Climate change has gained prominence globally and in Namibia because of its impacts on livelihoods, food security, economic growth and development. The Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) ‘Support to School Environmental Clubs Initiative’ is aimed at reaching young people who are the thoughtful citizens of the future capable of sparking positive change within Namibian society. The youth, especially those on the younger end of the spectrum, are often the most vulnerable to the deterioration that climate change can bring. On 20 May 2011, Minister of Environment and Tourism, Honourable Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, launched the ‘Support to School Environmental Clubs Initiative’ with financial and technical support from its Environmental Education Unit and Africa Adaptation Project Namibia (AAP NAM) with a contribution of N$50,000 to each of the ten environmental clubs. This first round of grants supports climate change adaptation and mitigation activities.
Honourbale Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah launched the programme saying, “Youth as a group and individuals need to consider themselves as part of the process to bring about the solution to the challenges of climate change. They should be given a sense of power. This empowerment, along with a passion for positive change and knowledge of their own social and environmental responsibility, translates into action.” Experience has taught us that, for anything to be sustained, the mobilization of the youth, as future leaders and future implementers is necessary. The Ministry of Environment and Tourism has developed and is implementing different programmes and activities to sensitise our young people on matters related to the environment in general and climate change in particular.
Through this support, school environmental clubs are revived and school learners, teachers and students are assisted to better understand environmental concepts and issues through the various awareness and action-oriented environmental activities. These schools have set an example of how effective environmental clubs are in implementing curriculum-based environmental education activities and contribute towards dealing with environmental issues in their schools and communities.