The Namib Desert Environmental Education Trust (NaDEET) is a non-profit, Namibian trust located 100km south of Sossusvlei in the NamibRand Nature Reserve. Established in 2003, NaDEET believes environmental education must not only increase awareness and knowledge but also eco-friendly attitudes and skills in Namibia's youth and educators to promote sustainable living.
Most center-based environmental education programs tend to address just one main issue: wildlife conservation. NaDEET feels that this topic is important, but that appropriate environmental education programs that teach young people and rural community members how to address the basic everyday environmental concerns: food, water and shelter, are also vital to the future of our planet and our place on it.
NaDEET’s emphasis is on creating learning opportunities that can be applied in everyday life. They believe that having school children live in a sustainable manner is much more valuable than just hearing about it in a classroom setting.
The organization’s philosophy is not only to teach sustainable living, but to practice it. The Centre is built in such a way that all ‘living’ activities, such as cooking, cleaning and giving shelter, are practiced using sustainable or alternative energy resources. This concept forms an integral part of the program. To date, almost no fossil fuels have been used at the NaDEET Centre for cooking, lighting or heating water making NaDEET a leader in strategies against climate change.
With NaDEET’s holistic approach to the environment (including the social environment) and its integral philosophy of sustainable living as a way of life, this project lays an important foundation and supports the formal school curriculum the learners are exposed to in the classroom. For rural community members, NaDEET opens their eyes to energy efficient lifestyle and gives them the equipment needed to implement it. Without knowledge and skills - and most importantly, the values to want to protect the environment - Namibians will not be able to contribute positively to developing their country sustainably.