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  • Writer's pictureJustine Braby

Envisioning sustainable neighbourhoods (Guest Author: Reinhold Mangundu)

Updated: Jun 22, 2023

Our Reinhold Mangundu has been volunteer teaching youngsters at the Physically Active Youth Centre in Katutura on sustainability. Here is what he had to say about his first few sessions:

The Physically Active Youth is a non-profit organisation that does after care for school kids in Katutura. Here is a group of bright and amazing learners from different backgrounds in Katutura who are part of an after school programme focusing on health development, both academically and physically. As part of Progress Namibia’s voluntary work, I’ve dedicated most of my Friday afternoons teaching them about sustainability and environmental issues. My sessions with them involve testing and enhancing their ability to critically think for themselves in this transforming world. I strongly believe young people are the foundation to stronger sustainable societies, thus, it is important to enhance their knowledge and understanding to be able to define their future in a more sustainable fashion.

I have never experienced so much joy teaching, neither have I ever imagined the fun in it. Getting to work with these kids’ has given me hope for the future. I started my first lesson defining sustainability, what it is all about and how it should be applied in our daily lives. It’s really amazing knowing that they posses so much knowledge on environmental issues, through discussions, they were able to identify practices which they considered unsustainable in their communities.

As an inspiration from Donella Meadows, I started our first session with an envisioning exercise. I had asked them to close their eyes, and then envision the type of sustainable neighbourhoods they prefer living in, how they would look like and what would make them sustainable. I gave them 20 minutes to do so and immediately soon after they opened their eyes, in different groups, I had asked them to visualise their sustainable neighbourhoods on sheets of flip chart paper. The atmosphere in the classroom was so beautiful; excited and happy, they all drew pictures of their sustainable neighbourhoods, with many applying their creativity and artistic skills. What confounded me were not the beautiful pictures but their ability to present, they presented their posters very well. One group described their neighbourhood as waste free, with lots of trees and organic gardens in their backyards which depended on harvested rain water.

‘’No cars, hello bicycles ‘’, said another group. As funny as it sounded, they made a really good point; we have to rethink our transport systems. At that point, I knew they fully understood the importance of living sustainably. I look forward to spending the year with them, sharing and learning.


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