Incremental Housing Across Namibia II: Divundu

Back To Projects

Focus Areas: Housing

This project involves the construction of two hundred and twenty-three (223) houses financed by Namibia’s Twahangana Urban Poor Fund in fifteen (15) urban areas across Namibia. These areas are Tsumeb, Katima Mulilo, Outjo, Kamanjab, Windhoek, Luderitz, Aranos, Gobabis, Leonardville, Divundu, Usakos, Grootfontein, Omaruru, Okakarara. Construction began on the 21st of August 2013 and was concluded in February 2014.

Location: Divungu, Namibia


All two hundred and twenty-three (223) houses have been completed and are occupied. In Divundu, bulk services have been made available to fifteen (15) of the thirty (30) houses that have been completed. The connected housing beneficiaries will begin to install household services in July 2015. 

Community capacity:

Namibian Slum Dwellers Federation (NSDF) members involved in this project learnt, through exchanges and practical learning, a number of important skills relating to housing construction. They became adept at costing building materials, moulding their own bricks to reduce costs, laying the foundations of their houses and installing piping to connect to bulk service infrastructure provided by local authorities. Financial and management capacities were also upskilled with Federation members developing capacities around bookkeeping, loan disbursement and administration as well as basic accounting skills.

Pre-project capacities developed include planning skills through the Community Land Information Land Programme (CLIP). This government programme began in 2007 with the intention of collecting data on informal settlements across Namibia as to better plan upgrading interventions.The skills learnt not only informed project design and construction but were scaled up through exchanges. It is also important to note that reports documenting these capacities are shared with the National Housing Ministry. The implications of sharing this information are further explored in the “scale”  section below. 

The Federation groups continue to build their capacity to manage loan repayments. Repayments have started on all the projects. The recovered funds are used to repay the debt to the Urban Poor Fund International and will not revolve. Groups contribute 5% of their savings as an upfront payment for projects and these beneficiaries are members of savings groups who actively participate in local and regional networks. Participation also includes exchanges, where groups collectively learn about construction, book-keeping, and resource and project management.


In general, Federation built houses are cheaper to construct than those built by government. For example, the cost of the credit linked houses built under the Mass Housing Programmes Phase 1 is N$6,000 per square meter while Federation built houses cost less than N$1,000 a square meter.  This demonstrates the Federation’s ability to “stretch” government subsidies further, provide a more affordable housing product and hence scale up housing delivery with available resources. Given this track record the Federation is confident that it can deliver one thousand (1,000) serviced households per year as part of the Mass Housing Programme. As of June 2015, and described in the “impact” section below, these details are still under negotiation. 


A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed with the Gobabis Local Authority in 2013 in order to formalise land allocation, housing provision and upgrading activities with the Federation of which this project forms a key component.  The subsequent delivery of housing through this project has deepened the relationship with the Gobabis Local Authority and opened space for further upgrading and tenure formalisation processes. Currently the Federation continues to engage with the Municipality around the provision of land for the construction of one hundred and twenty (120) houses. 

Progress in Gobabis has led to negotiations with the Local Authorities in Omaruru. An MoU has been tabled highlighting areas of co-operation. In this case, the Federation is lobbying for the provision of additional greenfield housing sites which the Federation will service. The Authorities have encouraged all savings groups in the area to join the Federation in order to form a united front for negotiations. Recently savings groups were able to purchase serviced land at the discounted rate of N$10.00 per square metre  (as opposed to N$34.00 per square meter).

Other important policy inputs informed by the Federations housing experience include:

1. Input into the Flexible Land Tenure Regulations Act, 2012 (Act No. 4 of 2012).

2. Collaboration on the management of the upper Swakopmund Basin - a SDFN member sits on the committee  which tackles issues related to pollution of the Goreangab Dam by nearby communities. 

3. The Federation participates in the Water and Sanitation Forum hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture. 


SDI Contributions:

SDI’s capital contribution, through its Urban Poor Fund International (UPFI), to this project is US$367,000. Since the Namibian Alliance receives an annual subsidy allocation of three and a half million Namibian dollars (N$3,500,000) from government to build one hundred and thirty-four (134) houses, but builds significantly more,  SDI funds are used to scale up housing delivery. 

Resources Leveraged:

At the national level, the Namibian Alliance has been negotiating with officials from the Ministry of Regional Local Government Housing and Rural Development (MRLGHRD) since 2011 to increase the capital subsidy amount available for housing construction. To date these negotiations have not been succesful.

NHAG supports groups building houses by negotiating with suppliers for reductions in the cost of building materials through bulk purchases and by buying directly from manufacturers. 

State Subsidy:

As part of the Build Together Programme the Namibian Alliance receives an annual contribution of N$3,500,000 for the construction of one hundred and thirty-four (134) houses across Namibia. This amount is channelled into the Twahangana Urban Poor Fund which is managed by the Federation and disbursed as loans per the funds regulations. The Fund is grown through both loan repayments and the retirement of subsidies against completed housing stock. The Twahangana fund is indeed a poor people’s fund; it is managed, monitored and disbursed by the Federation.

Market Generated Returns:

None to date.

Costs recovered from community:

The groups that have received houses through this project are repaying their loans with repayments revolving in the Twahangana Urban Poor Fund. To date US$42,000 has been repaid to the Twahangana Fund. Of this amount, US$13,000 has been used to service the pre-finance loan from SDI's Urban Poor Fund International (UPFI). The remaining capital is revolving in the Twahangana Fund and can be drawn upon by the Federation for other projects such as housing, water, sanitation and drainage projects for example. 

Anna Muller (+264) 61 239 398 View Website
Project social media channels:

Project information updated: 24 November 2015

Project in depth

Detailed Information

This project illustrates the Namibian Alliance’s capacity to deliver people-centered housing and contribute to the negotiations to scale up funding from the state and secure land from Local Authorities under the Government’s new Mass Housing Programme within the national policy context. After a number of meetings with senior officials, including the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Housing and Local government, the Namibian Alliance was requested to submit a funding proposal to participate in the Mass Housing Programmes second phase under the peoples housing component. The proposal was submitted in March 2015. However, before the proposal review was completed, the Mass Housing progamme was suspended by the new Housing Minister. There is a possibility that the “Build Together” programme will be revived. We await further updates from Namibia as this "sea change" in policy unfolds.


The incremental development of two hundred and twenty-three (223) houses by 13 Federation groups in towns across Namibia. See “deliverables” section for list of towns. 

Community capacity:

Strengthen savings groups position, and consequently the Federation's position, as partners in the President's blueprint for delivering one thousand (1,000) houses per year. 

In this, and all Namibian housing projects, the Federation manages the construction process. A participatory planning process is followed in the preparation and design phases of the projects. All housing beneficiaries are members of savings groups and participate in regional and national meetings. It is through these interactions, and more specific exchanges that construction, bookkeeping and general management capacities are developed. For example, the Federation group from Usakos visited Gobabis before they began housing construction. They learnt building techniques including how to mould bricks and lay foundations. Upon their return home they built twenty-six (26) houses. The community also participated in the planning studios held in Gobabis.


The houses constructed through this project will illustrate the Namibian Federation's capacity to deliver low-cost, well built, community-driven housing projects. This practical demonstration of poor people's capacities to deliver housing will contribute to negotiations with local government to secure land. It will also go some way towards persuading the National Government to increase their annual subsidy contribution to the Namibian alliance. It is hoped that this will also influence the Namibian alliance's participation in the new Mass Housing Policy and programme. 


SDI Contributions:

SDI’s capital contribution is US$367,000. Interest shall be paid back at 5% per  annum (i.e. US$1,572 per month). 

State Subsidy:

This is part of the global SDFN 1,000 houses per year blue print approved by the Namibian President and Cabinet. At present the government provides N$2,500,000 per year to the Namibian Alliance for housing construction. 

Market Generated Returns:

None to date.

Costs recovered from community:

Funds will be recovered through housing loan repayments to the Twahangana Urban Poor fund in line with the Fund's rules and principles as decided upon and managed by the Namibian Federation. 

Muller, A. (2012). Participatory Enumerations at the National Level in Namibia: the Community Land Information Programme (CLIP), Environment and Urbanisation, 24(1): 67 - 75. Available:
SDFN. (2013).  Shacke Dwellers Federation of Namibia Signs MoU with the Municipality of Gobabis. [Online]. Available:
SDFN & NHAG. (2009). Community Land Information Programme (CLIP): Profile of Informal Settlements in Namibia. [Online]. Available:
SDFN & NHAG. (2014). Participatory Planing for Informal Settlement Upgrading in Freedom Square, Gobabis: SDI-AAPS Planning Studios. [Online]. Available:
SDI. (2013a). Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia Signs First MoU with a Local Authority in Gobabis. [Online]. Available:
SDI. (2013b). Namibia's First Community Planning Studio: Preparing for Slum Upgrading in Freedom Square, Gobabis. [Online]. Available:
For further details on the nature of urbanisation in Namibia's secondary towns both spatially and demographically please consult the other Namibian projects (e.g. The Gobabis Housing project

Funding Information



Funding type:

Grant funding

Implementing Partners

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Shack Dweller's Federation of Namibia (SDFN)

Namibia Housing Action Group (NHAG)

The Rockefeller Foundation