For Albi Brückner, the visionary ‘wildland philanthropist’ who started NamibRand Nature Reserve, it was all about the environment and the protection of the fragile and endangered ecosystem, maintained through low impact travel. Tourism, which enabled the non-profit reserve to collect park fees, was seen as a means to an end and not the ultimate purpose.
Today, four years after Albi left this world, this primary purpose remains. It has, however, become more accepted that ‘the paradigm’ needs to shift to include a social development agenda too. This next generation of NamibRand stakeholders will get on with Albi’s dream – growing the reserve, tearing down fences and boundaries for the sake of nature, improving work efficiency, and collaborating on a global level – while also addressing the human development agenda.
Stephan Brückner – Albi’s youngest son – has been at the ‘helm’ of Wolwedans since inception. He wants to build on this solid and healthy conservation foundation and, in addition to planet and profit (Wolwedans is also about running a prosperous enterprise after all), establish ‘people/human development’ (‘Menschenbildung’) as a primary purpose at Wolwedans.
Developing “Social Capital” (for the lack of a better term), mainly through the Desert Academy and a ‘consciously’ lived value system might arguably be the biggest positive impact Wolwedans can achieve, thereby contributing to the development of Namibia as a whole.
People – employees and trainees – and their well-being, development, empowerment, growth, inspiration, and importantly ‘happiness’ in harmony with nature (the latter includes guests), are at the heart of the Wolwedans philosophy and The AridEden Project.