OMUTHIYA, 19 OCT (NAMPA) -
First Lady and patron of the Shack Dwellers' Federation of Namibia (SDFN), Monica Geingos officially handed over 26 houses to their owners at Omuthiyagwiipundi town in the Oshikoto Region on Friday.
Members of the SDFN at Omuthiya constructed the houses after the Omuthiya Town Council donated land for their housing project in 2012. The project, which includes the making of bricks for the houses to be built, is funded through SDFN members- saving schemes.
Speaking at the handing-over event, Geingos referred to the SDFN as a powerful agent providing decent houses for unemployed and under-employed citizens who do not qualify for formal housing loans. The federation provides low-cost houses and involves the would-be owners in the whole process of construction.
She encouraged all those living in informal settlements to come closer to the federation and learn about its dealings. Geingos commended the government for its financial contribution of N.dollars 7.5 million to the federation's saving scheme for this year, saying with such finances, the federation will do more on its housing provision programme.
Urban and Rural Development Minister, Sophia Shaningwa announced at the Omuthiya handing-over gathering that her ministry has thus far contributed N.dollars 23.1 million to the federation for housing provision. O
ne of the senior members of the SDFN in the Oshikoto Region, Victoria Nepembe said the federation has more than 20 000 members organised in a network of 630 saving schemes countrywide. SDFN members are people without decent accommodation and live in shacks and/or rented rooms.
Nepembe pointed out that the federation has thus far constructed more than 4 200 houses in the country. In the Oshikoto Region, she said, there are 37 groups of 954 members (725 women and 229 men) in total, who have saved close to N.dollars 1.4 million for their housing scheme initiative.
Nepembe said 180 houses were built in Tsumeb, 29 houses at Omuthiya and seven are still under construction there. "Omuthiya Town Council allocated the land for 137 plots in 2012 at no cost and since then we have been developing the land and we have paid the surveyor to survey it," she explained.
Besides saving money in order to give each other loans to build proper houses, members of the federation physically participate in the construction of their houses to curb the high labour costs.
The federation encourages regular payment of loans so that more people can benefit from its loan fund. Many of the SDFN members are said to have paid their housing loans within a short period, less than the usual 20 years as is done at commercial banks.