By July 2022, more than 40% of Namibia’s overall population and around 80% of its urban population currently live in shacks and rented rooms in informal settlements, according to the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia’s (SDFN) 2022 annual report released recently.
The Federation indicated that those living in the ghettos have little or no access to municipal infrastructure and services.
The Federation has highlighted that the ghetto population is a testament to the country’s housing crisis.
“These are extremely high proportions by all standards and testify to the extent of the national land and housing crisis,” the SDFN stated.
It said the urban population is expected to increase even further amid the slow housing provisions and this will put more pressure on municipalities.
“More than half of the Namibians live in urban areas, a share which by 2050 is expected to increase to more than two-thirds. While urbanisation brings many opportunities, it also comes with challenges,” the report said.
The SDFN Community Land Information Programme (CLIP) indicated that 219,936 households in informal settlements were profiled by 2018 across all urban areas in Namibia, with varying degrees of services, tenure, and shelter.
From July 2021 to the end of June 2022, a total of 359 houses were constructed by SDFN and the Namibia Housing Action Group (NHAG).
Furthermore, by June 2022 there were opportunities for 1,400 houses to be constructed through the SDFN/NHAG process once additional funding is available.
The Federation, with the technical support of NHAG and funding through the Twahangana Fund, has built a total of 7,244 houses for poor and low-income people in Namibia.
Assuming four people live in such a house built by SDFN/NHAG this means that close to 30,000 people have moved into a life with dignity and hope.
The annual report indicated that the SDFNmembers install affordable basic services for less than N$7,000 per household and manage the construction of houses for less than N$40,000 per house that is 34 square metres big.
By the end of the 2021/2022 financial year, the saving groups of SDFN that earn less than N$5,000 or do not have any income at all in all 14 regions of Namibia, have saved collectively N$39 millionto meet their needs for affordable land, housing, infrastructure, and services – such as water and sanitation.
The N$39 million was saved by 956 savings groups with a total of 29,718 members , of which 66% are women.
The report detailed that by way of intensified engagement with national and local authorities, there is an enhanced potential for the lowest-income population to receive priority attention in housing and infrastructure.
The Federation acknowledged the private sector as a key partner in the development of low-cost housing and for the Twahangana Fund, despite the challenging economic climate caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
At the same time, national and international civil society partnerships have widened and so has joint learning and innovation in bottom-up housing and settlement upgrading.
The activities of the SDFN and the NHAG were enabled by the financial support from various partners like Misereor, the German Catholic Bishops’ Organisation for Development Cooperation.
The Shack/Slum Dwellers International (SDI) provided funding through United Nations Office for Project Services/ City Alliance and their Know Your City TVProgramme.
The Ministry of Urban and Rural Development also financed house construction as well as informal settlement upgrading through their annual contribution to the Twahangana Fund.
In four towns NHAG/SDFN’s informal settlement upgrading activities are implemented in collaboration with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).
Through the Public Slum Upgrading Programme, the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) collaborated with NHAG/SDFN.
In the 2022 period, various private companies contributed not only to the construction of houses but also assisted with technical support and capacity building.
FirstRand Namibia Trust, Pupkewitz Foundation, Ohorongo Cement, Twin Hills Trust, Osino Resources, and Standard Bank Namibia through the Buy-a-Brick Initiative.
In the report, theSDFN/NHAGexpressed their appreciation for various donations towards their housing activities.”This way everyone can do her/his part to improve the lives of less privileged people, living in the informal settlements of Namibia,” they said in the report.
Any amount donated to the Shack Dwellers qualifies for income tax deductibility as approved by NamRa. Email: email@example.com