Donald Hamer Conservation Leadership Programme

The two year Donald Hamer Conservation Leadership Programme began in 2012 with the initiative to train young enthusiastic Namibian graduates to become future leaders in the Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) sector. Since the beginning of the programme, fourteen interns have been mentored, trained and found jobs in NGOs, the private sector, the MEFT, while others pursued further studies.

The programme is named in memory of the benefactor, Donald Hamer, via the Hamer Foundation. The Hamer funding for the programme comes through WWF Namibia.

In 2023: 

Josephine Amwaalwa is an ecologist at heart and she was born and raised in Windhoek. She earned her honours degree in Natural Resources Management from the Namibia University of Science and Technology. From an early age, her visits to her grandmother in the northern part of Namibia sparked a fascination and interest for the natural world and its critters. Josephine's passion lies in research and finding nature-based solutions to conservation issues. From the Donald Hamer Conservation Leadership Program internship, she expects to gain a deeper understanding of the practicalities of different solutions for improving human-wildlife co-existence. Her curiosity and love for nature are ultimately what fuels her enthusiasm to keep exploring different conservation perspectives.

Margret Hasheela comes from a small village in Oshana Region in Northern Namibia. She has an Honors Degree in Communications from the Namibia University of Science and Technology. Margret is passionate about conserving the environment in a sustainable manner for the benefit of current and future generations. She feels grounded in nature and looks forward to telling her future children about how the work she does helps conserve wildlife and wild places. Margret has a keen interest in Communication for Development and ensuring that the voices of the people living in communities are heard and that development efforts are community-centric. She is a 4th year Bachelor of Law (LLB) student with a particular interest in the role that the law and policy can play in ensuring that development efforts build on the national development agenda of inclusivity and shared prosperity. She looks forward to working alongside CBNRM experts and practitioners with a shared passion for community conservation.

In 2022:

Soini Shatilue: is from Oshana region in northern Namibia. She graduated from the University of Namibia (UNAM) with a degree in Tourism Management and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation at Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST). Through her studies she learnt that Tourism is multifaceted and therefore does not only focus on travelling for pleasure but also touches on other areas such as environmental protection and CBNRM. She is grateful for the opportunity to be part of the Conservation Leadership Programme, giving her an opportunity not only to enhance her interpersonal skills and grow at both the individual and professional level, but also assist communities to practice community-based tourism. She will use her knowledge and skills to contribute significantly to communities around Namibia in enhancing their way of living and protecting the environment as well as natural resources. Her goal is to encourage and raise awareness to others to engage in environmental activities.

Victoria Hailapa: was born and raised in Ohangwena Region. She holds a Bachelor in Regional and Rural Development Honours obtained from the Namibia University of Science and Technology. Having been exposed to both urban and rural environments, she enrolled for this field of study to contribute and elevate the development of rural areas in Namibia. With her field of study, she was exposed to different subjects such as natural resource management, GIS, spatial planning, economic development, and community work. She brings in experience in data collection, entry and management, research and report writing. Victoria believes that we only have one earth, and we should conserve our natural resources for ourselves and the future generations. She is excited for the Conservation Leadership Programme and believes it will contribute to her personal growth while making a meaningful impact in Namibia’s rural communities through the CBNRM programme. Within the two-year internship, she plans to work hard, network and learn as much as possible.

In 2021:

Albertina Fillipus is a detail-oriented young conservation enthusiast from Ohangwena Region. She holds a Bachelor and Honours Degrees in Natural Resources Management and also currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in the same field from the Namibia University of Science and Technology. She chose this field of study because of her love for exploring nature and desire to understanding the complexity of ecology, as well as contributing to the sustainability of our natural resources. Her prime goal is to become a reliable expert in the field of natural resources management. Albertina is passionate about learning, travelling, photographing landscapes, plants and animals. One of her goals is to inspire other young people and raise awareness about Namibia’s wildlife resources. She believes that CLP internship will expose her to a lucrative working environment that will help her put her academic knowledge to practical use and enrich her CBNRM knowledge. Her ability to seize every possible opportunity and gather hands-on experience in natural resources management reflects her commitment to conservation.

Sunnypo Imalwa is a fervent individual who holds an Honours Degree in Tourism Management (Heritage Studies) obtained from the University of Namibia.   She is currently studying for her Masters in Marketing at the Namibia University of Science and technology and volunteering with TOSCO (Tourism Supporting Conservation) Trust.  Sunnypo has a huge passion for travelling to places dominated by nature and is an avid animal lover.  She chose to further her studies in Marketing to integrate it with the field of tourism and to develop a broader knowledge horizon.  Her goals and aspirations are directed towards knowledge growth, travelling, and engaging in constant research of conservation especially in tourism.  She aspires to become a key role player in conservation and environmental awareness.  After completing the CLP program she hopes and strives to gain a greater insight into conservation; to create a network of contacts with different stakeholders; and to develop communication skills which she can match with her current qualification that she is pursuing.  

In 2020:

Sigrid Nyambe is a young and enthusiastic lady from the Zambezi region. She has an Honours Degree in Land Administration and a Bachelor’s Degree in Regional and Rural Development which she obtained from the Namibia University of Science and Technology. She is passionate about rural development with a key focus on people centered development, which allows communities to be able to define their own development by utilizing resources within their conservancies in a sustainable manner. During the internship period, Sigrid is keen on learning about the role of community tourism in promoting rural development and looks forward to expanding her network and applying her theoretical knowledge practically.

Nestor Shefika grew up in the southern part of Namibia but is originally from the north in Omusati Region. He studied Regional and Rural Development and completed his Honours Degree in 2017 at the Namibia University of Science and Technology. He chose to study this course because he believes that Namibia is one of the few countries in Africa with abundant natural resources that can be conserved and utilised to reduce poverty. He is passionate about environmental protection and natural resources management as they are one of the key components to achieve the sustainable development goals. His dream is to become a vanguard to nature conservation and sustainable development in Namibia and inspire his peers to embrace the same principles. He sees the CLP programme as an excellent platform to integrate his academic skills with practical work and believes that it will help him enhance his knowledge.

In 2019:

Milton Mushindi has an Honours Degree in Animal science which he obtained in 2018 from the University of Namibia. He is from the Kunene region and is passionate about animals, travelling and exploring the beautiful Namibia and interacting with its diverse ethnic groups. During the Donald Hamer Conservation Leadership Programme, he is keen on learning more about conservancies and working with rural communities in helping conserve wildlife.

Mighty Ugwanga comes from Omusati region - north central Namibia. She came to Windhoek in 2011 to study Tourism Management at the University of Namibia, with the hope of satisfying her childhood hobby of travelling. As she became acquainted with the subject she realised that tourism was more complex than just travelling and that it contributed to the economy and dealt with sustainability. As she joins the Donald Hammer Conservation Leadership Programme at NACSO, Mighty looks forward to learning more about the role of tourism in conservation. During the two-year internship, she would love to network and build strong relationships with leaders in the conservation programme, exchange knowledge on improving existing conservation practices in Namibia, and pass on what she has learnt to future generations.

In 2018:

Victoria Amon, a young enthusiastic lady joins the Donald Hamer Conservation Leadership Programme with a double major in Geography & Environmental Biology as well  as Sociology. She is a passionate environmentalist with a special interest in water and wildlife conservation.She is always eager to learn and believes the Donald Hamer Conservation Leadership Programme is the right programme to give her more exposure to conservation issues and gain invaluable skills towards her career development.

Rauha Iyambo joined the Donald Hamer Conservation Leardeship Programme with a bachelor's degree in Geo-Information Science from the University of Namibia. She works closely with the GIS manager, under the Natural Resources Working Group, while also taking part in other CBNRM retated activities. Rauha enjoys working at NACSO because its a multidisciplinary environment and she gets to learn about communal conservation in Namibia. She hopes to get additional skills and diversified knowledge in the field of conservation.

In 2017:

Matthew Walters joined the programme with a Bachelor’s Degree in Natural Resource Management from the Namibia University of Science and Technology and is currently pursuing his Masters degree in the same  field. He was born in Oranjemund and can speak both English and Afrikaans.  Ever since he was a young boy, he has always been passionate about the vast wilderness and the diversity of wildlife that characterises Namibia.  Subsequently, he decided to study Nature Conservation in order to further his understanding of the ecological and managerial aspects surrounding Namibia’s environment.  He has additionally worked in Etosha National Park as part of NUST’s Work Integrated Learning (WIL) and he also successfully completed a research project in both his WIL and in his Honour’s Degree.   His hope is that during the course of the programme he will prove himself as a valuable asset and that it will enable him to perform exceptionally towards conservation in the future through the acquiring of the knowledge and expertise provided by the programme.

Herman Aindongo, who comes from Omusati region in northern Namibia, has an honours degree in Natural Resources Management and Nature Conservation from the Namibia University of Science and Technology. Ever since childhood, Herman has been genuinely passionate about nature, especially the vast and untouched Namibian landscapes. It is his ambition to make use of the Donald Hamer Conservation Leadership Programmer as a platform to enhance his knowledge and skill capacity in the CBNRM realm and hopefully become one of the humble leaders in the success of conservation of Namibian natural resources and upliftment of the rural Namibian people.

NACSO is keen to take the interns under its wings, to groom and mentor them in becoming the future of CBNRM in Namibia.