Marguerite Engelbrecht from Jenman African Safaris shares her insight on one of Namibia's best-kept secrets.Read more...
Namibia - Giving something back
Giving something back
Visitors spending significant amounts of money on their trip to Namibia are usually, by their mere presence, making some financial contribution to development and conservation in Namibia. Should you wish to do more, there are numerous organisations working to improve the lot of Namibia’s most disadvantaged. Among the most worthwhile are the following, any of which would be delighted to suggest a worthwhile home for your donation – where every cent of your money will be put to good use, without causing any damage to the people that you are trying to help:
There are also countless individual projects worthy of support. Seek out your own, or consider the Bernhard Nordkamp Centre in Windhoek. Volunteering Namibia hasn’t been slow to take advantage of the upsurge in volunteering holidays. If working with animals appeals, consider contacting the Rare & Endangered Species Trust, who have a volunteer programme, or the charitable foundation N/a’an ku sê, who aim to rehabilitate orphaned and injured animals that are either released back into the wild or, when this isn’t possible, remain on their sanctuary for study and education. The foundation also works with San Bushmen, providing them with education and schooling, and operates both N/a’an ku sê and Kanaan lodges.
Meanwhile, there are many pitfalls for unwary volunteers, so be sure to do your homework – especially if you are trying to get involved with a local community. Some of the many issues to consider include:
• For every bona fide organisation, there will be others who are willing to take your cash without delivering on their side of the deal.
• Try to be realistic about what your skills are; they will probably define what you can usefully contribute. Namibian communities don’t need unskilled hobbyists; they need professionals. To teach skills properly takes years of volunteering, not weeks. So, for example, if you’re not a qualified teacher or builder in your home country, then don’t expect to be let loose to do any teaching or building in Namibia.
• Most volunteers will learn much more than the members of the communities that they come to ‘help’; be aware of this when you describe who is helping whom.
• Make sure that what you are doing isn’t effectively taking away a job from a local person. Time in Namibia will do you lots of good; make sure it’s not to the detriment of your hosts.