More than 1100 households in the town of Gobabis have received land through an existing institutional partnership between the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia (SDFN) and the Namibia Housing Action Group (NHAG) that resulted in a settlement upgrading in the eastern town. Other key partners include the Gobabis municipality and the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development. With support from the German Cooperation Agency (GIZ) and other international partners, the project became part of government’s Flexible Land Tenure (FLT) pilot project.
Thus far, 20 houses have been completed and a further 10 brick-and-mortar structures are currently under construction. Earlier this month, 988 residents were presented with certificates of their land hold titles through the FLT project.
The Namibia University of Science and Technology’s departments of Architecture and Spatial Planning; and Land and Property Sciences, also played key roles in bringing the project to fruition. NUST students and lecturers participated in different aspects of the project as a case study, which resulted in journal publications as well as Masters and PhD dissertations for the NUST students.
According to Guillermo Delgado, the Land, Livelihoods and Housing Programme Coordinator at NUST’s Integrated Land Management Institution (ILMI), the process started around 2012 when data was collected by residents of the area and based on their findings, discussions followed amongst various stakeholders to develop the settlement called Freedom Square.
Also in 2012, a Memorandum of Understanding between the Gobabis municipality, SDFN and NHAG, was signed which laid the groundwork for a series of “planning studios” with town and regional planning students in NUST’s Department of Architecture and Spatial Planning.
In these studios, NUST students analysed the site, mapped infrastructure and features and engaged community members to design layouts of “re-blocking” the settlement structures into a formal setting.
The urban and rural development ministry then availed N$10 million to install infrastructure (water and sewer) at the site through community training. Communities excavated the trenches and even installed their own water lines and constructed manholes through training. Additional funding was sourced from a Latin American, African and Asian Social Housing Service in Europe, called Selavip, to purchase 200 prepaid water
“A contractor, KSP assisted with excavation of sewer trenches and offered to lay sewer pipes at no cost. After the completion of the services, pressure tests on water and sewerage lines were done and passed, and services were handed over to the municipality. Before installing the services, the community requested that they be provided with prepaid water meters instead of conventional water meters,” said Delgado. -firstname.lastname@example.org