GREEN FUTURES: CREATING SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES
The Wolwedans Foundation Trust was established in June 2010 by NamibRand Safaris (Pty) Ltd. to handle its corporate social responsibility commitments (“doing well by doing good”). The Foundation is run by a Board of Trustees who oversee all project developments and administration.
NamibRand Safaris operates the Wolwedans Collection in the heart of NamibRand Nature Reserve, situated 180 km from Maltahöhe. The closest ‘community’ or village to the commercial enterprise. The Trust has identified this community as a primary benefactor of a selection of revitalisation projects tailored to adress its most critical needs whilst introducing new opportunities for employment and training that compliment the skills level and capabilities of the people who live there. And, as it stands, unemployment is by far the most pressing of its challenges. After years of investigation and community engagement that has involved community outreach programs, Recycle Namibia Forum interventions as well as regular consultation with the community leaders, education providers and the town council, we have first-hand knowledge of the existence and impact of unemployment on the communities people and economy.
With an overall population of approximately 6000 people, only an estimated 500 people have meaningful employment. Demographically – this communities population comprises largely previously disadvantaged men and women who qualify automatically for affirmative action interventions. Unfortunately, the lack of viable industry ceates an obvious gap in procuring opportunities. To this end – we have chosen to be involved in the solution and start at the beginning, where jobs need to be created and skills and knowledge transferred.
We have started by investing in a property in the small town with an adjacent plot in order to create a laundry facility on site, we have developed a framework for sustainable community revitalisation. This proposal aims to outline our GREEN FUTURES vision for a large-scale laundry project that services the tourism businesses of the area, including our own, stimulates local business to business trade and servicing, whilst address training through skills transfer. Herein, we have described the sustainability of this intervention in order to present a viable funding proposal for this project.
This proposal should be viewed as a pilot project that is designed as a blueprint for creating sustainable communities throughout the country and indeed the continent. GREEN FUTURES speaks to the ability of easily accessible solutions (essentially, low hanging fruit) to specific or common challenges faced by people in margenalised communities. In order to create long-lasting and sustainable solutions, community revitalisation projects should aim at being grass-roots, so as not to exclude unskilled individuals instead it should promote skills development and sharing whilst actively creating meaningful employment that is relevant to the communities specific needs and those of its people and socio-economic status in order to remain relevant and therefore viable. Maltahöhe as a pilot project will show that the key project activities outlined in this proposal address interventions that make sense and that speak to the needs of the town and its region, in order to remain successful and grow whilst remaining commercially viable.
PROJECT DEVELOPMENT – A GREEN FUTURES Blueprint for communities across Namibia
The possibility of expanding this project to include high demand SME enterprises from specific regions is evident and should be seen as a possible ‘second chapter’ to this community revitalisation model and could be tailored to include brick making, garment making or recycling activities that generate adequate incomes whilst providing affordable products and services to the community and its surrounding areas. Maltahöhe would prove that through simplified and accessible activities, change can begin, lives improved and improved well-being sustained. To further compliment potential duplication of this model, The Wolwedans Foundation Trust is running successful vocational training at two VTC’s, which shows our ability and experience in providing good quality training – which is a vital part of the success of any community based project, intending to leave a lasting legacy.