The Nyae Nyae Development Foundation of Namibia (NNDFN)
The mission of the NNDFN is to:
Support and empower the San people in Namibia to improve their quality of life economically and socially including land and human rights and the sustainable use of natural resources.
The core values and principle:
The core values of the NNDFN are to adhere to a facilitative approach, participatory decision making from a grass-roots level and to uphold the principles of skills transfer, transparency, honesty and sustainability.
The NNDFN objectives are to support the Nyae Nyae Conservancy in:
• Managing their organization, governance, finance and staff in a democratic, transparent, self-sufficient, efficient and effective way.
• Developing the capacity and knowledge to implement an integrated approach to sustainable management of natural resources in order to improve access to water, veld foods, crop production and wildlife management
• Identifying and implementing income generating and livelihoods activities on behalf of its members through tourism, trophy hunting, wildlife and veld food sales and garden developments
• Liaising with stakeholders and neighbouring conservancies to promote communication and maximize opportunities for improving livelihoods
• Raising awareness and prevention of HIV & AIDs through training and information provision throughout the community
Supporting the Nyae Nyae Conservancy
The Nyae Nyae Conservancy was the first communal conservancy gazetted in 1998. Covering 92 000 hectares, the conservancy is home to 2 000 Ju/'hoansi (San) people, the majority of whom are women and children.
This population's ancestors were once the sole occupants of much of southern Africa and the San in the Nyae Nyae Conservancy represent one of the few remaining indigenous populations in Africa. The San are also the most marginalized group in Namibia with the highest Human Poverty Indices and lowest Human Development Indices in the country (UNDP, Namibian Human Development Report 2000). The needs of the population are thus far reaching, from education, healthcare and access to water to livelihood opportunities and Land Rights protection.
Historically, the Ju/'hoansi were a skilled hunter-gatherer society that moved seasonally over vast distances between Botswana and Namibia. However, Nyae Nyae is roughly one-tenth of the 90 688 square kilometers that 1 200 Ju/'hoansi occupied as recently at 1950. This reduction in land base combined with loss of traditional hunter-gatherer skills in the younger generation of Ju/'hoansi, is increasingly forcing the Ju/'hoansi to adapt to western societal values and norms. The constraints faced include the remoteness of the area, access to water for humans, crop production and animal husbandry and the historical neglect of the rights and education of the San. Consequently unemployment is extremely high and malnutrition and periods of hunger are frequent for the population.
The Nyae Nyae Conservancy that was established in 1998 has the remit to sustainabily manage and utilize the natural resources in order to support the community. A significant income is now generated through trophy hunting and benefits have been distributed directly and indirectly through self-funding community rangers to manage wildlife and conservancy staff to implement projects and constitutional governance meetings.
Some Key Achievements to date:
• Facilitating the gazetting of the Nyae Nyae Conservancy in 1998
• Establishing a democratically elected NNC Management Committee Board and Rada (village representation).
• Creating 12 self-funded management and project jobs within the Nyae Nyae Conservancy
• Supporting the Nyae Nyae Conservancy staff and management in annual planning, budgeting and reporting
• Facilitating annual trophy hunting quotas and trophy hunting contracts to provide a continuous income, enabling the NNC to be one of the few self-funded conservancies in Namibia
• Supporting annual Benefit Distribution to NNC members
• Accessing funds for water development through maintenance and drilling of new game and village water points
• Accessing funds for a continuous programme of village water protection (from elephants) and garden development
• HIV & AIDS programme providing each village with a solar radio, developing local language HIV & AIDS radio programmes and training local peer educators
• Establishing Village School Programme where children are taught in a local language by local teachers (now run by Ministry of Education)
Supporting annual game counts, community ranger training, wildlife management and reintroductions and translocation of game species
Governance and implementing the constitution
Support is provided to the conservancy in organizing logistics and the running of the management Committee, Board and annual general meetings, elections and critical decision-making.
Support is provided through a Trust structure set up and managed by NNDFN, which enables the conservancy to define its priorities and budgets, but ensure complete financial record keeping, reconciliation and accountability.
Support is provided in managing staff and organizational structure and policy decisions. NNDF also liaises with stakeholders on behalf of the conservancy where necessary.
NNDFN liaises with the Legal Assistance Centre egarding human rights and employment issues to ensure that the rights of the community are upheld. Activities such as gaining birth certificates and IDs are also supported.
Natural Resource Management: Water Development
Water Development is ongoing in the area, including new borehole drilling and maintenance of existing boreholes in villages and game water points. Borehole equipment purchasing and pump maintenance is also funded and supported.
Natural Resource Management: Water Protection
Water infrastructure is often attacked by elephants in the dry season, leaving villages and game without access to water. Thus water point protection is ongoing throughout the conservancy to reduce elephant attacks and ensure reliable water sources for villagers and wildlife.
Natural Resource Management: Wildlife
Wildlife activities such as trophy hunting, game counts, ranger training, boma maintenance and game translocations are supported and partially funded. The income from trophy hunting enables the NNC themselves to pay ranger salaries and game counts.
Natural Resource Management: Veld Food
Valuable veld foods such as Devils Claw are available in Nyae Nyae to harvest and sell. However, sustainable harvesting techniques and reliable marketing processes have been implemented to ensure that veld foods are sustainably harvested and the community are paid fairly for their harvest.
Natural Resource Management: Garden
Agriculture was not previously part of the San culture, but due to the need for greater food security, gardens have been introduced. These are proving to be successful with villages being provided with the tools, seed and training to set up and maintain gardens. At the same time, as water protection is implicated to ensure there is a reliable source of water for crops. Gardens are not only providing food security, but also independence from food aid and empowerment for villagers to improve their own situation.
Tourism Development: Tourism Promotion
An updated conservancy tourism information booklet is being developed to assist the conservancy in their communication with tourists. New signs are also being installed to provide greater tourism information and ease of access to campsites and conservancy information centres.
HIV and AIDS
HIV & AIDS awareness raising is ongoing through training of local peer educators, radio programmes, supplying condoms to the conservation office, showing videos and information sessions at community conservancy Management Committee Board and Rada meetings, the aim being to limit the spread of HIV & AIDS amongst the Nyae Nyae community.