Chief Tsamkxao ≠Oma


A voice for the Ju/’hoansi


Life changing water developments


Improving food security


Livestock support


Harvesting Devils claw

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Supporting Wildlife Conservation in Nyae Nyae Conservancy


The Nyae Nyae Conservancy and Community Forest (NNCCF) was one of the first registered conservancies in Namibia and is considered as an important area for Wildlife Conservation in southern Africa. The monitoring of wildlife is the responsibility of the conservancies under the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT), and in Nyae Nyae this is done through daily patrols, and annual...

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Urgent global campaign calling for immediate moratorium on oil and gas drilling inOkavango River Basin


Civil Society Organisations in Namibia, together with regional and international organisations, coalitions and technical experts, are deeply concerned about oil and gas exploratory drilling activities in the Kavango Basin. Most of them have not been consulted or given any evidence about how the exploration activities and possible production of oil and gas will affect the lives, livelihoods and human rights of people in Kavango East and West regions, as well...

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Devil’s Claw Harvesting essential for Wildlife Conservation


Devil’s Claw (harpagophytum sp) is a protected plant in Namibia and permits are required to harvest and sell it.  Extracts from the roots of the plant act as an anti-inflammatory and are widely used in Europe and elsewhere in the treatment of rheumatism and arthritis.  Namibia is the largest supplier of devil’s claw in the world. In both the Nyae Nyae...

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Traditional craft-making an essential financial lifeline for San women


Traditional arts and crafts are favourites as souvenirs with tourists when they come to Namibia. One of the key sources of cash for many San Women in Nyae Nyae Conservancy is traditional craft making. During the lockdown there have been precious few tourists, certainly no international guests. While this sector has suffered along with all sectors linked to tourism, Nyae Nyae...

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Counting game - Essential activities continue in Nyae Nyae Conservancy


With the support of MEFT, the Nyae Nyae Conservancy undertook its annual game count in September, 2020. This involved wildlife rangers and volunteers observing the 18 water points around the Nyae Nyae Conservancy. They do this for 48 hours counting the different species of game coming to drink at each water point.

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IUCN Save our Species fund supports San conservancies through difficult times

San-devils-claw-female-Sept-2020 A female Devil’s Claw harvester in Nyae Nyae - photo credit: David Cole

The impact of COVID 19 on the economy of Namibia is considerable. However, the impact on many poor rural communities, in particular communal conservancies in 2020, could be even greater. Especially in the Nyae Nyae and N#a Jaqna conservancies where the San communities reside. These communities are almost completely dependent on tourism and Trophy hunting for their income. This income generated...

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Nyae Nyae Conservancy continues to manage fire to protect their precious resources

Fire-Manage-2020 At present approximately 10-20% of the conservancy area burns each year

It has been a devastating year for conservancies that are largely been dependent on tourism and Trophy Hunting for the income. Global travel bans and quarantines have meant that conservancies are struggling to cover their costs and maintain their activities. Add the threat of wild and veld-fires to the mix and 2020 could turn into a dramatic year for the conservancies....

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EU and MEFT support for Na Jaqna AGM critical during this difficult time

MEFT0_20200806-131031_1 Annual General Meeting in Covid-19 times

The EU through their governance support and general support from MEFT results in a successful AGM in N≠a Jaqna Conservancy The N≠a Jaqna Annual General Meeting was held for most of last week in Mkata, with financial support from the EU to improve governance and community participation and the MEFT to ensure that conservancy operations continue during these difficult times when...

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Cofeed Namibia and donors make a significant difference in Nyae Nyae and N≠a Jaqna Conservancies

CoFeed-Namibia The Nyae Nyae Chairperson, in blue, explains where the donations come from

Through the work of CoFeed Namibia and their generous donors, every village in Nyae Nyae and N≠a Jaqna Conservancy have received a box of clothes and another box of food.  A vast amount of clothes and food have been donated by Woolworths, Cymot, RMB Namibia through the Hope initiative of FirstRand Namibia, Bokomo Namibia and private individuals. These donations are being...

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N≠a Jaqna Conservancy’s Community Consultation

NJC-community-engagement N≠a Jaqna Conservancy Chairperson, Sara Zungu and team, consulting the community at Grashoek

In March 2020, a European Union funded conservancy governance project was started in the San run N≠a Jaqna Conservancy. As the conservancy were about to start visiting villages and consulting with their members as part of the project, the  COVID-19 nationwide shut-down happened and the village meetings were put on hold. However, earlier this month as lock down restrictions began to...

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San community uses conservancy earnings to pay for water infrastructure

Women and children walking for up to 5km a day to access water in 2019 Women and children walking for up to 5km a day to access water in 2019

Throughout Namibia, water is a scarce commodity, if the water infrastructure is broken, this adds an extra level of challenges. The San in N≠a Jaqna Conservancy have suffered as water infrastructure has been broken and remained in disrepair for year after year. Villagers have had to walk for kilometres on a daily basis to meet their basic water needs. The lack...

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San community’s farming bears fruit in the form of bumper watermelon crop

The gardening project has come to fruition in the Nyae Nyae Conservancy The gardening project has come to fruition in the Nyae Nyae Conservancy

The San  in Nyae Nyae Conservancy have become increasingly reliant on farming. Climate change is having a huge impact on the San communities traditional way of living and food security. The ‘home gardening’ project supported by the Nyae Nyae Development Fund Namibia (NNDFN) and its donors is bearing fruit after a good rainy season. The recent rains have ensured that the...

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N≠a Jaqna Conservancy’s proactive wildlife management

N≠a Jaqna Conservancy, the biggest conservancy in Namibia at over 9,000km², increases its game guard numbers to better monitor and reduce wildlife crime in the area. As the custodians of local wildlife, N≠a Jaqna takes its job very seriously and believes that it creates a win-win situation by creating employment for the local community and at the same time increasing vigilance over its wildlife.

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Water, essential in the conservancies

We all know ‘Water is Life,’ especially in the dry climate where the Nyae Nyae Conservancy is located. Rian Brandt has been engaged over the last few years to ensure that the water infrastructure for conservancy villages, their schools, gardens and livestock is reliable. Currently funded by the Environmental Investment Fund, Rian will spend more than 60 days in the Conservancy...

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Launch of Grant Projects to enhance governance of the Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) sector

Launching of 2 EU grants Launching of 2 EU grants

The European Union (EU) together with Namibia Nature Foundation, Nyae Nyae Development Foundation of Namibia and Namibia Development Trust is pleased to announce the formal launching of 2 EU grants that will take place on 13 March, 10h00 at the Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organizations (Nacso) Board Room, 19 Lossen Street, Windhoek. The EU has recently approved 2 grants to...

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Illegal grazing shortens devil's claw crops


From "Onwettige weiding kortwiek duiwelsklou-oeste" - article in the Republikein from 24 Feb 2020.  The illegal grazing of cattle and the erection of fences in the Tsumkwe area has hampered the San communities' devil's claw crops. This is what Chief Tsamkxao Bobo # oma of the Nyae Nyae Municipal Conservation Area and Community Forest says. He told Republican that it is not only...

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Nyae Nyae Conservancy’s proactive Community Fire Management

Fire-Management-Front-Cover-2 Community Fire Management

Over the last five years the Nyae Nyae Conservancy and Community Forest has actively managed and recorded fire in their area. They took this step as a result of discovering that fire was causing more damage to the environment than over-grazing. Fire was found to be having a major impact and in 2010 50% on the  8,992km² area was devastated and burnt. They realised it wasn’t a once-off, but part of a worrying trend threatening livelihoods, lives and wildlife.

The current fires in Australia are a stark reminder of the damage that fires can cause and the danger of uncontrolled hot fires. As climate change takes a hold across the globe, events that used to be rare, now become an annual or seasonal occurrence.

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EIF funds start making a difference for SAN communities

Wall being built to safeguard water points from elephants Wall being built to safeguard water points from elephants

As funds start to flow from the Green Climate Fund (GCF)/Environmental Investment Fund (EIF)project, the SAN community in Nyae Nyae have used the funds to protect their village water points from elephants. The much needed funds that were awarded by GCF/EIF are immediately benefitting the community.

The San community in Nyae Nyae have relatively little Human Wildlife conflict in the area, even though there are an estimated 1000-1500 elephants in the area. There’s little conflict as innovative  arrangement between the conservancy and Trophy Hunters have ensured there are more than  over 18 functioning game water points in the area. Despite this, the drought that has impacted the whole of Namibia has obviously put greater strain on wildlife looking for water. This search for water has meant that elephants are more likely to stray into the Conservancy area inhabited by people. This means there’s a greater likelihood of village water points being attacked and damaged. The protection of the water points will mean that the community can hopefully avoid distress in the village and also the inevitable failure of gardens and other projects dependent on water.

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Illegal grazing and fencing impacting on san livelihood opportunities

Cow grazing Cow grazing

The harvesting and sale of Devil’s Claw in both the Nyae Nyae Conservancy & Community Forest and the N#a Jaqna Conservancy & Community Forest offer on a yearly basis a substantial supplementary income for their members who undertake this activity.  However, the increase in illegal grazing in the Nyae Nyae Conservancy and Community Forest as well as the illegal erection of fences in the N#a Jaqna Conservancy and Community forest (NJCCF) now threaten the income generating opportunities.

With the 2019 Devil’s Claw harvesting now over, harvesters from both conservancies & community forests supplied just over 20 tons of dried Devil’s Claw. Thereby generating a direct income of just over N$ 1 million for about 500 harvesters.  This income is substantial considering that in many cases this is one of the only potential sources of income for their members and especially bearing in mind the extreme drought conditions of 2019.

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Nyae Nyae Chief in London

Representatives from different tribes attending the conference Representatives from different tribes attending the conference

In September, Chief Tsamkxao ≠Oma of the Ju/’hoansi San Traditional Authority from Nyae Nyae, visited London to participate in the Flourishing Diversity Summit. Along with representatives from indigenous communities around the world including the Maori from New Zealand, the Sioux from America, Okiek from Kenya, to name a few. The San Chief told the story of his life and the changes he has  been witness to over the last 70-80 years.

The summit brought together indigenous leaders who shared their history and their approaches to environmental conservation. Conservation and the changes to the environment around the world was a major topic, especially as the indigenous see the impact that climate change is having globally every day in their communities.

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N≠a Jaqna Conservancy Making a Difference by investing over N$250,000 on water infrastructure

san-kids Children of the San benefiting from closer water points

The N≠a Jaqna Conservancy recently held their most successful Annual General Meeting to date. At the meeting held in Windhoek, the community showed the results of their commitment to resolving their own problems, rather than waiting for others to help.

The community decided to invest over N$250,000 of their own funds rectifying long-term water problems that the authorities have failed to address for many years. Children, have for the last five years been forced to walk several kilometres to functioning water points to collect water on a daily basis, this was an untenable situation. This has put added pressure on the few village water points still functioning, distracted and kept children from school and made daily living an ongoing challenge in the area.

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The San know use trees are the way forward to combat climate change and improve food security


Even in the dry and arid regions of Namibia, trees can survive; provide shade and improved food security for people. The San in the Nyae Nyae Conservancy have found that trees are more resilient to drought than other plants and once established are very easily maintained.

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EIF awards grant for long-term water and fire management in the Nyae Nyae Conservancy


The Environmental Investment Fund (EIF) of Namibia has made more than N$1,9 million available to the Nyae Nyae Conservancy to help manage fire and water within the conservancy. Thereby protecting and safeguarding the livelihoods of the residents of this Conservancy in the Otjozondjupa region. This grant and the projects which it will facilitate are part of a bigger scheme to create climate resilient livelihoods through Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBRM) in Namibia.

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Nyae Nyae Conservancy Benefit Distribution: The Community Choose Cash


Benefit distribution in the Communal Conservancies comes in different form, but often in cash. There has been criticism of this, and of the Namibian’s communal conservancies in general, but the Nyae Nyae Conservancy has benefitted significantly from the distribution of cash. People in this day and age simply need cash to pay for certain goods and services, the people in the conservancy are no different.

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N≠a Jaqna Conservancy Benefit Distribution: Making a difference to the local children


There’s has been much criticism of Namibian’s communal conservancies recently and their lack of ability to deliver benefits to our community. However, in N≠a Jaqna Conservancy, the largest conservancy in Namibia and one of only 2 that are San run they take benefit distribution very seriously. This month food benefit has been distributed to schools throughout the area. During times of food-insecurity and drought any form of assistance is welcome, especially for the most vulnerable, the children of the conservancy. Food supplies, including staples worth N$96,000 have been distributed to 16 schools in the area during March 2019.

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Long-term fire management in the Nyae Nyae Conservancy


Namibia is a dry country, we all know that. Its people have manged to live, survive and thrive here for thousands of years. Just look at the indigenous communities like the San. The San in Nyae Nyae Conservancy who live and care for the areas where they live noticed a trend. A dangerous trend, one where more area was damaged by fire each year. In the Nyae Nyae Conservancy, in 2010 over 50% of the conservancy area burned and despite some fluctuations there was a continuous upward trend which if not addressed in one way or another would seriously impact and threaten the survival of the community as well as fauna and flora in the area.

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Water, Land and a Voice - Brochure 2018


Water, Land and a Voice reflects on the support provided by the Nyae Nyae Development Foundation of Namibia (NNDFN) to the Ju/’hoan San in north-eastern Namibia over the last 36 years. The aim is to highlight positive, constructive areas of development and lessons learned along the way. This is not an academic publication or detailed project review, rather an attempt to...

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Voice of the San being ignored

Sarah Zungu  N≠a Jaqna Conservancy Chairperson Sarah Zungu N≠a Jaqna Conservancy Chairperson

"... As the Chairperson of the N≠a Jaqna Conservancy I have been shocked to be presented with a map of proposed exclusive livestock farms for approval and signing-off after many years of vocal and documented objections to the proposal. The consultant, George Eiseb of Namibia Premier Solutions, funded by the European Union and KFW, presented the map for sign off in...

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EU Ambassador visits several projects sites in the Nyae Nyae Conservancy area

The EU team with the NNDFN team and Makuri villagers The EU team with the NNDFN team and Makuri villagers

 Following the announcement marking the closure of the EU Climate Change Grant to the Nyae Nyae Development Foundation of Namibia, the EU Ambassador to Namibia Jana Hybaskova visited several projects sites in the Nyae Nyae Conservancy area. This was an opportunity to see what had effectively been achieved on the ground during the project’s duration. The Ambassador revisited two villages that...

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San working towards greater food security

Poster campaign funded by the EU and Finnish Embassy. Poster campaign funded by the EU and Finnish Embassy.

Food security is essential for everyone. Normally, we simply go to the shop and buy what we need. However, for the San community living in the Nyae Nyae Conservancy as well as in other conservancies, it’s not that simple. To make themselves more self-sufficient they have been pioneering new farming techniques that were unknown to them up to now. Over the...

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Nyae Nyae Conservancy (NNC) and Community Forest distributed more N$2.5 million in cash benefits to its 1493 San members in November & December 2017

Community members receiving their cash benefits Community members receiving their cash benefits

The Nyae Nyae Conservancy (NNC) and Community Forest recently held their Annual General Meeting (AGM) in September 2017 where is provisions where made to distribute N$1700 in cash each adult San- member. November and December 2017 saw N$2,538,100, being distributed to 1493 individual members in 36 villages around the conservancy. In addition to this huge cash injection the community will receive...

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Bumper devil’s claw harvest in the Nyae Nyae and N#a Jaqna Conservancies

Devil’s claw harvest (photo by Dave Cole for NNDFN) Devil’s claw harvest (photo by Dave Cole for NNDFN)

The harvesting and sale of Devil’s Claw from the Nyae Nyae and N#a Jaqna conservancies made a significant contribution to the income of harvesters in 2017. The Devil’s Claw plants reacted positively to the good rains that were experienced in the area in early 2017. The rotational harvesting system and sustainable harvesting methods introduced and diligently followed by harvesters allows them...

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Agricultural projects


Funded by the European Union and Finnish Embassy several projects started to increase agricultural and livestock management capacity in two San communities where food security is a serious and daily threat to their wellbeing.

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Nyae Nyae Conservancy (NNC) and Community Forest earmark N$3 million in benefits for its 1500 San members in the coming year

Member at Conservancy meeting Member at Conservancy meeting

The Nyae Nyae Conservancy (NNC) and Community Forest recently held their Annual General Meeting (AGM) in September 2017. The constituted meeting brought together representatives from every village in the area to get reports on activities and finances. As well as approve new workplans and budgets for the coming year and vote members into governance positions. At this year’s meeting, 72 voting...

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N≠a Jaqna Conservancy delivers N$40,000 of additional food to local schools

Sarah Zungu, N≠a Jaqna Conservancy Chairperson handing over food Sarah Zungu, N≠a Jaqna Conservancy Chairperson handing over food

Last week, N≠a Jaqna Conservancy Chairperson, Sarah Zungu and her team, delivered N$40,000 worth of additional food to local schools. The food was purchased from the Conservancy’s income which it had put aside for ‘benefits’ to the community. At the 2017 Annual General Meeting members voted to spend N$80,000 on providing additional food to local schools. The conservancy will spend the...

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San Conservancies urge the Minister of MET to visit and help address issues threatening their conservancies

Sarah Zungu with members of the N≠a Jaqna Conservancy community

Nyae Nyae and N≠a Jaqna Conservancies, both run by the indigenous San communities resident there, have formally requested the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) Minister, the Hon Pohamba Shifeta to visit and support them in addressing issues that threaten the conservancies.
In August 2016, the Minister said he would not tolerate abuse of communities in conservancies by invaders who want to cheat them out of their land and vital and scarce natural resources.

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OrigiNations visits the indigenous San of Nyae Nyae Conservancy


OrigiNations is an organisation focused on indigenous communities around the world and how these communities, especially the youth, deal with the challenge of reconciling their cultural heritage with the demands and radical transformation brought about by modernity. During a recent visit to Namibia, they went to the Nyae Nyae Conservancy in and around Tsumkwe, which is managed by the indigenous Ju/’hoansi San community, met with elders, the conservancy, community and the Nyae Nyae Foundation, one of the supporting NGOs in the area.

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Increasing self-sufficiency and diversification of livelihoods amongst the San


The Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP) as well as the new National Development Plan 5 (NDP 5) that was launched at the end of May this year speaks of working together, but also becoming self-sustainable as a nation. The San have been working towards this goal for years. Within the last month alone the community is seeing the fruits of years of support and investment in the San communities in Nyae Nyae and Na Jaqna Conservancies paying off. This is a testament to their hard work and a clear outcome of the consistent dedicated work of the San to improve their livelihoods and situation.

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Water Developments life changing in Nyae Nyae Conservancy

Preparing tank stands

Water Development in Nyae Nyae Conservancy has taken many years. The Conservancy is responsible for approximately half the village and game water points in the area, which means over 20 water points spread throughout the nearly 9,000km² of the area.

The first priority was to ensure that boreholes functioned and solar submersible pumps were slowing introduced. However, with over 1000 elephants in the area water points were often destroyed by elephants looking for water, so water point had to be protected from the elephants as well as the maintenance of game water points to ensure they have access to water and keep elephants away from villages.

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San in Nyae Nyae Conservancy are increasing their craft annually


What started out as a micro-project 30 years ago, has evovled into a viable way of generating income for the community at Nyae Nyae. The truly artisanal craft makers of the Nyae Nyae Conservancy produce traditional jewellery using ostrich egg shells. This jewellery is of such an exceptional quality that it is now being exported and sold in Europe.

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Illegal cattle - Grazing situation

Illegal Cattle

In April 2009, cattle farmers from outside Nyae Nyae Conservancy and Community Forest unlawfully and without authority, entered our area.  The Chief has never given any of them permission to settle or graze here, but many refuse to leave and are still grazing their livestock illegally every day on our lands.

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Nyae Nyae San Community actively changing the course of Fire in their area


The Nyae Nyae Conservancy and Community Forest II Project have taken an pro-active approach to dealing with fires in their communal areas with tangible visible positive results.
In 2012, 50% of the whole Nyae Nyae area burnt, resulting in the loss of life as well as damage to rangeland, wildlife and the environment through CO² emissions. The late hot fires of September and October are particularly damaging and uncontrollable, causing widespread devastation. The new approach taken in Nyae Nyae fits with the San cultural tradition of selective burning in the cooler months of May-July. This allows the fires to be better controlled and the fuel load reduced to prevent the later and more damaging hot fires.

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Agricultural and Livestock Champions from San Conservancies visit Krumhuk

Fabian von Hase, a permaculture specialist, shares information with the champions on co-planting flowers to reduce pests

Recently seven San agricultural and livestock champions from Nyae Nyae and N≠a Jaqna Conservancy visited the “collective style” commercial farm, Krumhuk, just outside Windhoek. Krumhuk operates on bio-dynamic, organic and holistic management principles that the champions are introducing in their villages in the Otjozondjupa Region.

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Newsletter 2016 - Climate Change


This newsletter is the follow-up to the Dealing with Climate Change brochure distributed in 2015. The purpose is to provide an update on the EU-funded Climate Change Project and also to provide regular tips and suggestions about how everyone can take action to deal with the impacts of Climate Change.

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Fire Management


The Community Based Fire Management Training Manual was developed as a component of the natural resource management capacity building programme of the Nyae-Nyae Conservancy and Community Forest and N≠a Jaqna Conservancy in the Otjozondjupa Region of Namibia.

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Dealing with Climate Change


In cooperation with the EU, NNDFN created a brochure about climate change in the N≠a Jaqna Conservancy, Nyae Nyae Conservancy and Community Forests. This brochure was produced in three languages English, Afrikaans and Ju/'Hoan.

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Craft Projects - G!hunku Crafts


The craft project was started over 20 years ago as a means of generating income for the, largely female, population of craft makers in Nyae Nyae Conservancy.

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Living Museums


The Living Culture Foundation Namibia build up two Living Museums in the area of the Ju/'Hoansi-San. The Living Museum of the Ju/'Hoansi in the N#a Jaqna Conservancy and the Little Hunter's Museum in the Nyae Nyae Conservancy. Since opening the Living Museums are receiving support from the NNDFN. The Living Museums combine three goal: The conservation and transfer of traditional culture,...

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Main Donors

List of major donors over the last 10 years

German EMbassy
Environmental Investment Fund
Kalahari Peoples Fund