By Donna Collins
THE Shack Dwellers Federation of
Namibia (SDFN) members are building 36 low-cost housing units in Swakopmund.
There was a celebratory atmosphere in the air last week, when Namibia Housing Action Group co-director, Heinrich Amushila, proudly showed off the rows of nearly completed houses, as proof that if people really want to make a difference to their living conditions, it can be done through hard work and commitment.
The Namibia Housing Action Group is assisting the SDFN, which is a non-governmental, community-based organisation that was established in 1998.
It is a network of 730 housing saving schemes, with around 23 000 members throughout the country.
Community savings has been used to secure land, and to leverage additional government contributions, enabling the group to build over 4 600 houses and secure land for roughly 6 500 families.
First Lady Monica Geingos is the patron of the SDFN.
Amushila said that construction of the Swakopmund houses started at the end of January. The purchase cost of each house is N$45 000. He applauded the progress that was made in just a few months, and said he looks forward to the next 100 houses being built in Walvis Bay.
All 36 houses have been allocated to the prospective owners, who have all contributed towards a savings kitty.
“We are currently negotiating with Erongo RED to install prepaid electricity into the houses, which is expected to be around June, after which the people will be able to take occupation of their respective units,” Amushila said.
“Once the land was made available to us by the municipality, it was all hands on deck by the members, to start building, and we did it all ourselves, to keep the costs low.”
This is the second batch of SDFN houses to be built in the town since 30 units were constructed in 1998, as no land had been made available by council since then, until the recent shack dwellers project.
A total of N$1.6 million made available by the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development for the current SDFN housing project.
Each house comprises of a bedroom, a bathroom with a shower, and an open plan lounge/kitchen area, with enough room to expand.
The neat, compact dwellings have all been constructed by the SDFN, including the painting and fitting installations.
Many women were among those who did the work.
Acting Swakopmund Municipality Chief Executive Officer, Marco Swarts, said that the initiative deserves all the full support of the council, as it is encouraging people to take ownership of their own progress.
Standard Bank Swakopmund Branch Manager, Gerhardus Cloete, was also full of praise for the project, saying that it is remarkable to see 36 decent houses being constructed in such a short time.
“The provision of affordable housing is a major priority for all of us, and Standard Bank’s longstanding ten-year partnership with the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia, is paying off,” he said.
“The Standard Bank Buy-A-Brick project, which took off last year, is aimed at addressing the lack of housing for low or no-income groups throughout Namibia, and is for the benefit of the SDFN members.
“I am proud to be associated with this project, which saw us raising an amount of N$1.4 million last year, resulting in the construction of over 40 new houses for the people in Rehoboth,” Cloete said.
He encouraged every Namibian and the corporate sector to contribute towards the Buy-A-Brick initiative, which would ultimately facilitate a future in which there was no shacks in Namibia.
He said that every Namibian has a right to a home, which has access to basic water, sanitation facilities and electricity.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015