Benguela youth network
Commemoration of United Nations World Ocean Day 2021
The Benguela Current Convention (BCC) Youth Ambassador in collaboration with the Namibia Nature Foundation (Albatross Task Force Project) and Namibian Dolphin Project commemorated the United Nations World Oceans Day on 08 and 09 June 2021 by engaging a school outreach between the coastal towns of Swakopmund and Walvis Bay under the theme "The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods".
Commemoration of the World Ocean day is a crucial way to build an understanding of human interactions with the ocean and to advocate for the importance the ocean brings to human life and all other marine organisms. A total of 215 leaners participated in this event. The team identified the relevance of such information sharing session and the importance of carrying them out more frequently among not only leaners but also communities. The outreach team engaged with leaners from the following schools:

  • Alexanders Private School;
  • Duinesig Secondary School;
  • Kuisebmond Secondary School;
  • De Duine Secondary School;
  • Tutaleni High School;
  • Coastal High School;
  • Swakopmund Christian Academy;
  • Namib High school; and,
  • Tamariskia Primary School.
During the outreach, learners were engaged on the importance of ocean sustainability and its effect on the ecosystems as well as the livelihoods of communities that are dependent on it. It was understood that most coastal towns developments, such as for Swakopmund and Walvis Bay greatly depend on the ocean in terms of jobs creation, income, and fish for consumption, amongst others.
The Namibian Dolphin Project educated learners on cetaceans in the Namibian waters, their role and importance in the ocean ecosystem as well as conservation measure in place for these cetaceans. An awareness of seabirds to the ecosystem, in particular, the albatross species were discussed, including conservation needs of Albatross to reduce the seabirds' by-catch mortalities.

Beach Cleanup and Solid Waste Management Campaign at Swakopmund and Walvis Bay
A clean environment is of most importance to our health and safety. That was the motive behind running the beach cleanup campaign in the coastal towns.
The Youth Ambassadors (Namibia) of the BCC have identified the need to educate young fellows on the impacts of pollution on the ocean and how pollution can be controlled by understanding waste management procedure in place. The cleanup campaign was carried out from 17th to 18th March 2021 at Swakopmund Mole beach and from 19th to 20th March 2021 at Walvis Bay Independence beach. On the first day of the campaign in each town, the team officiated the campaign and cleaned the beaches and on the second day, the team took the cleaning up until the nearby central business district and/ or residential area.
BCC youth ambassadors at the cleanup event.
During the officiating of the event, the guest speaker was Ms. Lydia Mutenda, Manager on Health Services and Solid Waste from the Municipality of Swakopmund and Mr. Rohan Louw, Regional Manager from Rent-A-Drum whom each welcomed the initiative by the youth to carry out this impactful activity to our environment.

The participants included mostly young men and women and a few upper middle-aged men and women. The communities of Swakopmund and Walvis Bay turned up in numbers to carry out the cleaning activity in groups that were led by the Youth Ambassadors (Namibia) of the BCC. The procedure that was demonstrated and practiced for this exercise was to inform the participants to always throw garbage in the litterbins and to separate waste such as plastic, and non-plastic products for easier recycling. This practice also taught participants the groupings of different product wastes and the identification of recyclable waste. The participants were advised to use recyclable shopping bags and called on to identify solutions to recycle some of the garbage that was collected which are not recycled at the time.

Many people attended the cleanup exercise.
Based on the garbage collected, it was evident that plastic wastes were topping in both towns when compared to non-plastic wastes. Most of the plastic wastes collected were bottles, shopping bags, fishing gear strips and takeaway packs. Nonetheless, more refuse bags were collected from Walvis Bay than Swakopmund.

We believe that as Namibians, our ocean is our responsibility and therefore, the need to protect its environment lies with us. The Youth Ambassadors were happy to find that the young people were energized about the cleanup exercise, indicating a positive response to the campaign.

The beach cleanup campaign was successfully carried out with support from the following entities and individuals:

● Municipality of Swakopmund
● Municipality of Walvis Bay
● Plastic Packaging (Pty) Ltd
● International Coastal Cleanup
● Ocean Conservancy
● Development Workshop of Namibia
● University of Namibia
● Rent A Drum
● Namibia Nature Foundation
● Communities of Swakopmund and Walvis Bay
● Duinesig High School
● ErongoRED (Pty) Ltd
● Lucy K AKA influencer
● The Media
Events in 2020
The Benguela Secretariat hosted a Top Predators information sharing event on 11th to 12th December 2020 in Swakopmund. This event was aimed at educating the public about the top predators' species in the ocean, their relevance to the ecosystem, that they are endangered and the protection they need.