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Best Practices for Human Settlements
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Build Together: The National Housing Programme
Namibia

Keywords: Homelessness & Housing
Women & Gender equality

Background

Involves:
* low-income households with incomes that do not exceed N$1250.00 (US$380)
* low-income households in squatter areas
* low-middle income households without credit access

Project covers both rural and urban areas reaching an average of 1300 families per year.

Central principle to give people control and access to national housing infra-structure and finance.


Narrative

Namibia's 1.4 million people gained independence in March 1990, physically segregated urban human settlements were inherited from the apartheid regime, under which the majority of low-income groups could not afford low-cost housing under turnkey projects costing N$35000.00 (about US$10000.00). Communities were suffering from inertia and lacked any trust in themselves. Women had no access to gain shelter.

The Namibian Government made housing one of the four top development priorities to bring about integrated development. The Cabinet approved a National Housing Policy in July 1991 which encouraged partnerships between the public, private and community sectors in housing development.

With the assistance of UNDP and UNCHS, Namibia has developed a National Shelter Strategy based on the full participation of the stakeholders (the communities, the private sector, financial institutions such as banks, local authorities and interested individuals). This has resulted in government becoming a facilitator of housing, withdrawing from direct from direct constuction and involving beneficiaries to build their own houses. The role of the Namibian Government is limited to small loans, technical advice, roofsheet grants through bilateral Japanese aid.

Namibia has made housing affordable to many and has instilled trust in people to help themselves. Women's access to shelter has been improved and 47% of BT beneficiaries are female-headed households. Women have been empowered by the BT Programme in terms of access to shelter, land, finance and are involved in organising CHDG's (local committees), producing building materials and maintain a high level of loan repayment. In order to sustain the programme in the long run through Regional Funds, the Namibian Government is preparing a New Housing Bill. The BT Programme was awarded the Habitat Scroll of Honour in 1993 and World Habitat Award in 1994.

STAKEHOLDERS

In terms of the 1991 cencus, 27% of the urbanised population of Namibia live in local authority areas. Local Authorities consist of Village and Town Councils, Municipalities and the City Council of the capital Windhoek. They are the driving force behind the Build Together National Housing Programme through local implementation committees, called Community Housing Development Groups(CHDG's). Local Authority support is rendered in three major ways;

1. by making affordable serviced land available to beneficiaries,

2. giving technical advise to selfbuilders and setting houses out according to approved building plans and

3. general consultation and logistical support such as office space, communication and transport

Local Authorities are very instrumental in dealing with rapid urbanisation, in-migration into urban areas by being pro-creative with reception areas or Incremental Development Areas under the Build-Together Programme. New-comers to urban areas are given a place to live under conditions where building and planning regulations are relaxed. In these "designated areas", shelter can be built with any local building material until such time as the economic condition of the people have improved to consolidate the settlement.

Local Authorities are working in close collaboration with community groups and the Central Government to prepare the National Plan of Action for implementation beyond Instanbul.


PRESENTATION

The Habitat II National Committee is preparing a further case studies inside Namibia on local authority and Youth Best Practices. The Build-Together National Housing Programme's case study is to show that post-apartheid Namibia had to produce an appropriate response to rapid urban growth, migrant labour caught up in all-male overcrowded hostels, rural households without physical infrastructure, rapidly rising cost of urban serviced land and sporadic government projects (30 houses in Gibeon, 13 in Okakarara, 450 in the north).

The Build -Together Programme, consisting of 10 components of loans and technical assistance is made up of

1. Single Quarters Upgrading Subprogramme
2. Urban Housing Loans Subprogramme
3. Rural Housing Loans Subprogramme
4. Informal Settlements Upgrading Subprogramme
5. Incremental Development Areas Subprogramme
6. Community Based Organisations(CBO's) Subprogramme
7. Social Housing Subprogramme
8. Land Servicing Subprogramme
9. Social Infrastructure Subprogramme
10. Communications and Learning Together Subprogramme

Beneficiaries of the graduated interest rate subsidised loans are low-income families earning less than N$1250.00 (US$420) in formal or informal employment, communities living in squatter areas or shacks and those without access to middle income housing from parastatal (NHE) or banks and buildings societies, these loans can be paid off in 20 years time with very low interest rates.

Low income people's dependence on the government or professionals (architects, contractors) has been reoriented. People are building according to their own needs, priorities and resources. The private sector is used in a support role. All loans are disbursed and repayments collected by private banks and the post office, impact is that the Government has reached 12 regions in 3 years (1992-1995), the last region, Oshana will be reached by March 1996. Over 3400 housing units has been constructed, most of the units are completed.

The Community Housing Development Group (CHDG) negotiate for land and people take development in their own hands. Land becomes affordable, overcrowded areas are de-densified and people's capacity to shelter themselves enhanced through the paradigm of deprofessionalisation of housing.


Impact

* households are involved at the rate of 1300 per year
* people build according to own needs and priorities
* private sector play supportive role especially as supplier of cheapest materials
* all loans disbursed and repayments collected by private banks and post office
* over 3400 housing units have been constructed, most are complete


Sustainability

Namibia has developed a National Shelter Strategy with the full participation of all stakeholders (the communities, the private sector, financial institutions, local authorities and interested individuals). Therefore, Government has withdrawn from direct construction to facilitation.

Namibia has made housing affordable and instilled self-help. 47% of BT beneficiaries consist of female-headed households. In order to sustain the programme in the long run through Regional Funds, the Namibian Government is preparing a New Housing Bill.

Local Authorities are very instrumental in dealing with rapid urbanisation, in-migration into urban areas by being pro-creative with reception areas or Incremental Development Areas under the Build-Together Programme. New-comers to urban areas are given a place to live under conditions where building and planning regulations are relaxed. In these "designated areas", shelter can be built with any local materials until such time as the economic condition of the people have improved to consolidate the settlement.
Local Authorities are working closely with community groups and the Central Government to prepare the National Plan of Action for implementation beyond Istanbul.


Contact

    Mr. K. Gowaseb/MRLGH
    Windhoek
    Namibia
    P/BAG 13289
    +264-61-218064

Sponsor

    The Habitat II Secretariat UNCHS (Habitat), Nairobi
    The Habitat II Secretariat
    UNCHS (Habitat)
    Nairobi
    Namibia
    P.O. Box 30030
    (254-2)623033
    habitat @ unep.no

Partners

    National Housing Enterprise, Windhoek
    Mr. K. Gowaseb
    Mungunda Street
    Windhoek
    Namibia
    P/bag 13289
    Windhoek

    UNDP, Windhoek
    Mrs Constantia !Garus Oas
    Mungunda Street
    Windhoek
    Namibia
    P/bag 13289
    +264 61 218064

    Local Authorities


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