Creating awareness to the Namibian youngest audience with cartoons – poaching

As you are reading this, millions of species worldwide are being killed or taken from their native habitat. Poaching poses a big threat to many animals like elephants and rhino, as well as to smaller and more incomprehensible creatures, like lizards, snakes and pangolins. The topic on poaching can at times be complex and difficult to explain to the young children. But TOSCO and PAKO teamed up to make learning fun while explaining the importance of conservation and looking after Namibia’s natural resources and wildlife through cartoons.

Why animals are poached

Some animals are captured alive to be sold as exotic pets. Some other animals, on the other hand, are slaughtered for a commercial value, such as food, jewelry, décor or traditional medicine. 

The effects of poaching

Poaching has various effects; the most direct impact is extinction resulting in a natural imbalance. Every single animal has a specific function in the environment. By removing these animals, an imbalance of the natural environment is created.

Another negative effect of poaching is on rangers charged with protecting wildlife. Poachers are mostly armed, leading to the possibility of rangers getting wounded or gunned down.

Efforts to stop poaching

Besides providing on-the-ground protection, countries like Namibia, have developed programs to convert past poachers to rangers. There are organizations that are promoting sustainable alternatives to poachering to help people earn a fair living.   

Several laws have also been put in place to penalize illegal poaching.

But to further the importance of stopping poaching, TOSCO and PAKO joined forces to raise awareness amongst Namibians children on the importance of looking after the environment and its wildlife. In partnership with international artists, like Juan Bellorin, they create exciting comics which makes the message more accessible and fun through storytelling.

“We believe that teaching the next generation at an early age will make them become proactive adults who are concerned about the welfare of the environment they live in”. 

The  Venezuelan lawyer and artist, Juan Vicente Bellorin met up with us to  tells  his story of how he became a comic creator after graduating from law at the “Universidad de los Andes”, and how he decided to hang out his tie and take the brushes instead to create stories. 

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TOSCO and LightForce supports conservancies with solar power

Nowadays most of us take energy for granted, forgetting that we use it for everything. From home to work, from the way we entertain ourselves to how we connect with our loved ones. Everything requires electricity. The lack of energy can affect everything, from business to education to public health. The reality is that today approximately 1.3 billion people worldwide still do not have access to energy. This also involves the rural, disadvantaged communities in North West Namibia. But with support from TOSCO and LightForce, we have shown that the power of the sun can make a real difference.

Technology to change the world

2019 was the second warmest year recorded in history and every day there is more evidence that our unsustainable impact on the environment is causing disasters worldwide. We can notice how fragile and vulnerable the ecosystem is by looking at African countries. Namibia, for example, is not one of the countries that generates the most carbon emissions, in comparison to western countries. However, it is one of the first countries strongly affected by climate change. 

Technology is changing almost faster than we can keep up. Technology is changing the way we live, work and, relate to one another. Now more than ever, the use of new technologiesy has the potential to reduce environmental degradation.

Could solar lights offer a solution?

There are a lot of debates on how to bring energy to underprivileged rural areas. To expand national electricity grids is one of the options. However, to build a large-scale infrastructure in remote areas like Kunene region is expensive and difficult to maintain. Besides, the concerns about climate change combined with the battery prices are unattractive for national investment and international donors. 

While climate change has made many Western countries increase their efforts to improve energy investing in renewable energies, developing countries are still facing this challenge. And that while most developing countries are geographically located for optimal absorption of sunlight. Could solar lights offer a solution?

Scientists, social entrepreneurs and big tech companies around the world are working to make strides with solar power. These products have low up-front costs, need little maintenance and do not pose the running problems typically associated with electricity grids.

LightForce

LightForce is a global initiative helping companies and individuals to change the world by bringing solar powered lights to communities.

After the success of the first edition in Kenya in 2018, the LightForce project was expanded in 2019 in three more countries: Brazil, Senegal, Philippines. The operation took place simultaneously in the first week of February 2019 with 60 Salesforce employees, 30 employees from other companies and around 50 volunteers of the NGO Liter of Light; resulting in:

LightForce Team
  • Over 3000 volunteer hours
  • More than €350 000 raised
  • 11 000 lives impacted
  • Over 100 employees and customers.

The project in Namibia 

In May 2019, the LightForce team contacted TOSCO Trust (Tourism Supporting Conservation) , asking to assist them in developing the project in Namibia by organizing the logistics beforehand and helping on site. TOSCO arranged vehicles, drivers, transport of material and components and, communicated with the conservancies.

The first week of February 2020, TOSCO Trust welcomed 17 members of this International NGO coming from France. Our common goal? To assemble and install, together with the local people, solar powered LED lights systems in the North-West of Namibia.

In consultancy with the conservancies and lion rangers, TOSCO identified the locations where the solar light was needed the most: villages and kraals Anabeb, Torra, Purros and Tomakas conservancies. 

We built two different types of solar LED lighting systems that are cheaper, brighter and healthier than the kerosene lights that the locals normally use in the villages:

House lights

Many people in the North-West of Namibia rely on candles, wood fires and kerosene lightings in their houses, which often offer poor light and produce highly polluting black carbons. The emissions of kerosene lights contribute to global warming and to severe indoor air pollution which are dangerous to health, causing respiratory infections. Besides that it is also expensive for the locals.

Streetlights,

Streetlights are more powerful than house lights. They provide light in a village, around schools and kraals to chase away predators. 

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The COVID-19 Coronavirus , what does it mean for tourism and conservation?

We are running the three-months mark since we all learned about a new virus leading to a serious respiratory issue in China. What may have been seen as a Chinese issue at that time is now very much a global problem. We are facing a major and largely unforeseen global challenge that affects people and economics in all corners of the world. The tourism industry and the conservation are no exceptions.

Tourism is facing a serious crisis due to the worldwide pandemic of the COVID-19 corona virus. The stock market has been crashing over the past weeks. Without any certainty about how long this crisis will last or what the final economic and structural impact on tourism will be, potential tourists are more likely to adopt a “wait and see” approach as the crisis unfolds. A less direct, but serious impact is on conservation, especially when its strongly linked to tourism, which is the reality in Namibia. 

The impact on global and local the tourism industry 

International tourism has been growing non-stop since the 1950s. By 2018, the number of arrivals increased to 1.4 billion and is estimated by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) to account for $1.4 trillion and 7% of the value of the world’s goods and services. This means that the virus does not only affect tourism itself but also the global economy.

Since late January the impact of COVID-19 on the tourism has been undisputable. Hotels, airlines, cruise lines and tour operators are among the hardest hit in the industry, suffering from immediate consequences. 

Tourism is one of the main contributors to the Namibian economy, together with mining  and fishing.  According to the report released by the Namibia Tourism Board in 2015 the contribution of tourism to the economy, both directly and indirectly, was estimated at N$ 15.1 billion, (representing 10.2% of overall GDP) and more than 100,700 jobs. (14.5% of total employment)”.

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Storytelling with Watercolor

Alice Colson grew up in the western part of France, the Loire Valley. As a child growing up in an art-loving family, she always enjoyed drawing and painting. She tried different styles of arts, like animation, ceramics and music, to discover which one of them will be better for her.  As a teenager she also took cello lessons and prepare all the big “exams” to get admitted in the Beaux-Arts (arts school). Even though she got selected to study arts, she leaned towards a public administration and political science school in Bordeaux. 

Alice Colson – TOSCO Team member

In 2019 destiny brought her to Namibia and she felt reconnected with nature and wildlife. She really enjoys the country and all the beautiful landscapes that the country has to offer.

“There are some many different landscapes, from the north to the south it varies at lot” . 

Alice

Nowadays she is developing an activity as an illustrator in parallel of her main job which is related to water resources protection and management, climate change and conservation. All this experience gives her extra motivation at the moment to work on her illustrations. 

Why using watercolors?

I like it because it very nomad. It’s very light and it fits anywhere, which allows you to take it with you wherever you go. You just need paper, water and the watercolors. I also like the contact between the water and the colors. I love finding the balance between both of them. Too much water is not good for the drawing but too little is not good either.

I’m a fast painter; I don’t see myself doing oils paintings for example… It takes several weeks to finish one piece. You have to paint, and then wait for it to dry to continue. I’m a bit impatience myself, I think.  

I also wish to tell some stories or sending messages with my paintings. So, I believe it’s easier to transmit strong messages about sensitive topics with watercolors. 

What styles are reflected in your art?

One of my styles is a quite naïve way of drawing. Clear lines, very simple faces with very clear faces expressions. I have 3 identities: the first one more classic comic stretch, the second one is more children oriented, a naïve one, and the third one is landscapes and nature, (that are in my surroundings). I feed my art with these 3 identities. 

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Puros Lion Ranger Report

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Bertus is a lion ranger in Puros – his task is to monitor the lions in the area, serve as an ambassador for the lions in the community and to try to deter the lions when needed. He and his colleague look after other species like giraffe or elephants.

As TOSCO provides funding towards the lion ranger programme in Puros, we receive regular updates from them. Here is the latest one, with the happy news that the lions in the area did not cause trouble and that (some) desert elephants are back in Puros. Continue reading “Puros Lion Ranger Report”

Community Rhino Conservation – TOSCO Supports Rhino Rangers

UntitledNamibia’s wild rhino have a chance for survival if the local people simply do not tolerate poaching, if rhino become more valuable alive than dead – through employment and tourism. This has been at the heart of Namibia’s conservancy programme which has contributed to keeping poaching at bay in the past two decades.

But Namibian rhinos are again under siege.

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TOSCO Promotes Tourism Contributions to Conservation

On Namibia’s communal land, communities organized in conservancies manage an enormous asset: Some of Namibia’s most pristine and scenic landscapes as well as their iconic wildlife. But conservation costs money, and the costs of living with wildlife can be high._64774910_3558-5182Therefore, the tourism businesses associated with TOSCO (Tourism Supporting Conservation) have decided to pay a voluntary conservation contribution to selected conservancies.

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The Case “Rosh” – Lions and Responsible Tourism

On 06 July the Puros lion rangers sent this report on Rosh’s death to TOSCO:

“Dear TOSCO Team

We had a terrible incident where we discover that Rosh was shot to death.  Rosh was born in September 2004 at Uniab river and then move to Hoanib river where he spent time with the lioness of the flood plain and Okongue pride. Continue reading “The Case “Rosh” – Lions and Responsible Tourism”