Between 2005 and 2008, Namibia's Urban Development Support project was based on the expertise of Caixa Econômica Federal (CAIXA), a Brazilian public banking entity with extensive work in the areas of urban development, housing and social program management. Coordinated by the Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC), this project aimed to transfer constructive methodologies adapted to the Namibian reality, as well as to support the elaboration of proposals for public policies of popular housing and the formulation of solutions for the treatment of solid waste and basic sanitation.
Since its independence (in 1990), Namibia has verified the need for structuring and implementing public policies for urban development. The lack of regulation of land use, the prevalence of self-built substandard housing, and significant deficiencies in terms of urban infrastructure have since continued to mark the country's large cities.
Namibia's Urban Development Support project encompassed three complementary aspects: (1) support for the formulation of housing policies aimed at the low-income population; (2) the transfer of non-conventional construction methodologies appropriate to the local reality; and (3) the development of a pilot project in the area of solid waste management and basic sanitation. The activities involved the exchange and training of technicians for the shared development of the products, as well as the participation of the local population in the cities of Rehoboth and Okahandja.
(1) In order to support the development of policies for the construction of housing, a survey was carried out on existing legislation in Namibia involving officials from Okahandja and Rehoboth municipalities and the Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development, as well as community representatives. After the identification of Brazilian documents that could be adapted to the Namibian reality, the terms of the document regulating the country's housing policy were discussed. Topics discussed included spatial planning, definition of beneficiaries of housing programs, environmental education and public participation. The Brazilian team recommended the adoption of participatory methodology as a new paradigm of public policy in Namibia.
(2) To promote the construction of low-cost housing, a seminar was held on non-conventional construction methodologies (using local materials and labor), presenting examples from the Brazilian experience. Subsequently, training was carried out in the municipality of Okahandja on the cement soil technique, attended by representatives of the Namibian Habitat Research Development Center and UN Habitat. Community members who participated in the training learned how to produce soil-cement blocks, their form of settlement, and other constructive details.
(3) In the area of solid waste management, successful experiences were shared in Brazil and a diagnosis was made of the current situation in Namibia. Consequently, CAIXA carried out training with recyclable waste collectors, who learned how to collect and store it for later sale to recycling companies. With the qualification of their work, these women could envisage an increase in their income, by acting according to technical guidelines and jointly. The cooperation also included a diagnosis of the dump in which the solid waste collected by the municipality of Rehoboth was deposited, since a landfill had not yet been implemented locally; based on this, recommendations were made to improve the management of urban cleaning and to carry out environmental education campaigns. As evolution of the disseminated knowledge, the following developments were highlighted: the daily weighing of garbage (with monthly reports); the enclosure of the dump area; the provision by the municipality of Rehoboth of a shed for the storage of recyclable materials; and the hiring of another outsourced company for garbage collection.
This project was the first South-South cooperation initiative implemented by CAIXA and is a "promising practice" in UN-Habitat's "Best Practices and Local Leadership Program".
Supported by: Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC)
On the Brazilian side: Caixa Econômica Federal (CAIXA)
On the Namibian side: Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development
Leonardo Miguel Farinassi,
National Manager of International Relations Strategy,
Caixa Econômica Federal (CAIXA)