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Youth
© WWF-Namibia

Inspiring the next generation of conservationists

Did you know?

Namibia has one of the youngest populations on the African continent, with more than one-third of the population between 10 to 24 years of age.

© Markus Mauthe
Why does it matter?

The age structure of a population affects a nation's key socio-economic issues. Countries with young populations (high percentage under age 15) need to invest more in schools, while countries with older populations (high percentage ages 65 and over) need to invest more in the health sector. The age structure can also be used to help predict potential political issues. For example, the rapid growth of a young adult population unable to find employment can lead to unrest.

Lack of education and early school drop-out, lack of experience and lack of technical skills have been identified as significant factors that contribute to the high rate of youth unemployment in Namibia. 

Though the conservancy movement has made great strides in changing lives, livelihoods, and attitudes towards conservation, support for conservation is waning and the youth are less engaged in conservation than their elders. 

Can conservation continue to be an economic driver in rural Namibia, and help to change the trajectory of life for youth in the country?  Can we expand conservation’s community of practice to include the youth in both urban and rural areas and provide them with hope, direction, and options for the future?  These are questions we need to answer. 

© NACSO/WWF Namibia
What WWF is doing

Through the Donald Hamer Conservation Leadership Programme, a two-year internship programme, WWF supports the training of young enthusiastic Namibian graduates to become future leaders in the Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) sector.  

WWF engages with the youth in rural conservancies to celebrate Earth Hour, the world's largest environmental grassroots movement, raising awareness on the importance of nature and biodiversity and the roles they can play to conserve our natural resources. 

WWF is piloting the Wild Landscapes Biodiversity App, a data collection app, with out of school youth in communal conservancies. This process of data collection is a way to encourage the youth in conservancies to participate in conservation activities and to become conservation ambassadors. 

With our conservation partners, WWF is building a Community Conservation and Inspiration Hub in Windhoek.  Located near the Namibia University of Science and Technology, the Hub is envisioned as a place where young people can come and learn about conservation, with access to information sources and first-hand knowledge from experts in the field. 

WWF is involving the youth in the Integrated Conservation Landscape project in the Zambezi Region, organizing activities to inspire and educate the youth on the intrinsic value of the environment and for conservation-focused sustainable development in the Zambezi Region.