Flag of Namibia


Before independence in 1990, wildlife populations in Namibia’s communal areas were plummeting as a result of extensive poaching during prolonged military occupation. To stem the tide of species loss while maintaining and improving livelihoods, USAID supported biodiversity conservation and sustainable forest management in Namibia from 1992 until 2008, through its Living in a Finite Environment (LIFE) program. The 15-year investment of USAID in the CBNRM program has contributed to impressive results and pushed Namibia to the forefront of the CBNRM practice worldwide. This success was largely due to the vision of the government of Namibia and the efforts of the World Wild Fund (WWF), and partners, through a cooperative agreement with USAID, international partners, the private sector, support organizations, and Namibian communities and leaders who pushed for poverty reduction in rural areas. USAID invested approximately US$40 million in the Namibia CBNRM program, which was matched by a similar amount through government of Namibia and partner contributions.



  • Strengthened institutional capacity of CBNRM support organizations through the LIFE program, and fostered the creation of ten NGOs, half of which are headed by previously disadvantaged Namibians.
  • Facilitated, jointly with other development partners, the registration of 52 conservan­cies benefiting 223,000 previously disad­vantaged Namibians by the end of 2008.
  • Established the Namibian Association of CBNRM.
  • Helped early conservancies, such as Salam­bala, to become financially self-dependent.
  •  Assisted the National CBNRM Program develop the curricula for diploma and B-Tech degree.
  • Improved natural resources management, by helping conservancies develop sustainable resource-use plans, training community game guards to monitor wildlife populations and conduct anti-poaching patrols; and by re-introducing game species.
  • Enhanced the involvement of historically disadvantaged Namibians by fostering awareness of emerging CBNRM development opportunities — which helped change their attitudes toward wildlife and conservation.
  • Trained community members interested in careers as professional field guides.
  • Helped communal farmers to access funding to kick-start their businesses, facilitated links to markets and opened up channels of communication to government and other agencies.
  • Supported small enterprise development, such as the development of campsites, craft outlets and cultural villages.

While USAID`s primary effort was in the area of natural resource conservation with focus on strengthening the CBNRM movement, USAID supported efforts to save the cheetah. 

Global Climate change

USAID is also supporting early warning systems to help mitigate the effects of global climate change such as drought and flooding may have on the country.