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Kellogg Foundation: another way that works (Namibia)
by Pippa H
The World Summit on Sustainable Development

Karel !Naibab
Photo: Mandy Paton-Ash
Johannesburg, South Africa •• Aug. 29, 2002 •• SolarQuest® iNet News Service •• “In Africa we are lucky. We have it all, right here. All we have to do is see it”, Karel !Naibab. After interviewing Karel it is not hard to imagine that he is the kind of person that would see this potential in Africa and do something with it. An enthusiastic, energetic and determined young man, Karel was chosen by the IUCN, along with seven other entrepreneurs, to be showcased at the United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development for establishing a viable business that created sustainable livelihoods. The project, aptly named “There’s another way that works,” highlights eight enterprises from Southern Africa that demonstrate both sustainability and development and is funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Project. Karel !Naibab has managed to “sustain” both a community and world heritage site whilst “developing” a town on the brink of extinction.

Karel !Naibab lives in a town called Uis in Namibia. He used to work for a nearby tin mine like most of the men in the town, and like all the men, lost his job when the mine shut down. With no alternative work source, the men turned to their indigenous knowledge to come up with a solution. As Karel says, “then we realized we’d been staring at our livelihood all along.” This led to the birth of the Dâureb Mountain Guides, official custodians for the famous White Lady (the most revered rock art in Africa) were born. The White Lady is located in Brandberg (the Burning Mountain), which is a world heritage site containing irreplaceable flora, a 5,000,000 year old archaeological site, and the rare desert elephant and black rhino. But not only have the guides created work for themselves, Uis now has a supermarket and a petrol station, thus work has been created for the community as well. This successful enterprise only has two problems. Firstly, there is a need for Brandberg and the Dâureb Mountain Guides to be protected by legislation. Both are vulnerable to big business coming in and, in the pursuit of profit, discounting the value of the local richness – environmental and human. And secondly they are not very well known and thus local and international marketing would be very beneficial to this tourism-orientated project. Networking with similar outfits would also be helpful. The Dâureb Mountain Guides is just one successful enterprise that has come out of this project.

The others include: the production of indigenous tea by the Indigenous (Makoni) Tea Producers Association in Zimbabwe; production of Malambe (Baobab) fruit juice in Malawi; production of Marula Natural Products in South Africa; conversion of alien vegetation by Thando Papers into lampshades, photo albums and greeting cards also in South Africa; production of pure, environmentally friendly honey by North Western Bee Products in Zambia; using goats for milk and cheese by Podi- Boswa PTY LTD also in South Africa and lastly a wood sculptor who ensures the sustainable use of forests in Mozambique.

All these enterprises are run by entrepreneurs that have in some way been excluded from the mainstream, be it for historical, geographical, cultural or economic reasons. Their way may not be as powerful or as well known as the “worldwide” way, but it works. They all offer the world proof that sustainable development can work and is alive and well. To end off with the words of Peter Koestenbaum, “what is the business of business? To create wealth? To inspire the economy? To create jobs? To meet the needs of society? YES. But there is more. The final goal of any human activity, and any business must show us how to be effective, is to create a world moral order – a world ethics network.”

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