Environment Investment Fund (EIF) has handed over bursaries worth N$1 187 315m to its 13 recipients for the current academic year, following in the footsteps of other local corporate companies that have done the same since the year began.
This is to give the beneficiaries an opportunity to not only shape up their own careers but also plug a skills deficit in this country since green jobs are essential towards a sustainable development, yet Namibia has an acute shortage in green skills.
With the EIF-established bursary and research assistance, deserving Namibians can now pursue relevant career options, thereby assisting in the development of an effective, efficient and competent national workforce that can fulfil sustainable development.
The 13 students will be taking up their courses at the University of Namibia (Unam), Polytechnic of Namibia (PoN) and the University of Cape Town.
EIF head of communication and corporate affairs, Lazarus Nafidi, says they are giving these young people this opportunity because “of an awareness that the achievement of our strategic objective of a pursuing better life for all depends on the longer term; the level of education of our citizens”.
Iven Chilinda, who is one of the recipients, is a journalist by profession. He will thus pursue a postgraduate research on ‘climate change and media’ at the Unam. Chilinda appreciates the EIF bursary because now he will be able to carry out a research that has been long delayed due to lack of funds.
According to him, the local media industry is inactive in disseminating climate change-related information in respect of its effect and how to take in-advance measures to prevent or manage it.
“I decided to enrol for this subject to be knowledgeable about the climate change-related issues and most importantly how the media can partake in aggressive reporting in this regard,” he says, adding, he reckons the Namibian government has been making the effort as far as climate change issues go but the local media needs to be more omnipresent in disseminating related information to the public.
Mechtilde Romanus who will pursue a bachelor of technology in environment management course at the University of Cape Town, commends EIF’s move, saying it is one way to narrow the gap in green skills in every economy.
“Although the Namibian government has been trying to implement environmental measures and policies, the lack of skilled environmentalists within its ministries hampers the implementation of a green economy transition,” she highlights.
More emphasis needs to be put on skills empowerment in the country, if Namibia is to implement the measures towards preventing and addressing the environmental issues, she adds.
In the spirit of gradually developing the required skills, EIF will, in due time, form partnerships with the business and corporate communities to ensure they achieve sustainability in capacity-building, Nafidi concludes.