Buy-a-Brick amasses over N$3 million to build homes

In just a short span of eight months Standard Bank, through the third leg of the Buy-a-Brick initiative, has raised an astounding N$3.727 million which was handed to the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia (SDFN) to build homes for less fortunate Namibians who live in shacks.

Under the pioneering leadership of the chief executive, Vetumbuavi Mungunda, the bank's flagship initiative has seen various great corporate companies joining hands with the 'Blue Bank' to raise more funds for the noble cause.

Mungunda handed over the funds to the SDFN last week at the bank's Swakopmund branch, following an excursion earlier that day which saw various captains of industries visit the recipients of the donation at their shacks in the town's DRC informal settlement.

The handing-over was attended by the Deputy Minister of Urban and Rural Development Derek Klazen, Councillor Juuso Kambueshe (who was standing in for Governor the Erongo Region Cleophas Mutjavikua), MTC's chief human capital and corporate affairs officer Tim Ekandjo, corporate public relations and media liaison of Bidvest Namibia, Andrea Calitz, Walvis Bay Salt Refiners' business development director Gregory Swartz, as well as the federation's leadership, its members and Blue Bankers.

MTC gave a sponsorship of N$800,000 to the initiative, Bidvest Namibia contributed an impressive N$50,000 with a commitment to partner with the initiative for the next five years and Walvis Bay Salt Refiners contributed an equally inspiring N$40,000. Standard Bank employees, through fundraising efforts in the community, raised N$900,000, while the remaining N$2 million was contributed from the bank's Corporate Social Investment (CSI) Fund.

Mungunda commended the government, the corporates and ordinary Namibians who have selflessly given to the initiative.

As an organization we have a purpose or reason why we exist that goes along the line of Namibia is our home; we drive her growth but within that there is a lot of strong sentiment relying [on] that word (the word home) I think as a bank we have been on a journey and I believe we are getting to a point where we own and start to feel that Namibia is a home. We need to engage the challenges that are at home, he said.

Deputy Minister Klazen commended the bank for the initiative, stating that it is well aligned to the government's mass housing programme as well as the land and housing provision under the social progression pillar of the Harambee Prosperity Plan as set by President Hage Geingob.

Standard Bank has heeded the call for decent housing for all Namibians through their flagship initiative and become a shining example that alleviating the housing shortage is possible. The provision of housing in our country cannot be left to the government alone as the government will not be in a position to raise and provide all the resources that are required for such programmes I would therefore also like to thank MTC, Bidvest and Walvis Bay Salt Refiners for partnering with the Buy-a-Brick initiative. I would be remiss if I didn't thank every individual who gave their contributions from their personal capacity, he added.

Additionally, he urged other corporate entities and institutions from the private sector to emulate this shining example as the current housing challenge is a collective responsibility.

He stressed that smart partnerships are needed to alleviate poverty, address the housing shortage and promote employment in order for our nation to reach economic prosperity.

Namibia currently faces a housing backlog of 100,000 and this number is growing by 3,700 every year. With a higher target set by Mungunda for the fourth Buy-a-Brick initiative, fundraising efforts continue vigorously with the call for more corporates, companies and private individuals to join the efforts to take this profound initiative to greater heights.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia