National Facilitator of the Namibian Federation Awarded UN-Habitat Scroll of Honour

SDFN Centre in Hakana, Windhoek

SDI, the Namibia Housing Action Group and the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia are pleased to share the news that Edith Mbanga, a member of the People Square Saving group and the National Facilitator of the Federation was awarded the 2011 UN-Habitat Scroll of Honour, the most prestigious award given by the United Nations in recognition of work carried out in the field of human settlements development. The aim of the award is to honour individuals and institutions instrumental in improving the living conditions in urban centres around the world  The World Habitat Awards recognize innovative, sustainable and replicable human settlement projects through out the world. As stated by UN-Habitat:

Ms. Edith Mbanga is personally awarded for her outstanding efforts to improve land access and housing for the poor. Her work has been of special benefit to women living in poverty. Over many years, since the early 1990s she has helped set up various savings and support groups, which she helped into a national network under the Federation. Through her dedication, it is today the largest member-driven organization in the country. Thanks to her drive and energy, today there are over 600 savings groups in Namibia with an estimated 20 thousand members, 65 per cent of whom are women. The Federation has helped more than 4,000 poor households secure land, more than 2,000 build new homes.

SInce 1998, the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia (SDFN) has been using SDI methodology to mobilize residents of informal settlements, empowering women to work with local and state government to secure access to affordable, secure shelter and basic services. Thirteen years later, SDFN has over six hundred savings groups spread across the country and daily savings of over US$1.4 million. One of their many accomplishments is the completion of the Community Land Information Program (CLIP), in which all informal settlements nationwide were profiled by the SDFN members living there. The self-knowledge gained through the profiling process empowers the community, highlighting their strengths and needs, and putting valuable data in the hands of the shack dweller community. 

For a full list of award recipients, click here.

To learn more about the SDI Alliance in Namibia, click here for the affiliate page, and here for blog posts.