Shack Dwellers Federation receives N$2m boost from Standard Bank

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Grateful… Community members of Havana settlement dance in jubilation as they are accompanied by the Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Sophia Shaningwa, the Mayor of Windhoek, Muesee Kazapua, and Standard Bank’s chief executive, Vetumbuavi Mungunda.

Staff Reporter

Windhoek-In marking its second annual campaign launch, Standard Bank through its Buy-a-Brick initiative donated N$2 million to the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia in Windhoek’s Havana informal settlement on Friday.

The bank’s flagship Buy-a-Brick fundraising initiative was launched in October 2015 with the aim of helping in alleviating the housing shortage in the country for no or low-income households who live in shacks.

The bank previously donated N$1.4 million to the federation, which was raised through the sale of token bricks in the form of erasers. With those proceeds the federation managed to build over 40 new houses in Rehoboth.

Standard Bank’s chief executive, Vetumbuavi Mungunda, officially handed over the donation in the presence of the Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Sophia Shaningwa, the Chairperson of the Regional Council, Rachel Jacobs, and the Mayor of Windhoek, Muesee Kazapua, to name but a few.

“We announced the inception of this flagship initiative in 2015 with two key objectives: To render our support and contribution to help alleviate the acute shortage of housing in Namibia, especially for the low and no-income members of our society, and increase awareness about this plight of housing shortage and the efforts of the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia amongst the Namibian public and the private sector, in particular for them to find ways of lending their support,” Mungunda said during the handover.

He added that since its inception the corporate social investment initiative has grown in leaps and bounds. “Our contribution, although insufficient in relation to the scale of the shortage, is a contribution that will house families, step by step, and after 10 years, 20 years or 50 years we may look back to the many families provided with decent houses and homes through this Buy-a-Brick community initiative. As they say, Rome was not built in a day, we will be patient.”

“Let’s work together to find solutions to challenges within our home. The Buy-a-Brick initiative ensures that our children have a better home environment, and by doing things differently a house becomes a home … egumbo, onganda. So how can we use our muscle to mobilize fundraising on behalf of our community and increase the awareness on their plight?”

Early this year Mungunda hosted a CE challenge, during which key stakeholders and various captains of industry were invited to visit the homes of some of the members of the federation in Windhoek still living in shacks and in desperate need of brick houses. These host families are now the recipients of the donations and their dreams of building brick houses will come to fruition.

Fortunately, the federation’s members who are based in Otjinene in the Omaheke Region and Berseba in the //Kharas Region will also benefit from this donation as they have also been awarded loans to build their homes. These towns were pre-selected as per the regional representation of the Shack Dwellers Federation in the country.

The 43 percent increase from last year’s donation of N$1.4 million is indicative of the uptake of this initiative by Namibians and their genuine interest and concern in helping to alleviate the housing shortage challenge.

As such the CE thanked corporates and good Samaritans that dug deep into their coffers and pockets in making this annual project a grand success once again.

“We will continue to strive to be relevant in the communities in which we operate as this is reflective of our defined purpose as an organization – ‘Namibia is our home; we drive her growth.’ This purpose gives us our reason for existence and calls on us to face the realities of our home, Namibia, and work together within our Namibian home to find solutions,” he said.

The Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Sophia Shaningwa, commended Standard Bank for its commitment to aid in alleviating the housing shortage in the country, stressing that these kinds of initiatives will aid the government in achieving its long-term goals such as Vision 2030.

“I would like to thank Standard Bank for mobilizing the private sector and public for actively contributing in eradicating the housing shortage in the country through the Buy-a-Brick initiative. Standard Bank under the stewardship of its chief executive has adhered to financial prudence and good governance which I commend them for,” she said.

Additionally, Shaningwa urged other companies to also come up with initiatives such as the Buy-a-Brick that will aid in eradicating poverty in the country, and reassured that the government will support these endeavours wholeheartedly.

“Namibia is an asset and so are her people. We stand for the people and we will listen to them … The government will bring economic and infrastructural development to disadvantaged communities. I would also like to urge the recipients of these funds to utilise them efficiently,” she added.

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