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Environmental Development and Sustainability in Southern Africa: A Case Study of Government-Led Drought Relief in Namibia Open Access

A major trend in the development arena has been the move away from states and towards NGOs as the primary implementers of development projects. However, the ability of NGOs to achieve their objectives, especially those which require long-term engagement, has been insufficiently examined. This study explores the topic of NGO-led environmental and agricultural development projects in the drylands of southern Africa. This research uses Namibia as a case study, focusing on the //Kharas region, which has been experiencing drought-like conditions since 2012. The //Kharas region provides an illustrative and extreme example of the challenges faced by development actors in African drylands. As such, analysis of this case offers insights for other countries experiencing arid conditions as a result of climate change. Analytical methods used in this study include qualitative analysis of semi-structured interviews conducted with farmers in the //Kharas region, as well as interviews with Washington, DC-based development practitioners. This research ultimately argues development projects, particularly those which address longer-term environmental issues such as land degradation and climate change, require sufficient host government buy-in to be successful and achieve long-term sustainability. The findings have implications for improving our understanding of the factors necessary for sustainable development in drylands, an area of increasing importance due to the specter of climate change.

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