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Harambee for African World Heritage

Asser Ndeutapo, one of the former interns at NACSO, shares his experience representing Namibia at the youth heritage forum in Cape Town.

“When I saw the application form for the first ever African World Heritage Youth Forum (AWHYF) to be held in South Africa on Robben Island I immediately started filling in the information required, however there was one element to the application that almost kept me from completing the application process and that was the video aspect. The application required a motivational letter, reference letter, curriculum vitae, copy of passport and a 2-minute video highlighting youth involvement in the heritage sector in our respective countries. Despite my initial worries, producing the video was tremendous fun and a few weeks later I was notified that my application was successful and I was among the chosen 28 out of more than 400 applicants from across Anglophone African countries.

Upon arrival at Cape Town International Airport on 28 April 2016, we were transferred to the Nelson Mandela Gateway at the V&A Waterfront. A boat ferried us across to Robben Island and everyone was excited because the Island is synonymous with the triumph of the human spirit and the emancipation of the mind. The South African Minister of Tourism, Honourable Derek Hanekom, officially opened the session after which presentations on the world heritage convention; implementation challenges; the world heritage committee; African world heritage sites; African youth in heritage and the African World Heritage Fund (AWHF) were given. As part of the forum, we each had to present on the state of conservation of a world heritage site from our respective countries.

Namibia has the Twyfelfontein, the Namib Sand Sea and the Omagongo/Amarula Festival (which is not a site but an Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) festivity practiced by the Owambo people of Namibia and was recently enlisted on the UNESCO world heritage list). Through my work with the Namibian Association of Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) Support Organisations (NACSO), I was exposed to various issues at the Twyfelfontein world heritage site. The site is found within a CBNRM area known as the Uibasen – Twyfelfontein Conservancy. In my presentation, I spoke about the improved conservation and management it receives since it was inscribed as a world heritage site in 2007 via the multiplicity of legislations that applies to the site and the conservancy area. A diversity of legislation can sometimes prove to be a challenge but, they can be harmonised and help improve the conservation and management of all heritage within Namibia, Africa and ultimately the world. We were then divided into groups of 5, the team I was part of looked at interpretation and presentation techniques and/or educational programs for a world heritage site like Robben Island. We also simulated an African youth model, which assisted in showing us the type of deliberations expected in the world heritage committee. We spent the following day compiling a youth declaration on world heritage that was read at the 10th Anniversary ceremony of the AWHF. The declaration was also one of the prime objectives of the forum.

Our visit to the mother city was not complete without an extraordinary tour through the city centre, Table Mountain and Camps Bay. The closing ceremony was presented by the South African Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture, Honourable Rejoice Mabudafhasi. The forum was a very enriching experience and it certainly strengthened my spirit and further emancipated my mind from biased views of African Heritage.“

Asser Ndeutapo Manya, +264 81 3327516,

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What is NACSO?


Brandberg, Namibia's highest mountain
Download a map showing Namibia's community forests.
Download a map showing Namibia's community forests (November 2012)
Download posters profiling Namibia's Communal Conservancies.
Download posters profiling Namibia's Communal Conservancies (June 2012)
Download booklets profiling Namibia's Communal Conservancies.
Download booklets profiling Namibia's Communal Conservancies (June 2012)
New booklet - Tips for Joint Venture Partnerships in Tourism
Download the booklet - Tips for JV Partnerships in Tourism [3.5 MB].
View Destination Namibia - a new film
View Destination Namibia - a short film that showcases Namibia as a tourism destination.
Download a brochure on Namibia's Communal Conservancies
Download the brochure on Namibia's communal conservancies. [pdf 2MB]
Visit the Community Conservation Namibia website.
Planning a trip to Namibia's communal conservancies? Visit the Community Conservation Namibia website: it offers a location map and detailed information about those conservancies offering amenities and activities like lodging, photo and wildlife safaris, food and dining, cultural attractions and more.
The majority of Namibians depend directly on natural resources for their day-to-day needs.
Photo: David Sandison
Development of natural products, such as oil from Kalahari Melons, can enhance the livelihoods of rural communities.
Photo: Peggy Poncelet

The Namibian Association of Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) Support Organisations (NACSO) is an association comprising 9 Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) and the University of Namibia. The purpose of NACSO is to provide quality services to rural communities seeking to manage and utilise their natural resources in a sustainable manner.

The philosophy of forming NACSO was to harness the wide range of skills available in Government, NGOs and the University into a complementary nation-wide CBNRM support service. The rationale behind this is that it is unlikely that any single institution houses all of the skills, resources and capacity to provide community organisations with the multi-disciplinary assistance that is required to develop the broad range of CBNRM initiatives taking place in Namibia. These skills could include advice on governance and institutional issues, on natural resources management and assistance with financial and business planning.

Download NACSO's Five-Year Strategic Plan [pdf 243kb].

NACSO's history

The NACSO concept was conceived in 1996 under the title of Communal Area Resource Management Support (CARMS).

However, it was not until August 1998, when a meeting of CBNRM support organisations was convened, that the CBNRM partners began seriously developing the NACSO concept. In September 1999 the CBNRM partners approved the constitution for the CBNRM Association of Namibia (CAN), and the CBNRM Association gained legal status. However, in February 2001 CAN was required to change its name to NACSO because the Cancer Association of Namibia, also with the acronym of CAN, justifiably complained that two organisations in Namibia should not be operating under the same name.

The important work carried out by NACSO on rural development projects, in conjunction with NGOs such as IRDNC, Namibia Nature Foundation, NDT and international associate member WWF continues today.

NACSO's Constitution

The constitution comprises 14 sections in which NACSO's formation, operations, procedures and membership are defined, and it is provided in full here. An introductory paragraph and section 1 describe the broad structure and objectives, whilst the aims, objective and functions are listed in section 2. The 12 objectives mainly concern the promotion and development of CBNRM, and the 8 functions illustrate the activities NACSO may undertake.

In sections 3, 4 and 5 the organisation, the founding membership and the rules for representation on NACSO are given. The powers and functions of the organisation, in supporting the objectives, are given in section 6. The functions of the Management Committee and Working Groups, and the Secretariat are described in sections 7 and 8 respectively. The procedures for grant management, conducting meetings, and financial management are given in section 9, 10 and 11. In the final 3 sections dispute resolution procedures, dissolution and constitutional amendments are specified.

Download the constitution here [pdf 76 kb].

Policy and legislative basis of CBNRM in Namibia

Since independence in 1990, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) has pursued a legislative policy to support the introduction and development of Communal Area Conservancies and this led to the creation of NACSO. The following policies and legislation have been enacted to support the Conservancy programme.

  1. MET Policy Document - Wildlife Management, Utilisation and Tourism in Communal Areas (June 1995);
  2. MET Policy Document - Community-Based Tourism Development (June 1995) [pdf 42 kb]; and
  3. Amendment No. 5 of 1996: Nature Conservation Amendment Act, 1996 [pdf 440 kb]; and
  4. Government Notice No. 304 of 1996 - MET Amendment of Regulations Relating to Nature Conservation

These policies and the accompanying legislation have supported a nation-wide conservation and development movement so that, by 2014, less than 20 years after the first conservancy was gazetted, there were 82 registered conservancies, a similar community association operating in a national park and over 30 community forests, which together cover almost 20% of Namibia. While government has passed many new policies and legislation since independence, few if any, have had the marked impact this MET programme is having.

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