No More Water Woes for Tsintsabis Community

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By Engel Nawatiseb TSINTSABIS The Deputy Minister of Lands and Resettlement Isak Katali received three rehabilitated water points on behalf of the Tsintsabis community last week. Katali appealed to the Tsintsabis Project and water committees to work hand in hand in conscientising the resettled communities to take ownership of the project and their own development by understanding the importance of water as a common resource, as well as to adhere to the principles of maintaining the facilities by putting them to good use. He stressed that the success of the resettlement programme and land reform in the country depends on the involvement of stakeholders who have a role to play. “I wish to commend RISE NAIMIBIA for addressing one of the most important basic needs of beneficiaries – water. Your support will go a long way in ensuring the realization of dreams for the beneficiaries of the Tsintsabis project. We have all seen during the site visits the high quality work that has been completed by RISE NAMIBIA,” said Katali. He added that resettlement beneficiaries needed society’s support in complementing their efforts towards self-reliance, because such beneficiaries were resettled due to their vulnerable circumstances in the first place. Katali noted that his ministry has been assisting the San communities at Tsintsabis through the provision of farming implements, machinery, materials as well as training. Speaking at the same occasion, RISE NAMIBIA’s managing director Pintile Davids said his institution’s involvement in the project was prompted by its strong conviction that resettlement farms could be used productively to contribute significantly towards household food security. “Our overall objective for involvement in Tsintsabis is to promote integrated sustainable development for improved rural livelihoods and quality of life for all. This can however only be attained if adequate resources and skills are availed to the settlers.” Davids however stressed that settlers of such farms equally need to display and demonstrate a strong sense of feeding themselves in future in order to ensure that resources and energies invested in the project do not go to waste. RISE NAMIBIA commenced the rehabilitation of water points some two years ago at a cost of N$138 000, funded by the French Embassy in Namibia. The solar-driven water points are electrified in order to prevent vandalism, and are only accessible to the committee members. The French Counsellor for Cooperation and Cultural Affairs, Marcel Jouve pledged the commitment of his country in its bilateral cooperation as well as within the United Nations to promote sustainable development and the use of clean and renewable energy in developing countries. “To address the water issue is the first step to a comprehensive development of the community and in particular to the success of another component of the project which is the new attempt to promote livestock farming and gardening as new activities generating income and ensuring food security. The future developments now depend mostly on the community itself and we are looking forward to coming back to Tsintsabis after some time to observe an improvement in the living conditions of the members of the community.” A local farmer, Andreas Kausawab urged government to introduce agricultural programmes that could occupy farmers after the harvest season. He told Katali that although he had a good harvest to sustain his household, he might not survive until the next harvest bacause he is unable to resort to another project that would generate a basic income. “As a result some of us abandon our fields and look for employment elsewhere. We need assistance in this regard,” said Kausawab. The San community of Tsintsabis also benefited from a water borehole in the past, which was jointly sponsored by the International Association of Lions Club and its German-based Mosbach and the Alte Feste Lions Club in Windhoek. The borehole, which was sponsored to an amount of N$60 000 to the Tsintsabis Junior Secondary school in the Oshivelo Education circuit near Tsumeb, reportedly relieved the plight of the San learners who were previously forced to travel long distances to collect water. The Mosbach Lions Club initiative also provided N$500 000 to complete the construction of six new classrooms, which were inaugurated in June 2000. Betty Kaula, principal of the Tsintsabis Junior Secondary school, with more than 400 learners, commended the Lions Club for the generous sponsorship but expressed disappointment at Government’s reluctance to participate in the project. When approached for assistance, the Guinas Constituency Development Fund, various private companies and non-governmental organizations were apparently reluctant to assist in the water crisis, noted Kaula. “My humble request to our Government is that we still need more classrooms because we are currently using the old renovated buildings as classrooms for grade 1 – 4, which do not have enough space as they are small, and poles in the middle of the rooms pose a serious obstruction during the learning process,” she pleaded. The principal further expressed an urgent need for the construction of a science laboratory to prevent the mobility of scientific equipment from one storeroom to the science classroom. Kaula commended the Lions International Club for its flexible response to the school’s request for a borehole, saying that the learners will utilize water to clean their environment, plant and grow vegetables and fruit trees in order to make a living out of it. Oshikoto Regional Governor, Penda Ya Ndakolo urged the San community to go an extra mile by initiating projects to produce some food for themselves such as carrots, spinach, cabbage, onions and others. “By producing your own food, this will eliminate dependency and hunger among the Tsintsabis community. Should you produce more the surplus should be sold and funds obtained can be further invested and some can be used to buy additional seeds.”