Faces2Hearts vloggers Konrad Sniady from Poland and Sibongile Tshabalala from Namibia, shared their experiences of traveling through Namibia to visit EU funded Projects during a press conference in Windhoek.
Faces2Hearts, a campaign implemented by UNICEF and supported by the European Union, aims to give visibility to EU actions as well as to foster cultural exchanges and human connections across the world. Twenty young vloggers-video bloggers (10 EU and 10 non-EU) were taken on a life-changing adventure to 10 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Namibia was selected as one of the countries to be visited.
During the press conference vloggers Konrad and Sibongile shared their stories of the projects and people they encountered as well as their experiences during their one-month trip.
The two visited eight projects all over Namibia including the KAZA Project - which (when implemented) will create cross-border SADC (linking national parks at each border point) super-parks with the aim of conservation, regional tourism growth and unrestricted wildlife movement, Waka Waka Moo-Namibia’s first locally produced early childhood development television program, and SCIONA, a project which studies the migration of the ‘refugee’ giraffes of Angola.
Both ‘vloggers’ spoke with admiration on how the various communities survive and remain strong despite their harsh conditions of poverty and the current drought. Some of the stories that were shared included the fisher men and women of the Kavango who have struggled with decreased stock numbers over the years, have found systems to work for their current state, and still remain positive in their profession. “Most of the communities where these projects exist are fully engaged. The communities have taken ownership over these projects because their lives are the ones at stake,” Sibongile said.
Of her experience, Sibongile had this to say, “I felt like a tourist in my own country. I did not go to places as ‘Sibongile a Namibian’, but as someone who had to deeply examine people and their culture from behind the lens. It made me more connected to Namibia because I saw firsthand how resilient we are as Namibians.”
She further added, “I loved witnessing how industrious we are as a people, especially women in small communities.” When asked how people are dealing with the current economic climate and drought Sibongile said, “Oh, they have been hit hard. Once you put a face to a problem, you see how difficult it actually is.”
Konrad felt sad to leave Namibia and enjoyed every moment of the trip, except the take-away road food during the trip. “I’m sad that I’m leaving because I’m going back to the grumpiest people at home! It was a life-changing experience.”
For the future, Sibongile hopes to start a project to share stories on “women working on the ground” and Konrad was inspired to create “social and environmentally cautious content,” on his YouTube channel.
Both vloggers hope for more Namibians to watch their videos and learn more about development projects and cultures in Namibia.