01.04.2019 - UNESCO Office in Harare

Southern Africa celebrates awarding of UNESCO-Japan ESD Prize to NaDEET

Cross section of delegates from the Southern Africa region at NaDEET

Delegates from nine southern African countries joined Namibia to celebrate the awarding of the 2018 UNESCO-Japan Prize on Education for Sustainable Development to the Namib Desert Environmental Education Trust (NaDEET) from 27-29 March 2018. The celebrations took place in Windhoek and the Namib Desert within the framework of a regional activity on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).

During the celebration in Windhoek, Mr Djaffar Moussa-Elkadhum, Head of the UNESCO Office in Windhoek and Representative to Namibia, said ESD is globally recognized as a key enabler to achieve all of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. He urged delegates to share good practices on ESD, learn from each and establish new partnerships for collaboration.

The government of Japan was represented at the celebrations by H.E. Ambassador Hideaki Harada, the Ambassador of Japan to Namibia, who congratulated the prize-winner and expressed Japan’s strong commitment to ESD and the Global Action Programme (GAP).

In her speech, Namibia’s Deputy Minister of Education, Arts and Culture of Namibia Honourable Ester Anna Nghipondoka expressed the pride and recognition that the winning of the ESD prize has brought to the country by putting Namibia and Southern Africa on the world map of ESD. She underscored the fact that transformation starts from within and applauded NaDEET’s efforts of ensuring that ESD is practiced in Namibian schools and that sustainability practices are upheld in the country.

NaDEET was one of the three winners of the 2018 UNESCO-Japan Prize on ESD and endowed with USD 50,000 in October 2018 for its “NaDEET Centre on NamibRand”. Located in a dune valley deep in the Namib Desert, the Centre’s goal is to offer hands-on immersion in ESD for schoolchildren, educators, parents as well as for entire community groups. Following a “learning by doing” approach, programmes participants found out first-hand about biodiversity, a sustainable lifestyle, and the way to achieve a healthy balance between the needs of humans and nature. Ms Viktoria Keding, co-founder and Director of NaDEET, said: “I think our key to success is that we actually practice what we teach.”

During a two-day site visit to the remote centre in the NamibRand Nature Reserve, a delegation of 20 government and NGO representatives from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe were able to witness and experience for themselves NaDEET’s experiential and transformative teaching methods. For example, they were invited to conduct field-work in the sand dunes, save water with water-less (dry) toilets and bucket showers, do their own cooking with solar energy, and learn about energy and water consumption through simple hands-on experiments. All participants commended the philosophy and teaching approach and methods of NaDEET and confirmed having been personally inspired by the experience.

A delegate from Zimbabwe said, “This has been an eye-opener to me; I did not know that living sustainably could be so comfortable. I will definitely introduce solar cooking in my project as well now”.

The celebration event and site visit were co-organized by the UNESCO Windhoek Office, the UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa and the Namibian National Commission for UNESCO, with support from UNESCO Headquarters. The aim was to share and raise the visibility of the good practices of NaDEET with the objective to scale up ESD action at the national and regional level. Participants from the region as well as the 2017 prize-winner from Zimbabwe were also able to share information on their projects and experiences.

The UNESCO-Japan Prize on ESD was established in 2014 to award outstanding efforts in the field of ESD. Funded by the government of Japan, it was awarded for the first time in 2015. The 2019 call for nominations is currently open for submissions until 30 April 2019.


For further information, please contact: p.awopegba(at)unesco.org (ROSA); e.mbamanovandu(at)unesco.org; (Windhoek Office) or m.tereick(at)unesco.org (UNESCO HQ).

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