Representatives of Ohorongo Cement, FNB Foundation and Pupkewitz Foundation worked side by side with the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia (SDFN) and community members when the construction of houses for low-income families commenced in Otavi yesterday.
Since the launch of this public-private partnership initiative earlier this year, progress at the Otavi site was prevalent as foundations were dug and bricks were made. The first foundations were poured on Saturday.
The three private companies joined hands to support the provision of community-driven houses for low-income families, by pledging N$3 million to SDFN and National Housing Action Group in March this year.
In the quest to build 91 houses for 2016, the identified projects are currently manufacturing bricks in Omaruru, with construction to commence in August. In Tsumeb the group has commenced with land clearing and planning of houses. In Tsandi, building materials have been purchased and construction should be completed by September, while in Otavi housing plans have been approved with the first foundations laid and brick-making in full swing.
“The escalating demand for low-cost housing in Namibia has reached a crisis point and requires urgent assistance, not only from government, but also from the private sector and assistance from every Namibian citizen,” said Hans-Wilhelm Schütte, Managing Director of Ohorongo Cement.
“Empathy for fellow Namibians and supporting government initiatives are the driving factors that motivated the companies to join hands in the fight against poverty eradication, by supporting the SDFN/NHAG,” said Schütte.
“FNB deeply cares about the Namibian people, but also places special focus on taking care of our planet,” said Angelique Peake representing FNB Foundation.
“Forming partnerships that can help us achieve our goal of creating a better world, by using profit as an enabler to assist our communities, directly speaks to our strategy,” she said.
“Instead of trying to run independent in-house initiatives, the three partners decided to work hand in hand with reputable organisations like NSDFN/NHAG, who clearly have a winning recipe when looking at their results and outcomes to date,” said Angelo Helmuth General Manager: Business Development Pupkewitz Foundation.
“Staff present here today indicated that they would bring more staff members from the branches to witness the progress and participate in supporting the local community with the building activities,” he said.
Mayor of Otavi, Martha Shipanga, encouraged the community to call on their children to stick out their hands and assist them with construction of the houses. “Even if they do not have money, they can use their hands and help,” she said.
“A vital part of the success is to learn from one another by transferring skills and knowledge,” said Heinrich Amushila from SDFN. “This is one of the very powerful tools for capacity building, which is one of the core elements which makes our organization so successful and forms part of every project – the fact that the communities can learn from one another,” he said.
He mentioned that since the launch of the initiative earlier this year, the fund has grown from strength to strength and many others are enquiring on how to support and join the fight against poverty eradication and the huge need for housing.