people are involved in solving them. The SGP is convinced that with small amounts of funding, members of local communities can undertake their activities that will make a significant difference in their lives and their environments, ” said Nhongo.
He explained that since the inception, the SGP has confronted significant challenges in working with communities to reconcile global environmental concerns with local community needs, challenges that have been encountered in the different ways across the globe depending on specific economic, cultural, political and environmental contexts.
“This workshop will re-emphasise the important role the SGP plays in the lives of the communities throughout Namibia. It will provide a platform for old and new grantees to share their experiences and lessons learned.
“The focus on climate change for this workshop is strategic given the over-arching concern spawned by climate change. Its impacts are felt more at community level. Thus, I am gratified to note that a huge component of this workshop is devoted to discussing and learning about climate adaptation,” he concluded.
The SGP channels financial and technical support directly to non-governmental organisations and community based organisations for activities that conserve and restore the environment while enhancing people’s well-being and their livelihoods.
It supports activities in biodiversity conservation abatement of climate change, protection of international waters and prevention of land degradation and elimination of persistent organic pollutants, which are the focal concern of global environment facilities (GEF).
About 30 participants from various community based organisations are attending the workshop which ends on Friday.
On Wednesday, the group accompanied by the Governor of Oshana Clemens Kashuupulwa visited various SGP projects in the region. Governor Kashuupulwa planted four trees at the Eluwa Special School in Ongwediva on behalf of the Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism Leon Jooste.