By Cathy Godfrey
KATIMA MULILO, May 10 – The official handover of 134 houses in Katima Urban(80) and Kongola (54) constituencies, constructed by the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia, took place on Monday and Tuesday.
Saving groups from the two constituencies initiated the development for themselves with funds loaned from Standard Bank Namibia’s Buy-A-Brick project and the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development.
The government has demonstrated its trust in the work of the federation by providing financial support to boost their efforts at providing houses. To date, the government’s financial support has amounted to N$91, 8 million used to construct 3 064 houses countrywide. This support will continue in the future.
Speaking at the Katima Mulilo event on Tuesday, Grace Mwiya, a leader in the homeless saving group, said the majority of their members are women as women are the driving force of this nation. They were very grateful for this opportunity, she said and pointed out they had been with the Shack Dwellers Federation since its inception in 2003. They had grown in leaps and bounds since then and hope to grow further
Keynote speaker, Minister of Rural and Urban Development, Erastus Uutoni, said he was proud to be speaking to an audience that contributes to the vision of eradicating inequality, poverty and homelessness. He admired the efforts shown to address the housing shortage and other socio-economic issues that Namibians faced. Housing remains a complex subject, with pressure on urban areas becoming severe as demonstrated by rapidly increasing urbanisation rates over the last two decades.
In light of that, the government recognises everyone’s right to an adequate standard of living, and housing and the provision of basic infrastructure and services remain a top priority at all levels.
He said the collective efforts by the community and the federation expressed hope and meaning in the lives of men, women and children, who share the very same hopes that we all have for better, safer and more promising lives.
These efforts show there are solutions to problems that we are struggling with every day, and there are reasons to believe that we can succeed in our search for better prospects for people.
The minister concluded by urging other private sector players to support such causes, and local authorities with jurisdiction over urban land, especially serviced land, to make it available to the federation, to help build affordable houses.
He also thanked the Mashi Traditional Authority and Katima Mulilo Town Council for providing land so this project could be realised. – Namibia Daily News