Elizabeth Sanson '20 - Indigenous Topnaar community meeting video

Elizabeth Sanson '20 video depicts a community meeting hosted by Dartmouth, the Topnaar Traditional Authority, and Gobabeb Namib Research Institute.


The Topnaar Traditional Authority (TA) governs the indigenous Topnaar community living in the !Kuiseb river valley in Namibia. The TA must establish a community development plan in collaboration with the Namibian government. In support of this activity, Dartmouth College and Gobabeb Namib Research Institute (located in the Namib Naukluft and Dorob National Parks) hosted a community meeting November 2019. During the meeting, community members explained their main challenges and development goals through a community mapping process and an exercise called 'the problem tree.' Attendees allowed us to take video footage from the meeting, which has the potential to provide an opportunity to innovatively communicate the community's main development goals in support of the community development process, so they can make informed decisions on how to allocate development funds for improved natural resource management and community development or community based natural resource management (CBNRM). Hearing the community's opinions will allow the local government actors and TA to invest in projects that best serve the needs of the Topnaar people.

The video project utilized footage from the Topnaar community meeting, B-roll of the Kuiseb region collected from ENVS students and Gobebeb staff and visitors, Zoom interviews conducted with community meeting organizers, interviews with Topnaar community members, and scripted narration to clearly communicate community needs to government authorities. The video was produced by Elisabeth Sanson under the direction of Dr. Julie Snorek, a post-doctoral scholar in ENVS. Funding for this initiative was provided by the Paulson Fund.