Allocation of two grants for microprojects - June 8 , 2011 [fr]

French support to the Namibian Civil Society:
Food Security and Income Generating Activities as priorities.

On June 8th 2011 France allocated 2 grants amounting to N$ 350 000 in support of the Namibian civil society dedicated to food security and income-generating activities, two crucial challenges for Namibia’s development.

The Social Fund for Development (SFD) is a French fund dedicated to social micro-projects. Through this fund, France partners with Namibia in helping to build a brighter future it people. Indeed, the SFD is particularly suited for a country such as Namibia with its vast territory and variety of cultures and traditions which require targeted and community-based projects.

Since the end of 2007, France has already donated more than 9 million Namibian dollars for small projects in the sectors of income-generating activities, culture, Human Rights and the fight against violence against women and children, education, rural development and health. Within its very modest proportions, the SFD happens to be one of the most effective tools for French development cooperation. Its spirit is one of solidarity, since it aims to reduce poverty by contributing to social development.

Today’s new donations are part of the effort to deal with two main challenges facing Namibia today: food security and employment.

One grant amounting to N$ 250 000 has been allocated to Judea Harvest Namibia in its efforts to contribute to food security by improving access to high quality, fresh horticultural products throughout the year and promoting employment and income generation for the less endowed population in peri-urban areas of Windhoek, Rehoboth and Okahandja. In a country where rainfall is, usually, very low and water is scarce and costly, most of the fruits and vegetables are imported from South Africa. Initiatives for local production are still recent and very restricted. At the same time, urbanization in Namibia is accompanied by high levels of poverty, unemployment, hunger and malnutrition.

Judea Harvest Namibia has been assisting the poor population living in Windhoek, Rehoboth and Okahandja since 2008 to set up VegiTunnels for food production. The VegiTunnels enable Namibians to produce food in small areas with benefits. Associated feeding schemes ensure that all the vegetables produced go directly into day care centres kitchens.

In the long term these communities need to be trained to improve the efficiency of their food production schemes. Judea Harvest has partnered with Albert Fosso, an expert in horticulture and former coordinator of “Integrated Initiatives in support of urban and peri-urban horticulture in Namibia” to provide training in hydroponic horticulture, nutrition and entrepreneurship and enable day care centres and communities in the townships to produce, eat and sell high quality fresh horticultural products.

Furthermore, many more of these successful schemes need to be implemented to make an impact on food security throughout Namibia. Today’s fund will thus contribute to the rehabilitation and construction of new VegiTunnels.

The second grant of N$ 100 000 has been allocated to Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC) to support the construction of a Craft Centre at Ngoma, Caprivi region, and improve the livelihood of conservancy members.

IRDNC pioneered community-based natural resource management in Namibia in the 1990s. Its programmes, which link nature conservation, rural development and the growth of civil society, have achieved notable conservation successes as well as initiated economic benefits from wildlife back to communities and laid the foundation for robust economic growth in formerly marginal areas. The challenge now is to assist these new and fragile community-based organizations to function effectively and to reach social, economic and environmental sustainability.

This new facility will enable 280 craft producers – most of whom are women – to sell their products and bring a much needed income to their households.

Training and capacity building will enhance their entrepreneurial skills so that they can manage the Craft Centre themselves and make it become a sustainable and profitable enterprise.

published on 03/11/2011

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