By: Nghiinomenwa Erastus
A partnership between Shack Dwellers Federation, Namibia Housing Action Group, and various stakeholders delivered 13 houses to its members within the ghetto-filled Havana.
A process that took 20 years to accomplish for the Tuyeni Saving Group confirmed Heinrich Amushila, the federation coordinator.
The synergy and capital were pooled through Standard Bank, Pupkewitz, Ohorongo Cement, Neopaint, First Rand to complement the 13 members’ savings to realise their dreams of owning a house.
The houses constructed through the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia (SFDN) were handed over officially to their owners by the Urban and rural development minister, Erastus Uutoni.
The 13 members who received the houses are part of the Ituyeni Saving Group- the group has 28 members, with 12 females.
The group has a saving of N$52 000.
They received a piece of land from Windhoek in 2000, with an agreement to pay it off in five years.
According to Inga Boye, the SFDN Khomas Region facilitator, the sales deed was cancelled as some members failed to pay off the land.
“That did not deter us by giving up. We continued saving,” explained Boye.
She said they had approached the city with the assistance of the Namibia Housing Action Group (NHGN) to be given a second chance to pay for their land.
The second chance was given in 2014, and the group drew up their building plans providing hope for some construction activities to start, but the city did not approve it.
Boye said the plans were not approved because the building standards and regulations had changed, and the land needed to be consolidated.
She said the struggle was long with many challenges, but they did not give up.
On behalf of her group members, she testified that “there is no easy way to get a house as ultra and low-income earner except organising ourselves through Shack Dwellers Federation”.
Boye said in the federation; they have different activities. Apart from saving, they do their bookkeeping, construction, and land servicing (water and sewer).
While the upgrading of informal settlement is done through the Community Land Information Programme (CLIP) in partnership with government, regional and local authorities, and the National Alliance for informal Settlement upgrade.
She called on local authorities, including the city of Windhoek, to support the informal settlement upgrading process through community participation and inclusivity.
Boye also asked the various municipalities to allocate land to their landless members as they continue saving.
“This will help us to get rid of shacks and have a place we call home,” she stated.
Beyond annual governmental allocation to the federation, Boye highlighted her gratitude to all the stakeholders who came on board to fulfil their 20 years journey and deliver on their first houses.
The NHAG provides technical support to the federation in preparing the land for construction and the building.
Other contributors were the One Economy Foundation and Windhoek Regional Council.
SOCIALLY JUST AND INCLUSIVE URBAN
Speaking at the official handover, Pupkewitz Foundation chief executive officer Meryl Barry said admiration goes to the SFDN for its crucial role in making urban development more socially just and inclusive.
She said the federation represents the community voice and has set an exemplary path on mobilising stakeholders to deliver on a common objective cost-effectively and reliably.
“It is a strong example of a community lead capacity to manage donor funds wheater they come from the private sector or government,” stated Barry.
She said the country’s housing challenges could only be adequately addressed through partnership, with stakeholders tackling it differently.
She said that each house represents an improvement in the health and lifestyle of the household and will assist in their economic status improvement and mobility.
She has also acknowledged the role played by the main contributors in the saving groups, especially females.
Barry calls upon on male counterpart to equally share in the responsibility of caring for a family.
“We need a collective effort to increase the impact,” she added. Email: email@example.com