Event Reports

Workshops about the role of leadership in water innovations management and employment creation

by Anna Wasserfall
From 10-13 of April 2018, KAS and partner Dr. Romanus Kawana (UNAM) implemented two workshops on „The role of leadership in water innovations management and employment creation“ in the Kavango East and Kavango West regions (10-11.04. in Rundu and 12-13.04. in Nkurenkuru).

Both events reached a total of nearly 300 people from the rural and urban communities of both regions and managed to question and discuss the understanding of the roles and responsibilities of citizens and local and regional governmental representatives in the context of regional development through the means of natural resource management.

Dr. Romanus Kawana, who originates from Kavango East himself, introduced the results of his doctorate research on the above-mentioned topic to the interested audiences, who consisted of the regions governors, officials from the Regional Councils and the municipality as well as numerous representatives from various communities. The aim of the events was to highlight the vast availability of natural resources and therefore the potential wealth that both Kavango regions possess, and to illustrate the crucial role that effective leadership and coordination between the citizens and governmental representatives plays in making use of them for job creation and poverty alleviation efficiently.

The underlying assumption is that natural resources are part of the real wealth of a nation and can therefore be seen as part of its capital, of which again other forms of capital can be created through long-term job and income creation. Effective natural resource management can therefore contribute to lasting and meaningful poverty reduction. Before this context, Vision 2030 also states that natural resources and technological innovation should play a vital part in the country’s development.

However, due to historical factors as well as current policies, it has not yet been achieved to make that existing potential wealth accessible and usable for a big part of the Namibian population, which becomes obvious when looking at the 14 regions of the country, which are far from being at the same level when it comes to development or economic growth. However, their individual levels of development do not necessarily relate to the amount of resources that are theoretically available to their respective population and their economy.

It can therefore be conclude that the level of community and governmental engagement and the level of efficient coordination between communities and their elected representatives play a crucial role when it comes to effective natural resource management and its utilisation for employment creation and poverty reduction. However, in this context facilitator Dr. Kawana pointed out that leadership doesn’t only apply to elected officials from the local and regional levels of governments. It is rather a mind-set that is just as relevant for community members in order for them to recognise potentials in their immediate environment and to engage their governmental leaders in the implementation of their ideas and economic projects.

Before this background, the events provided an important platform for the community members to engage with their governmental representatives in order to find solutions for challenges and issues and to improve the mutual understanding and communication. In conclusion, many potential areas of income creation and new potential markets for regional products have been identified in the process, and both the communities as well as the Councillors committed themselves to further explore the different options.

We would like to thank Dr. Kawana for making his expertise and extensive knowledge on this topic available and sharing it with the interested communities in Kavango East and Kavango West and for facilitating two very successful events.