National Housing Pre-Finance in Namibia: Karaas

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Focus Areas: Housing

This is a pre-financing project that aims to construct one hundred and sixty-five (165) houses across Namibia, in Karaas, Ohangwena, Omusati, Oshikoto, Omaheke, Otjozondjupa West and Kunene. To date sixty-six (66) houses of the households allocated have been constructed. Construction is managed by Federation groups with most members producing their own bricks and doing their own excavations. Houses are 34mand are to be completed with security (fencing) as well as water, electricity and sanitation connections although not all toilets are connected to the main sewers. Sewers are to be connected with approval from the municipality. The project is partly funded with the Federation's revolving funds. The Twahangana fund pre-finances the project and is paid back by the Build Together Programme, secured from engagement with the central and regional government. The Build Together programme is the National Housing programme for low income households. It is managed by the Ministry of Regional and Local Government and Housing and Rural Development (MRLGHRD) and gives loans with subsidized interest rates for housing construction. The Federation members pay 5% in advance from their savings while Build Together refunds the Twahangana fund. The Namibia Housing Action Group (NHAG) met with staff of the Housing Directorate to apply for Build Together funding from the government.  As this project has progressed the Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development (MRLGHRD) has started to view the Federation’s construction of houses as part of their programme and are interacting with the Alliance (comprised of NHAG and Federation) around its financial needs. Scaling up of the project depends on availability of land which to date has been slow.  More members want to construct houses but there are insufficient funds for this. There is still a need to strengthen the relations between Twahangana Fund and the Build Together programme.

Location: Karaas, Namibia


The pre-financing of one hundred and sixty-five (165) houses across Namibia. All the houses have been built and serviced. The services include water, toilets and electricity infrastructure as well as fencing for security purposes. All the houses have toilets but not all of these toilets are connected to the main sewer. 

Community capacity:

Through training and the exchanges the community was able to gain the relevant (read construction) skills. The exchanges also served to strengthen the savings groups.


This  project is a demonstratation of an alternative method of housing delivery that surpasses other initiatives in Namibia. It can be scaled up right through Namibia, depending on the availability of land. Due to the slow delivery of land in larger centers like Windhoek, Swakopmund and Walvis Bay, the federation is Focusing their construction efforts in the smaller towns and villages, which are also experiencing huge growth in the sizes of their informal settlements. The land delivery issues pertaining to greenfield sites make these sites a less viable option. In-situ upgrading of informal settlements is now being explored with the Community Land Information Program (CLIP) in three (3) pilot towns. With regards to CLIP, a big challenge is that in the roll out of bulk infra structure, community involvement is not facilitated. Government institutes are making use of contractors, engineers. Community members are not included in the process. 

Multiplication of the project is taking place at the settlement level within different urban areas in Namibia. The project is supporting eleven (11) communities in six of the country's regions develop incremental housing. 


A new mechanism to deal with the Village Council has been initiated. In villages like Otjinene the large number of savings groups members has encouraged more individuals to join the Federation. This large number of houses being constructed during the last six (6) months will be used as a demonstration to the MRGLRD on the efficiency of the Federation. It will also prepare the Federation for further negotiations with the MRLGHRD for resources.


SDI Contributions:

SDI contributed US$375,000. 

Resources Leveraged:

The application for recovering the loans from Build Together is in the process of being completed. Information was shared with the Regional Council and the MRLGHRD staff put the submission on hold and a meeting is still to be hold with MRLGHRD to refund N$1.5 million  for the Otjinene  groups. 

State Subsidy:

The State subsidy is in the form of funds from the Build Together programme. The Build Together will, in essence, refund the Twahangana Fund. 

Market Generated Returns:

None to date. 

Anna Muller (+264) 61 239 398 View Website
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Project information updated: 20 March 2014

Project in depth

Detailed Information

This project sees the Namibian Alliance of Namibia Housing Action Group (NHAG) and Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia (SDFN) respond to the need for improving shelter conditions in 2011.  The Twahangana Fund, Namibia’s fund for the Urban Poor, and the Federation have been in existence since 1997.
This project targeted communities in different regions who are organised around savings to improve their living conditions. Resources in the smaller villages were scarce and groups in Otjinene and other towns were ready to begin construction. However, the funds from the Poor Peoples Fund of the Namibian Shack Dwellers Federation, the  Twahangana Fund, were insufficient to assist the large number of eighty (80) members in Otjinene who had land and wer ready to begin construction. The Build Together program (Ministry of Regional Local Government’s program) faced political opposition due to the way it was operated by local authorities and for a period no loans were released to local authorities or regional councils.
This project was facilitated by bridging finance from the UPFI, which enabled the members who were ready to begin construction.  By December 11 the ministry officials were positive that the program will go ahead and that the application will be processed, but was not completed. The UPFI funds were used to start construction projects for eleven (11) savings groups in seven (7) regions.


Pre-financing of the construction of one hundred and sixty-five (165) houses in seven regions, namely Karaas, Ohangwena, Omusati, Oshikoto, Omaheke, Otjozondjupa West and Kunene


Two aspects of sustainability are addressed in this project. The first is the flow of funds from government resources (through the Build Together fund), and second the community commitment to save and manage funds. The Federation has been meeting with various government authorities to ensure continued financial support on their part. Savings have increased through this project yet membership has decreased meaning there is a need to increase leadership capacity to retain membership.


SDI Contributions:

SDI contributed US$375,000 of which US$50,000 was put towards project linked technical assistance. 

Resources Leveraged:

The project is to leverage resources from the Government's Build Together program and the annual donation.

State Subsidy:

Refer to sections on resources leveraged above. 

Market Generated Returns:

None to date. 

Costs recovered from community:

The loan repayments and recovered funds will be used to provide further loans for improving shelter, services and small businesses in various settlements across the country. 

Affirmative Repositioning. (2015). AR Housing Charter 31. [Online]. Available:
Kalili, N., Adongo, J. & Larson, T. (2008). Access to Housing Finance in Africa: Exploring the Issues No. 5 - Namibia. [Online]. Available:
MRLGHRD. (1991). National Housing Policy (as amended). [Online]. Available:
Shack Dwellers Federation Namibia. (2015). Government is Committed to Uplift the Living Conditions of all Citizens says Urban Minister. [Online]. Available:
SDFN/NHAG. (2012). Anual Report: July 2011 - June 2012. [Online]. Available:
Sweeney-Bindels, E. (2011). Housing Policy and Delivery in Namibia. [Online]. Available:
The Namibian Sun. (2011). Finance for Shack Dwellers. [Online]. Available:

Funding Information



Funding type:

Grant funding

Fully funded

Implementing Partners

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Shack Dweller's Federation of Namibia (SDFN)

Namibia Housing Action Group (NHAG)

Norway Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The Rockefeller Foundation