RUNDU - Minister of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare, Zephania Kameeta, launched food bank here at Sauyemwa. Sauyemwa is a recently formalised settlement where poverty is also widespread just like most of Rundu’s recently formalised localities like Ndama to name a few. Out of the 949 beneficiaries that were submitted by the committee, only 811 from Rundu have been approved and will benefit from the programme. However, the beneficiary registration is still ongoing. “Today marks yet another milestone in the quest to ensure that no Namibian goes to bed hungry or dies from hunger; with the launch of food distribution, as part of one of government’s programmes aimed at addressing poverty hunger,” Kameeta said. Kameeta noted that household food insecurity is one of the major underlying causes of malnutrition, a situation that has led the World Health Organization (WHO) to consider household food and nutrition security as a basic human right. “Addressing poverty hunger in Namibia, therefore speaks to the basic building blocks of a caring nation. Hunger is the lowest level of poverty, it is only logical that His Excellency the President, in the Harambee Prosperity Plan, tasked the Ministry of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare together with other key government Offices/Agencies/Ministries (OMAs) to address hunger poverty,” he said.
Kameeta noted that the establishment of food banks, is one such way of addressing hunger, especially in the urban and peri-urban areas. Other programmes include improving agricultural productivity, school feeding programmes and the provision of food during natural disasters such as droughts and floods. The first ever food bank programme in Namibia was launched by Dr Hage Geingob on June 30, 2016 in Windhoek. This was followed by the distribution of dry food items in seven constituencies of the Khomas Region as part of a pilot programme. The pilot phase of the food bank programme was concluded and the ministry conducted an assessment in collaboration with the University of Namibia; to mainly evaluate the impact of food bank on household food security and to guide future operations of the food bank programme in Namibia. “By the conclusion of the pilot phase of the Khomas Region food programme, about 15,519 households, representing a total of 67,987 individuals were benefiting from the food bank in the seven constituencies of Khomas,” Kameeta informed. “However, after internal revision of the list of beneficiaries, especially in line with the preliminary figures of the National Household Income and Expenditure Survey 2015/16 and the findings from the Unam evaluation report, the number of households was reduced by more than 5, 000 households,” he said.