For now soup kitchens will not benefit from the food bank project, but the Ministry of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare wants to create partnerships with soups kitchens to assist vulnerable people, wherever possible.
Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare I-Ben Nashandi said this on the sidelines of the opening of the food bank training workshop for street committees in Katutura East Constituency, where 40 trainees will undergo two hours trainings for five days.
Participants will be trained on the importance of what they are doing; how to identify beneficiaries; and about going into the field and distributing food. So far 227 street committees have been trained.
At the event Minister of Poverty Eradication Zephania Kameeta introduced Zack Pienaar from the Dutch Reform Church in Eros, who is also the CEO of Imako Day.
His organisation works in community development projects all over the city. Its basic aim is to bring together businesses and corporates to help them to deliver on their corporate social responsibility. The organisation will also help link local soup kitchens with established businesses.
Pienaar said they go to these businesses and find out how much they are willing to give. “If you give back some of the money you make out of these communities, we are the organisation to manage it on your behalf. There is a lot of poverty in our community.
“People with community develop projects come to us and say ‘We need money to make our project work’ and then we take from the money the businesses give us and invest in the community development project. There is a certain part of our work we call ‘the pantry’. There we just deal with getting food and giving food to people in need,” said Pienaar.
Kameeta added that after Pienaar visited their office they resolved that Pienaar and his colleagues would be trained as street committees and would go out to distribute food. “When you come across a soup kitchen, or people serving others, they (Imako) can assist us also to find a company, which will support these people with food. So, that’s the importance. We can do it within the context of the ministry, but it is a lot of work and it takes time and they have the experience of linking. It will be a joint venture of joining these soup kitchens with these particular people,” said Kameeta.
He further said the ministry has a huge task of eradicating poverty in Namibia, but he believes poverty can be overcome as it was created by people because of injustice, greed and selfishness.
He advised the trainees not to quarrel with people in the community and to assist each other throughout the process. “Join hands. If one falls down, lift them up and work together with other constituencies. You must make sure Katutura after two to three years will not be the same and make sure no people from Katutura East will go to the rubbish dump [to look for food].”
Food bank consultant Angel Dalmau said the entire Khomas Region will benefit from the food bank with the exception of Windhoek East and West and Windhoek Rural. He said this is so, because this project is only meant to target urban and semi-urban areas. “But in Windhoek East and Windhoek West structures are already there,” he further explained.
Nashandi noted that the food bank covers parts of Windhoek Rural, Mix Settlement and Brakwater and the ministry might extend their operations to nearby settlements.