SCORE project transforms community school garden

The Onampira Combined School in the Etayi Constituency of the Oshana Region in northern Namibia, has profited greatly from the assistance from the Scaling up Community Resilience to climate variability and climate change (SCORE) Project. Through the use of a micro drip irrigation system donated to them by the SCORE project the school’s community garden was able to thrive through harsh climatic conditions.

In addition the vegetable garden has also become a lucrative source of funding for their school. From the time the school started using the drip irrigation system, their water bill has reduced drastically and the vegetables are growing well and consistently.

The school principle revealed that they made almost N$1,000 from their first harvest of spinach and onions, which he said will go to subsidising the school feeding project for the students.

UNDP Resident Representative Ms. Kiki Gbeho visited the school accompanied by Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry John Mutorwa and the Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism Tommy Nambahu. Earlier that day Gbeho officially handover SCORE Project Equipment to the above mentioned ministries, valued at approximately USD $320, 000.00. The equipment included several project vehicles, generators, rippers, tractors, barbed wire and seeds among others.

UNDP Namibia supports programmes which result in multiple development benefits, such as poverty alleviation, social justice, reducing inequalities, and promoting sustainable livelihoods.

The SCORE project is a Global Environment Fund (GEF), UNDP and Government of Namibia initiative aimed at reducing the vulnerability of 4,000 households (approximately 25,000 people) to floods and drought, 80% of these households are female headed.

The main outcomes of the SCORE Project are to:

·         Strengthen smallholder adaptive capacity for climate resilient agriculture production practices

·         Reduce vulnerability to droughts and floods through the restoration of wells and enhancement of floodwater pools for food security, and finally to

·         Mainstream climate change into national agricultural strategy/sector policy, including adjustments to budgets for replication and up-scaling.

In his address at the official handover of the equipment, Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism, Tommy Nambahu stressed that Namibia will continue scaling up activities that will support communities who rely on Agriculture to survive. He spoke on the 190 micro drip irrigation systems that will be installed in small scale farming communities in the SCORE project operated regions. “There is need to sharpen knowledge with regards to water saving technologies, to increase people’s standards of living,” the Minister stressed.

Also speaking at the event the Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry Hon. John Mutorwa, emphasized the importance of Conservation Agriculture as a means to ensure Namibia becomes climate resilient and can begin to increases its crop yield in an effort to alleviate poverty.

Addressing the gathering Gbeho highlighted that 70 percent of Namibia’s 2.3 million people practice subsistence farming under rain fed conditions. She stressed that UNDP aspires to contribute to the mitigation of the negative effects of climate change, the eradication of poverty and to address some of the development challenges faced by these communities.