“One man’s trash is another man’s Treasure”

Photo: Chloe Durr

“One man’s trash is another man’s Treasure”

02 March 2020 | Tourism

When visiting arts and craft centres throughout Namibia, visitors are likely to be amazed by the resourcefulness of the Namibian people.

By Chloe Durr

Engraved bracelets and other products made from PVC pipes, beadwork, the twisted brass and copper bangles, wire-made toy cars and much more are likely to excite when visiting the likes of Omba Arts Trust or the Sijwa Project. They work towards the sustainable livelihood of the Namibian nation by supporting marginalized communities in educating, training, producing, selling, reviving and preserving ancient skill sets, whilst also aiding in the development of exciting new products available for the burgeoning tourist market in Namibia.

African Monarch Lodges have built a strong reputation for being a top-notch luxury brand with environmental stewardship and community-uplifting at the core of their business, respectfully adhering to the cultural traditions of the local people. This is done while educating the local folk and working together with them as regards the conservation of one of the few untouched wilderness areas in Namibia, the Bwabwata National Park. It is here that you find the Sijwa Project, which lives by its mantra: “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

The holistic concept behind the Sijwa Project demonstrates its members’ commitment to sustainable tourism and community empowerment. Sijwa is a solution-driven project encompassing not only the impact that rising tourism numbers has on the environment, but also recognizing the potential for creating employment for the people of the north.

Making use of all recyclable waste from their two Lodges in the Zambezi Region (Nambwa Tented Lodge and Kazile Island Lodge) as well as the local community and neighbouring lodges, the project aims to literally turn trash into treasure. The sale of these goods generates an income for the local community. From recycled glass bottle beads (crushed, melted and formed by the community on location), to aluminium cans that are melted and re-formed into uniquely shaped jugs, butter dishes, and coffee cups, their creative vision has no limits.

The very foundations of the Sijwa village are sustainable - the community has constructed its buildings making use of plastic bottles, which are recycled by filling them with sand and using them as bricks. This is the basis of a centre which serves as a hub for innovation and the preservation of skills.

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