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Namibia is a land of unique, startling beauty, home of one of the world's oldest deserts, an expansive stary night sky, a dramatic red Sand Sea with wind sculptured dunes meeting the coastline, and a rich variety of wildlife.

We believe in a step-by-step incremental process in developing relationships. After preliminary research, the EcoCatalyst Foundation recently visited five non-profit organizations in Namibia to learn more about their mission and goals, about them as people, and the communities they serve. The Foundation is now following up, working with these amazing non-profit and community-based organizations to explore opportunities where ECF can provide capacity building training, a cornerstone of ECF's approach, providing them with the tools they need so that they can grow their organizations. In addition, ECF may supply some direct funding, including $1,000, $5,000, and $10,000+ grants. These funds, in turn, may be leveraged by co-financing with other international donor organizations.


Namibia Development Trust

The Namibia Development Trust (NDT) is one of Namibia's oldest and key NGOs in Namibia. NDT envisages a society that is made up of self-reliant communities capable of self-management and able in determining their own destiny by mobilizing local and external resources and promoting participatory and more equitable development. NDT aims to develop organisational and institutional capacities of rural and urban marginalized communities through people centred development within an enabling environment that aims to ensure improved livelihoods and empower communities to act for so­cio-economic justice and social change.

NDT's core work is rural organizational capacity building for community based organisations, conservancies and cooperatives. NDT's commitment is towards the power of people to organize themselves for development. NDT's driving ideology is that if people are in control of their own socio-economic future, then development will always be people centered and be initiated from the bottom up.

ECF next step support goal:

  • Grant writing workshop
  • Strategic/business planning for cooperatives workshop
  • Ecotourism - community development workshop
  • NDT Board development workshop


    Desert Research Foundation of Namibia (DRFN)

    The Desert Research Foundation of Namibia (DRFN) is one of the oldest and most respected environmental non-profit organizations in Namibia. The staff of DRFN are passionate about maintaining a healthy natural environment that supports the livelihoods of the Namibian people. They also are passionate about inclusiveness, striving towards involvement and participation of all stakeholders to achieve enhanced environmental management. Lastly, they adhere to a policy and practice of zero tolerance of corruption. All three of these passions were evident during our visit with them.

    DRFN's focal areas are Energy, Land and Water and they have dynamic programs in all three areas. As is Centrul National de Mediu in Moldova (please see Moldova page) DRFN is a pioneer in Integrated Water Resource Management in Namibia. DRFN’s role as networker and facilitator plays a particularly important role in the water sector in Namibia. In addition, within their Land focal area, DRFN is very active in Water and Sanitation (WATAN).

    ECF next step support goal:

    • $2,500 for High School Water Quality Monitoring-STEM Learning kits
    • High School Water Quality Monitoring-STEM Learning workshop


      Giraffe Conservation Foundation

      The total number of giraffes in Africa was estimated by IUCN in 1999 to exceed 140,000, (of which 40% were in or around protected areas and private lands) and such numbers were thought capable of being maintained were they adequately protected. Current estimates by the GCF have the population at less than 80,000 individuals across all (sub)species. This is a considerable drop in the last decade and shows that the plight of giraffe is in real danger. With the exception of Angolan, Cape and West African giraffe, all other subspecies are either decreasing and/or unstable.Poaching, human population growth, habitat loss, habitat fragmentation and habitat degradation continue to impact on the giraffe’s distribution across Africa.

      The vision of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, led by Dr. Julian Fennessy, is that of a sustainable future where all giraffe populations and (sub)species are protected and secure in the wild. GCF is based in Namibia but has a pan-African focus, and is active in 6 countries. Some of the goals of GCF include identifying key threats to giraffe and innovative ways to mitigate these, increasing awareness about the plight of giraffe, promote and support giraffe conservation initiatives and work collaboratively with local communities to develop a sustainable future for both people and wildlife, secure viable and protect existing habitat for giraffe and other wildlife, and develop a world class network of individuals and organisations dedicated to securing the future of giraffe.

      Our visit with Julian was fascinating and informative. He also shared with us a program that aims to promote environmental learning among youth in primary and secondary. It seeks to implement a dedicated environmental education program specifically for schools in Windhoek where it allows learners an opportunity to learn about their own environment and understand the concepts of sustainable living.and ECF looks forward to working with GCF to explore this and other opportunities where we can support the mission of this excellent organization.

      ECF next step support goal:

      • Environmental Education and STEM program development workshop
      • Community engagement workshop


      Gobabeb Desert Research and Training Program

      The Gobabeb Research and Training Centre ( is an internationally recognized center for dryland training and research. It is located in Namibia in the Central Namib Desert, 120 km by road south-east of Walvis Bay.

      Gobabeb was founded by the Transvaal Museum (South Africa) in 1962 with Austrian entomologist, Dr Charles Koch, appointed as the founding Director. Since 1998 Gobabeb has operated as a joint venture between the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) and the Desert Research Foundation of Namibia (DRFN). Gobabeb conducts and supports research in a wide variety of fields ranging from archaeology and anthropology to climate and arid zone ecology to geology, geomorphology and desert conservation and restoration. Further, it tests, demonstrates and promotes Appropriate Technologies. By conducting training courses, Gobabeb aims to improve the public awareness and knowledge of desert ecology and broader environmental issues. The station consists of permanent researchers, students, and interns, as well as short-term visitors such as international researchers, school and university groups, and tourists. Gobabeb also hosts film crews, journalists and artists.

      One of the reasons that Gobabeb's location was originally chosen was because it is a unique site where the three ecosystems of the red Namib Sand Sea desert; the ephemeral Kuiseb River shaded by deep rooted trees; and the grey-white gravel plain desert meet. It is a strikingly beautiful location (please see our What We Do..For Donors page). It is a wonderful place to learn about the desert, while appreciating the significant contribution of the Centre to global scientific understanding of arid lands. ECF hopes to explore opportunities with Gobabeb to support their environmental education programs, and well as to foster linkages with scientific bodies that will grow the research agenda of the Centre and develop capacity of emerging Namibian scientists.

      ECF next step support goal:

      • Strategic/business planning workshop
      • Strategic partnership development workshop

        Groot Aub Community Development Organization

        Any person in Namibia may make a ‘claim’ in one of the many areas rich in minerals and gemstones, allowing them to prospect independently. These individuals are known as small scale miners. Mineral specimens and gemstones form 80% of the small scale mining in Namibia. Semi-precious stones are abundant in the Erongo region and the Tourmaline found here is renowned for its superior quality. Garnet, Aquamarine, Amethyst, Topaz and Quartz are also mined in Erongo. Approximately 3-5,000 men and women are involved in small scale mining.

        The program, led by Elliott at the Groot Aub Community Development Organization, is in the Spitzkoppe area in the Erongo region. Small scale mining creates employment opportunities and encourages entrepreneurship. However it also leads to unsafe mining practices, and creates health and safety hazards for the miners. The program aims to educate small miners in the region on environment and natural resource management. The program will educate small scale miners on environmental degradation, sustainable utilization of natural resources as well as to safeguard the process of sustainable mining and management process of the valuable natural resources.

        ECF next step support goal:

        • Strategic/business planning workshop
        • Grant writing workshop

              Spitzkopfe Zebra Craft and Herbarium

              The Spitzkopfe is a group of bald peaks located between Usakos and Swakopmund in the Namib desert. The granite is more than 700 million years old and the highest outcrop (Namibia's "Little Matterhorn") rises about 1,784 metres (5,853 ft) above sea level. The peaks stand out dramatically from the flat surrounding plains and the surrounding rock formations (see our Where We Work web page photo) seem to be from another world or time, and shelter pre-historic bushman cave paintings.

              Against this backdrop is the Spitskopfe Zebra Craft and Herbarium, the vision of Helmut, a dynamic eco-entrepreneur who has literally built this developing center stone by stone. The Center's aim is to create the needed awareness about local vegetation such as trees, shrubs and herbs, and to link it with tourism enhancement in the desert areas of Namibia. It will also be linked to an artist craft outlet where plants specimen in different ways will be collected and stored or preserved. The Center is situated in the Spitskoppe village which is also within a recognized conservancy near Usakos in the Erongo region.

              ECF next step support goal:

              • Strategic/business planning workshop
              • Grant writing workshop

              ECF is truly inspired by the local environmental non-profit organizations we work with, and we also feel privileged to work to support these types of organizations in South Africa.

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