Tsintsabis resident Ida Kambiru has taken the bull by its horns as she enters the male-dominated construction industry, saying she was enticed due to the high demand for buildings in the area.
“I noticed there is a high demand of people wanting to construct, but the challenge has been the availability of equipment and costs attached to sourcing building materials. Therefore, today I am delighted to have received this equipment from the ministry of gender equality, which I am hopeful will bring change and relief to all of us,” she said during the handover of a concrete mixer, two wheelbarrows, shovels and brickmaking machines.
“I told myself that what a man can do, a woman can also do for as long she is well-supplemented with basic needs. So, I am here to break barriers. My people will be very happy that bricks and construction materials can all be sourced in Tsintsabis as opposed to Tsumeb, which is the nearest town.”
Kambiru is one of the four beneficiaries who received start-up equipment from the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare through its income-generating activities (IGA) leg, which was valued at N$105 000. So far, 30 entrepreneurs have benefitted from this programme in Oshikoto since its inception.
Another beneficiary was David Ndipwashimwe, a pensioner aged 78, who received a thresher machine. Asked why he is engaging in business at such an advanced age, he was upbeat. “I think this is my time to do something in the eve of my life. Why it never happened during my heydays, I don’t know, but now destiny has dictated. All I can say is that I am very thankful to government for this assistance as it will go a long way in aiding my community members,” stated the pensioner from Onyaviye village at the periphery of Omuthiya.
Meanwhile, the deputy minister of gender equality Bernadette Jagger, who officiated at the handover, implored entrepreneurs to use the equipment to the benefit of their businesses and to create employment.
“It is somewhat dismaying to know that some who benefitted through this initiative had not seen their IGAs flourish, and some are no longer in operation. Although the business environment is not favourable for some sectors due to the Covid-19 pandemic and other economic factors, you are encouraged to work very hard, market your business, register your business and produce quality products so that you can remain relevant and afloat,” she urged.
Oshikoto governor Penda Ya Ndakolo said some beneficiaries were unable to succeed due to challenges such as a lack of managerial skills and poor customer service.
“As a result, I am pleading with the ministry to continue conducting business management training to equip these beneficiaries with the skills they need to effectively run their projects. We are aware that a lack of finance to start up or boost a business, a lack of machinery to use in a business, lack of management skills, and a lack of customer care skills are some of the contributing factors to SMEs’ failure,” he observed.
Speaking at the same event, chief economist in the Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade Elisia Muhongo said with the aid extended to the beneficiaries, they need to build business empires as a business cannot build itself without people making efforts. “Business success does not come by chance but requires determination, perseverance and renewed efforts,” she added.
Meanwhile, Omuthiya’s deputy mayor Petrina Shiindi said the IGAs are a remedy to the soaring unemployment rate, which now stands at 36.8%. This will thus help absorb some people into formal and informal employment.