Staff Reporter WINDHOEK – Less than a year after launching the third Buy-a-Brick initiative, Standard Bank on Friday, May 18 officially handed over 15 new houses in Otjinene that were built through the initiative. The bank’s chief executive, Vetumbuavi Mungunda, on October 15 last year launched the third leg of the flagship initiative which is aimed at aiding in alleviating the housing shortage in the country. The Buy-a-Brick initiative was initially launched in 2015 in partnership with the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia and 44 new houses were built at Rehoboth through the initiative. Besides the community members, the handover was attended by Standard Bank’s head of marketing Magreth Mengo, Deputy Minister of Urban and Rural Development Derek Klazen, Chairperson of the Otjinene Village Council Landine Kauta, special advisor to the Governor of Omaheke Region Pio Nganate, Councillor of Otjinene Constituency Erwin Katjizeu and SDFN’s Otjinene facilitator Alexandine Hambira. “This unveiling really speaks to how the national Buy-a-Brick initiative has grown considerably over the years and financially empowered Shack Dwellers Federation members to move out of shacks and build decent brick houses for themselves. The federation has been our mutual CSI partner for the past decade now,” Mengo said at the handover. She explained that on the 100th anniversary of the bank’s existence in the country, the bank’s employees asked themselves what is the one legacy and social contribution they could make to Namibia as a whole, which is how the initiative was conceived. They asked themselves what the biggest social challenge in the country is and the housing shortage stood out. “An estimated 500,000 Namibians live in shacks countrywide, and as such we believe that the national Buy-a-Brick fundraising initiative is really a great cause and destined to become even bigger as we move forward in helping low and no-income households under the federation to move out of shacks and into decent brick houses – a place they can call home. We want to make a difference in the lives of those less privileged Namibians,” she said. Of the N$2 million donated by the bank to the federation, 20 more houses are being built at Berseba in the //Kharas Region, while the remaining 15 are being built at Havana and Okahandja Park informal settlements in Windhoek. A total of 47 homes were handed over, 32 of which were built with contributions by the Ministry of Rural and Urban Development. Deputy Minister Klazen commended all parties involved, noting that the provision of housing in Namibia cannot be left to the government alone as the government will not be in a position to raise and provide all the resources that are required for such programmes. “Namibia is facing a housing backlog of 100,000 and this number is growing by 3,700 every year. Alleviating the housing shortage requires the support and involvement of other stakeholders, particularly the private sector and members of the public. We therefore all have a collective responsibility to build a country we want to see in the future,” he noted. Additionally, Klazen pointed out that Standard Bank’s Buy-a-Brick initiative is well aligned to the government’s mass housing programme as well as the land and housing provision under the social progression pillar of the Harambee Prosperity Plan as set forth by President Hage Geingob. “Every Namibian has the right to live in a decent dwelling. I would also like to urge other corporate entities and institutions from the private sector to emulate this shining example as the current housing challenge is a collective responsibility. As Namibians we need more smart partnerships like these to alleviate poverty, address the housing shortage and promote employment in order for our nation to reach economic prosperity. We should all be involved in making a positive difference in providing decent shelter to disadvantaged Namibians,” he said. The handover also coincided with the ground-breaking ceremony for constructing 14 new houses in Otjinene village.
New Era Reporter
2018-05-28 09:06:13 5 months ago