NACSO organised a three-day workshop for The North Central Conservancy and Community Forest Regional Association, in Ondangwa from 19 to 21 June 2017. The aim of the workshop was to strengthen the regional conservancy association through advocacy and communication skills. Ronny Dempers facilitated the meeting, together with Teo Ndtinda from the Namibian Development Trust (member of NACSO), who translated into Oshiwambo for participants to have a better understanding of the various presentations.
Illegal sand mining is an issue in the North Central region and Samson Mulonga from WWF in Namibia joined the workshop to talk about exploration, mining and the environmental management plan. The association representatives were pleased to learn more about mining and would like to have a workshop with individuals involved in sand mining, councillors and different ministries, to raise awareness about the correct procedures of mining.
It was important to highlight the roles and responsibilities of the regional associations and for them to understand their constitutions in order for them to operate more efficiently. The role of regional associations in joint-ventures and tourism development was highlighted by Ingelore Katjingisiua, Assistant Business Advisor from WWF in Namibia.
Advocacy and lobbying is one of the vital concepts the regional association needs to grasp and Mr Dempers importance of the people’s voice. They were given the 10 commandments of advocacy, how to plan a campaign and build coalitions and networks.
Communication is one of the key elements for any organisation to function well. Steve Felton, NACOS’s Communication Manager, informed participants of the various forms media that they could use in an effective way. He stressed the importance of getting facts right and doing research before disseminating information. The association acknowledged their lack of good presentation skills. Mr Felton emphasized the importance of the voice of communities and said that they could get their stories in their local languages through the newspapers and radio stations.
During the workshop, the association was faced with a task of writing a letter in response to the proposal for the EU Scientific Review Group by Germany to introduce severe restrictions on the importation of hunting trophies of non-threatened CITES species into the European Union. Mr Felton facilitated the discussion on how the association members would like to respond and make their voices heard in the letter. The letter written with the assistance of Mr Felton was signed by the 10 representatives present at the workshop. It was sent to and received by the General Directorate of Quality and Environmental Assessment and Natural Environment in this Ministry, and they will send a corresponding reply.
The Conservancy and Community Forest Regional Association representatives were pleased with the workshop and have a better understanding of what to do and how to do it, which will help them move forward in representing different conservancies in the area.