1. Community Saving
89% of the Namibian population does not qualify for conventional home loans and cannot access commercial housing. Community saving is the SDFN cornerstone to organize communities. This contributes to the development of households participating in the SDFN saving groups. Each group manages its own savings account. By regular saving the urban poor of Namibia are deriving financial strength from their own resources.
2. Learning Exchanges
Awareness and skills needed to improve the living conditions of the members of SDFN are shared during local, national and international exchanges. From these exchanges Namibian communities learned how to save daily, collect information, map and plan settlements, and most importantly communities in informal settlements have realized they can do things for themselves.
3. CLIP (Profiling, Enumeration and Mapping)
The Community Land Information Program (CLIP) is a tool used by informal settlement residents to better understand their communities, discuss their development priorities and negotiate for better living conditions in settlements. Through CLIP 219,936 households were enumerated in informal settlements across all urban areas in Namibia, with varying degrees of services, tenure and shelter. This means more than 40% of Namibian’s overall population and around 80% of its urban population is currently living in shacks
4. Informal Settlement Upgrading
Upgrading is a term given to measures to improve housing conditions in informal settlements. SDFN and NHAG are Co-Initiators of the National Alliance for informal settlement upgrading because the informal settlement emergency in Namibia is of such scale, that not one stakeholder is able to address it. This Alliance is a partnership approach to scaling up security of tenure and housing opportunities through co-production between organized communities, local and regional authorities, central government, and universities.
5. The Twahangana Fund
Since 1995 the Twahangana Fund channeled N$ 263 million to the housing groups of SDFN members. This community-managed revolving fund provides micro loans to the members of SDFN savings groups for land acquisition, servicing of land and house construction. This fund serves as a tool for the very poor to access financial support in a way that is not supported by official banking instruments. Communities, the Government of Namibia and private sector are contributing to the Twahangana Fund.
6. House Construction and Services
Over 7,000 houses have been completed by the members themselves. Members usually build two-room houses, comprising 34 square meters at a cost of about N$1,060 per square meter. They also install their water and sewer services when they get blocks of land. The development is done incrementally, depending on the household’s affordability.
7. Financial Partners
The work of SDFN and NHAG is currently supported by Misereor (Germany), GIZ (Germany) and the Shack/Slum Dwellers International. Funds for the Twahangana Fund are contributed by the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development (MURD) as well as the private sector which includes the Buy-a-Brick Initiative of Standard Bank Namibia, MTC/Huawei, Office of the First Lady, FirstRand Namibia Foundation through RMB Namibia, the Pupkewitz Foundation, Ohorongo Cement, Neo Paints, B2Gold
8. Responses to COVID-19
Members of the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia (SDFN), especially SDFN youth members, successfully started backyard gardens next to their housing/shacks during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. In most of these backyard gardens, they grow their own vegetables all year round - mainly spinach, Swiss chard, beetroot, carrots, peppers, and tomatoes. Through example, these gardens spread quickly as a very feasible solution to overcome some of the challenges of the pandemic. Some of the gardeners are even able to sell some of their vegetables within their community or started small businesses to sell seedlings and small portions of seeds. The project’s overall aim is to increase food and nutrition security during and beyond COVID-19 in urban communities.