MTC commits N$7.5m to development projects

By Business Reporter

NAMIBIA’S premier digital enabler, MTC will commit a sum of N$7.5 million to support two socio-developmental projects, namely Early Childhood Development (ECD), and Low Cost Land for Housing, through the Development Workshop Namibia (DWN).

MTC chief human capital and corporate affairs officer, Tim Ekandjo revealed that over the next three years, the ECD project will enjoy a cash injection of N$4.5 million, while the Low Cost Land for Housing gets a boost of N$3 million share of the availed funds.

“The ECD project currently assists a total of 100 kindergartens in informal settlements in Windhoek, Oshakati and Katima Mulilo. The assistance is provided through three main areas of intervention namely training of kindergarten teachers; the provision of improved teacher and learning materials in ECD centres; and parents support.

“The Low Cost Land for Housing Project, will address one of Namibia’s fundamental development question – the lack of affordable land for housing, which takes the lead in exacerbating the mass set up of informal settlements. Because of this problem, over the years, we have witnessed an exponential growth of squatter settlements in Namibia, perpetuating inequality and inadequate access to basic services,” Ekandjo said adding, “We are therefore confident that this partnership with DWN will make a difference in the lives of our people, and urge the leadership of DWN and your partners to live up to the task and continue the excellent work you have been doing.”

Currently, DWN has signed agreements with six towns: Oshakati, Okahao, Opuwo, Keetmanshoop, Oniipa and Karibib.

The modus operandi of DWN in each of these works in a way that the local authority provides land for free, and DWN does the planning, surveying and servicing on behalf of the local authority. Clients are registered at the beginning of a project and pay their land in monthly instalments during one year. Once they finish paying, they can occupy the land.

The price per erf varies between N$10 000 and 40 000, depending on soil conditions and the level of services. With that amount, DWN recovers all costs that go into the development of the erven of a new extension. In each town where a project is implemented, DWN also opens a joint bank account between the local authority and DWN.

All erf payments are then done in this account, and all expenditures for the development are paid from that account. Also, since this is a social programme, all service providers (land surveyor, town planner, engineer, and conveyancer) considerably reduce their fees. The organisation currently has seven extensions under development, with more than 2 000 erven.

Speaking on the Early Childhood Development project, DWN’s Hilma Weber said: “The period in a child life from 0-8 years is critical in terms of building a strong foundation. Data shows that investment in Early Childhood Development and pre-primary is one of the most effective and cost-effective strategies for societies to develop the human capital required to advance economic and social growth. By investing in children and ECD, MTC is an example of visionary leadership and compassion. No investment is better placed than in our children, for the country and for us as a society. We are very grateful for this historic partnership and a very big thank you to MTC board, management and the entire team.”

Weber further commended MTC saying the support could not have come at a better time.

“MTC’s donation and commitment to support the programme for three years allows the programme to grow, assist a growing number of towns to plan and service land, and provide residential land for thousands of urban residents,” Weber added.