Ondangwa-The Environmental Investment Fund (EIF) is conducting a series of consultative workshops around the country to gather stakeholder input to develop a proposal that will culminate in a project the EIF will submit to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to finance community-based tourism projects.
The consultations with various stakeholders aim to ensure the community also has a hand in crafting the project plan, so that they can subsequently take ownership of it. The envisaged project seeks to reduce the climate vulnerability of Namibian conservancies involved in the tourism sector and enable them to become more resilient to climate change.
The Community-Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) workshop for Omusati, Oshikoto, Ohangwena, and Oshana was held at Ondangwa on Monday.
“By identifying the vulnerabilities and threats they will be able to develop projects that will enable them to have successful tourism businesses, while acknowledging that the climate is changing,” said the head of communications at EIF, Lazarus Nafidi.
To date 65 community projects have benefited from EIF financial grants since its inception in 2012. IFA is now looking into financing more projects.
During the consultations, IFA was also mindful of gender issues, hence sought to put together a proposal that addresses gender inequalities and to ensure greater equality in the tourism sector.
Although the Fund has funded very successful projects, sustainability is a concern. In the proposal to be submitted to the GCF, IFA also wants to ensure that leadership discrepancies are ironed out to avoid projects failing due to traditional or political feuds in the communities.
“Sustainability is a challenge, but it also presents opportunities in terms of the way that we channel our benefits to our members. The project is a two- to three-year initiative. We are more interested in what happens after that. We are encouraged by projects where the gains of the project are included into the community,” Nafidi explained.
He said the consultations in various regions, which preceded the four northern regions, had been a success.