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Over 50% of Namibians unaware of climate change

A study on climate change awareness in Namibia has found that only 45% of the Namibian population has heard of climate change.

This was said by Vanessa Simataa at a three-day transdiscplinary worskhop on awareness creation of climate change impacts in Namibia held in Windhoek this week.

Simataa, who is involved in the implementation of the project, said the study delivering these findings was conducted in 2021 and 2022 in the Kavango East, Kunene, Omusati and Zambezi regions.

She said 18% of people interviewed spoke about increasing and devastating floods, while 39% mentioned intense drought in their areas.

Simataa said the study found a knowledge gap in promoting climate change information in the areas involved.

Those interviewed were small-scale farmers, and some called on the government to assist them in setting up small-scale gardens to make them resilient against the negative impacts of climate change, while others requested drought-relief food packages.

In addition to this, some called on the government to set up more green schemes in the country, as well as to provide climate change education.

The project, which was conceptualised by Sara Luettich and Janek Riedel (both PhD candidates at universities in Germany), is part of a research project titled ‘Social Climate Change Impacts and Sustainability Innovation in Southern Africa and Northern-South America’.

The workshop brought together stakeholders from ministries, the private sector, non-governmental organisations, schools and academia, international donors and local authorities in Namibia.

The project is being implemented by the Justus Liebig University and the Marburg University.

It is funded by Germany’s ministry of education and research in collaboration with the Namibia University of Science and Technology (Nust).

It is aimed at highlighting the social dimension of climate change in Namibia, communication of the social consequences of climate change as a challenge in research and development, as well at promoting bottom-up processes and initiatives.

Nust, through its department of land and spatial sciences, the Justus Liebig University, and the University of Marburg funded the workshop.

The workshop was aimed at engaging local and intenational stakeholders on how to promote climate change awareness campaigns for different settings in Namibia, to identify the land tenure and climate vulnerability relationship in Namibia, to strengthen local stakeholders for an exchange on climate change in urban and rural areas, climate change governance, and climate change research and methodologies in Namibia.

Under the project, there are seven sub-projects.

The sixth and seventh sub-projects are being implemented in Namibia, Malawi and South Africa and will be running for three years.