Windhoek Jul 30-In 2015, Ohorongo Cement acknowledged the dreams of SDFN members to have their own houses, and as such, approached the FNB Foundation Trust and Pupkewitz Foundation, to ensure a dedicated effort for support. The three partners joined hands towards the end of 2015, in support of this community driven housing initiative. This partnership was a direct result on the plea for private sector and the public at large to assist in the provision of housing nationwide, in support of Namibia’s development policies aimed at leading the country towards prosperity, the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP). The three partners then committed N$ 9 million over a 3 year period to SDFN for the total Namibia. Focussing on sustainability, delivery of houses by the 3 partners were as follows: 2016: 91 houses Omaruru, Tsumeb, Tsandi, Otavi 2017: 84 houses Keetmanshoop, Otavi, Mariental, Luderitz, Katima Mulilo 2018: 76 houses Outjo, Otavi, Henties Bay Ohorongo committed in 2017 to provide the Narraville community with further support in the form of a container to use for storage of cement & other building materials on site. Initially, the development of the Narraville project was slow, however, it recently showed progress, resulting in Ohorongo being able to only honour its commitment today, when they officially handed over the container for use during the SDFN Narraville project. After extensive travels throughout Namibia, Ohorongo also found that very few people managed to manufacture bricks correctly. In view of that, the company launched the first ever Ohorongo Brickmaking Academy training in 2017. The Brickmaking Academy started as a contribution towards the war against poverty by Ohorongo Cement. This training was offered at no cost to the selective trainees in all 14 regions in the country. The company’s partnership with SDFN and its contribution towards the provision of sustainable housing, is further solidified by offering brickmaking training to 26 members of the Narraville SDFN network.
“In order to build strong structures that lasts for generations to come, you need quality building blocks,” said Martha Mwatile, Civil Engineer, Concrete Specialist at Ohorongo Cement. “Thus, the quality of the bricks you use to build your house, is very important. Input determines output, so you have to ensure you use the highest quality materials when you want to build your house,” she said. “We have only one expectation from the trainees present here today,” said Jurgens Nel, Technical Advisor at the training. “We expect that every trainee transfers these skills & knowledge to others in their communities. These skills could also be used to create an income for the trainees, which could also create additional employment, on top of the fact that it is a huge cost saver when bricks are manufactured on site, which saves a load of money on transport costs,” said Jurgens. To date, more than 300 people have been trained by Ohorongo on how to manufacture bricks correctly. The three hour training entailed both theoretical and practical guidance in the production of quality bricks, as well as on quality assurance mechanisms and the maintenance and caretaking of brick moulds and other equipment. Juliana Van Wyk is 58 years of age and has 6 kids to provide for. She became a member in 2007 when they started mobilisation of the groups. “There were only 4 groups at that point in time: Stand Together, Platsak, Tulipamwe and New Beginning. In 2009 we applied for 68 unserviced erven at the Walvis Bay Town Council. The erven were not incorporated into the town borders yet until 2016 when it was finally incorporated. In 2009 the Federation conveyed a survey, after which we started another 3 groups: Lang Verwag, Good Hope & Brave Eagles. I have been saving since 2007,” says Juliana. “The training I received today equipped me with new knowledge on how to manufacture a brick correctly. We are thankful to Ohorongo Cement for the skills they imparted to us, as we believe it will open new doors for a brighter future for us all, so we can start building in October this year still,” she said. Rudi Maclobo is 57 years old and lives in a single room with his wife and three children. The cost for rent is N$ 2 500 per month and we have no privacy. The schoolwork of the kids are even deteriorating,” he said. He also joined the Federation in 2007. Since then, the members have increased from 68 members to more than 1 245 members currently. “We recruit more members every Sunday from the grounds in Narraville, but since we started, 4 people from Stand Together group alone already passed away with their dreams unfulfilled. We take great care to identify a relative of the deceased to carry on with the work to ensure a legacy,” said Francisco Maree, Chairman of the Narraville Network. Rudi added that the Walvis Bay Municipality has assisted them greatly by helping with filling the erven. “However, we need to level the grounds, which costs a lot of money. We have identified contractors who does earthmoving, but diesel is expensive and we have to contribute. But if we only earn N$ 3 000 per month, how will we pay for it?” he said. “We need at least N$ 7 million for levelling and servicing before we can start building. We do our part…we have already paid N$ 117 000 to a land surveyor and N$ 68 000 deposit to an engineer for plans which were approved by Municipality of Walvis Bay,” bemoaned Rudi. “The Federation will assist us with N$ 4 000 per member for manholes & sewerage by means of a loan, which means we still have to pay that back too. But the Roads and earthworks are still our biggest challenges,” said Francisco. Rudi added that he has manufactured bricks before, but that they kept on falling apart. “But now I know that the quallity of the bricks determines for how long the house will stand, and I can now train others in the community. I will build my house and it will be quality, the quality of the bricks determines the outcome which will remain for the next generation,” he said. The group members are particularly excited about the two brickmaking machines which was donated to them by Hon. Governor Cleophas Mutjuvikwa. One is in Walvis Bay and one Arandis. “Together, we can make it, just like our song encourages us to do. So thank you very much to Ohorongo Cement for taking our hands here today,” said Franicisco.