Namibian environmental education started in the late 1980’s and the early 1990’s when the Namibian government and a few non-governmental organisations took the initiative to establish the first “true” environmental education centres for all Namibian youth. Previously outdoor camps were more focussed on survival training courses instead of the environment. The new centres still exist today and are primarily located north of Windhoek, in areas like Etosha National Park, and are focussed on nature and wildlife. Upon working for such a centre, NaDEET founders Viktoria and Andreas Keding noticed a “disconnect” between what was being taught and what was inadvertently learned. Instead of the centre being a model of environmental living in everything that it does, it was purely focussed on its subject and did not have a holistic approach. It seemed quite counter-productive, for example, to educate about ‘saving wildlife’ and simultaneously have leaky taps in the centre’s bathrooms.
Our philosophy is “we practice what we teach”. NaDEET Centre has integrated this philosophy into its infrastructure and teaching practices. At NaDEET, we believe that a major part of a person’s experience at an EE Centre is the facility itself. The EE Centre including where participants sleep, bathe, cook and eat should make a considerable impression on them and should inspire them to integrate the principles of sustainability into their daily lives.
The Centre was built in 2003 by Andreas Keding (construction manager), a small team of assistants and three groups of Raleigh International volunteers. At that time funds were extremely limited and the Centre was built using primarily recycled materials donated by various individuals and our neighbour, Wolwedans Lodge. Almost everything was done by hand as there were limited power tools available. The original Centre consisted of 6 accommodation units with shower and toilet facilities and the main building (classroom and kitchen).
2006- Due to an unknown cause, the original main building burned down. With overwhelming support from the community, it was rebuilt.
2008-2013- Since then the original accommodation houses, toilets and solar electricity system have been replaced and improved to accommodate the increase in participants.
2014- After ten years of successful environmental education, NaDEET decided to open a head office on the coast in Swakopmund to better position ourselves to expand beyond the South.
2015-2016- After having been used for over 10 years, the last major renovation on NaDEET Centre were the bathrooms, now reffered to as the Water Wise Washrooms.