-- Prof Kenneth Matengu, UNAM Vice-Chancellor (second from left); Hon Pohamba Shifeta, Minister of MEFT (sixth from left); Dr Erold Naomab, NUST Vice-Chancellor (third from right); Ms Alka Bhatia, UNDP Country Representatives (fourth from right) ; and Mr. Teofilus, Nghitila, Executive Director of MEFT , pictured with the scholarship beneficiaries.--

Ten Doctoral candidates from the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) and the University of Namibia (UNAM), received scholarships from the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism. The sponsorship was made possible through the Ministry’s Namibia Integrated Landscape Approach for Enhancing Livelihoods and Environmental Governance to Eradicate Poverty (NILALEG) Project, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and Global Environmental Facility (GEF).

“The three main components of NILALEG are to improve - environmental governance; sustainable management of our natural resources; and enhance livelihoods for poverty eradication in our rural areas through nature-based enterprises,” remarked Hon Pohamba Shifeta, the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism.

Ms. Alka Bhatia, the UNDP Resident Representative commended NILALEG for catering to almost all the Sustainable Development Goals, in terms of addressing social, economic and environmental challenges.

The scholarships are at a value of N$155 000 per student per year. This includes tuition fees, fieldwork expenses, laboratory analyses and a monthly stipend. Six of the beneficiaries are female and four are male. In their studies, each of the beneficiaries will investigate topics that range from determining the impacts of nature-based enterprises or ecological restoration on livelihoods, to determining the tolerance of native plants to droughts and will focus on the following topic areas:

UNAM Candidates:

1. PhD 1: Assess the impact of adoption of climate smart agriculture intervention on rural livelihoods (Evaluating soil fertility and water availability)

2. PhD 2: Assess the ecological impacts of livestock (cattle/mixed/game) on sustainable farming (evaluate in terms of soil fertility/water avail)

3. PhD 3: Evaluate landscape level restoration approaches that maximize likelihood of desired ecological outcomes

4. PhD 4: Understanding the impact of ecological restoration on groundwater recharge and fluctuation level, and

5. PhD 5: Assess the impact bush control (value chain) on livelihoods

NUST Candidates:

1. PhD 1: Screening for drought tolerant indigenous plant species for restoration at landscape level

2. PhD 2: Determine the linkages between ecological restoration and livelihoods

3. PhD 3: Assess the impacts of Nature-based enterprises on ecology and livelihoods

4. PhD 4: Evaluate the impacts of land use change on carbon stock in focal land

5. PhD 5: Assess the ecological impacts of bush control.

“The research projects that the candidates will be working on all have linkages to the main goals of the NILALEG Project. This too is well aligned with the NUST Strategic Goals, specifically the one which focusses on Driving Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The University is working tirelessly to grow its student profile, particularly at postgraduate level,” remarked NUST Vice-Chancellor, Dr Erold Naomab

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