Khomas governor urges shack dwellers to engage with Government

13 Jun 2015 22:10pm
WINDHOEK, 13 JUN (NAMPA) – Governor of Khomas Region, Laura McLeod-Katjirua has encouraged the leadership of the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia (SDFN) and Namibia Housing Action Group (NHAG) to continue engaging with Government on whatever assistance they might need.
McLeod-Katjirua said this during the opening of a two-day national meeting of the SDFN and NHAG in the capital on Saturday.
“I can tell you and I can assure you that at one time they (government) will hear what you are saying, and at one time you will get a response,” she assured the participants.
The SDFN is a network of saving groups that aim to improve the living conditions of low-income people living in shacks, rented rooms and those without any accommodation, while promoting women’s participation. SDFN is affiliated to Shack Dwellers International (SDI).
NHAG is a non-governmental organisation that was established in 1999 to facilitate the activities of the SDFN by acting as the treasury for regional and national activities, and ensuring equal distribution of resources.
McLeod-Katjirua thanked the federation for its tireless efforts in accommodating the poor of the poorest through empowering the community and by doing so complementing Government’s efforts.
The governor assured the participants that the SDFN and NHAG are some of the true partners of Government and have been active in involving the communities in fighting poverty in the country.
“Most importantly, through your efforts, you have shown that there can be solutions to problems that we are struggling with every day. Inequality, lack of housing and poverty are stark and undeniable features of our nation,” she said.
McLeod-Katjirua applauded the SDFN for its continuous efforts of organising communities through saving schemes and learning from each other, saying it is a proven step to make a difference between success and failure in the cycle of poverty and inequality in the country.
Meanwhile, SDFN’s National Facilitator Martha Kaulwa explained that the purpose of the meeting is to compile the SDFN’s national report based on 14 regional reports on activities of the past six months (January to June 2015) and share information pertaining to the federation.
She said the federation has been mobilising and assisting the saving schemes (groups) on how to acquire land or houses from local authorities.
“We have a great dream that we want to improve our living conditions but not only to wait for Government to assist us. We have mobilised ourselves to use our own resources and assist each other on how to apply for land,” she said.
Kaulwa stressed that the saving groups are allowed to apply for assistance from local authorities to service their own land and build houses using their own resources through the saving schemes.
She noted that over 108 saving schemes with 5 015 households obtained land from local authorities in the country and they are busy servicing it and building houses according to their resources.
Over 50 members of the SDFN from all 14 regions and international representatives from Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa are participating in this meeting.
It ends on Sunday.