By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK Twenty residents from a previously disadvantaged group in Otjinene in the Omaheke Region recently became new proud homeowners. The latest initiative is a result of a joint effort by the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia (SDFN), the Namibia Housing Action Group (NHAG) and Standard Bank of Namibia. Officially opening the new houses under the Federation’s Tupounongo Saving Scheme in Otjinene last Monday, Governor of the Omaheke Region Laura McLeod commended the effort, saying it addressed socio-economic and development challenges facing the country. Through such public private partnerships, the SFDN has made great strides over the years in creating affordable housing especially for low-income groups. “The federation is busy building the capacity of the less privileged in Namibia to manage money, to encourage regular payments and although this is not an easy task amongst the poor, I would like to encourage them to continue with this work,” said McLeod. She applauded the gesture saying it falls well in line with the central government’s development policy of housing provision during the next five years. “We will continue, as a government to closely work with the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia in mobilizing and creating awareness among the poor communities on the issues of shelter, sanitation, education, health and income generating projects,” added McLeod. The saving groups under the federation has now spread its activities to most parts of the Omaheke Region, benefiting Gobabis, Tjsaka, Leonardville, Witvlei, Aminuis, Epukiro and Tallismanus. Speaking at the same event, Otjinene Regional Councillor Esegiel Toromba said the new houses were a welcome boost, as most of the residents had not owned property in their lives. ” For that, the entire community of the Otjinene Constituency applauds you. People who thought they can afford a decent living and a roof over their heads have been granted that opportunity through the assistance of the Shack Dwellers Federation, Namibia Housing Action Group and Tupounongo Saving Scheme. It is really applaudable,” said Toromba. It was further reported that the Shack Dwellers Programme has been successful with regard to providing houses for people with low income. Standard Bank came on board the housing provision initiative after signing a Memorandum of Understanding and entering a Public Private Partnership with SFDN and NHAG recently. Manager of Public Sector and Black Economic Empowerment of Standard Bank Namibia, Haroldt Geiseb, said the bank took the initiative as part of their corporate social responsibility. “As Standard Bank Namibia, we will continue to honour our obligations as specified in our agreement in the areas of banking, and capacity building in construction and administration,” said Geiseb.