Following the introduction of the EU Climate Change Adaptation Project in Nyae Nyae Conservancy almost two years ago, the British High Commissioner, Jo Lomas, has expressed gratitude that the San-speaking people are well on track with implementation of the programme.
The Nyae Nyae Conservancy recently welcomed Lomas when she visited to view e solar water infrastructure projects that were implemented under the programme.
Like the rest of Namibia the conservancy battles with water shortages which severely hamper farming and the raising of livestock. This is a great challenge for people living in the area, as providing food and being self-sufficient are exceedingly difficult.
Lomas wanted to see the results and progress for herself, hence she travelled to the remote area of Namibia to see how the San people are implementing the changes, working the land, and whether they are dedicated to improving their own lives with the assistance of the EU.
Nyae Nyae Development Foundation coordinator Lara Diez said the results have been very encouraging and have certainly empowered people living in the conservancy.
Diez said the second year of implementation is almost finished with one more year to go.
The project is focused on improving food security through diversifying livelihoods in the community.
Lomas while on her visit said the EU Climate Change Adaptation Project is really transforming lives and communities, adding that the project enables and empowers people to do things for themselves.
According to her, in the end the project will only last three years and the San community will have to continue to implement and employ the knowledge imparted to them, whether it is small-scale gardening, livestock management or devil’s claw harvesting.
Lomas added: “I was very impressed by the healthy state of the gardens and the variety of fruit and vegetables being produced in these conditions. The ability to use solar powered pumps to water gardens and the skills that villagers have clearly acquired, have turned them into avid gardeners. It will definitely help improve the health and livelihoods of local people. It is great to see a project implemented and being successful in such a short space of time.”
Recently the devil’s claw harvesting season ended which saw the San communities generate close to N$1million in sales for approximately 450 harvesters directly in Nyae Nyae and N#a Jaqna conservancies, with both conservancies having reported a bumper harvesting season.
With a bumper harvest of devil’s claw, Diez said, ever-increasing artisanal craft sales as well as small-scale gardening and livestock management are taking off, adding that the community has become a hive of activity.
These activities, she explained, give the San people living in this remote, harsh area of Namibia a great deal of independence, making them self-reliant and self-sufficient by generating money through the sale of devil’s claw as well as crafts.
“Meaning that they are able to vastly improve their living conditions and especially their food security, which has been an issue due to the unforgiving climate and drought-like conditions of the region,” she noted.