The process started around 2012, when data was collected by residents of the area, and based on their findings, discussions followed amongst various stakeholders to develop the settlement called Freedom Square. In the same year, a Memorandum of Understanding between the Gobabis Municipality, SDFN and NHAG, was signed. This laid the grounds for a series of “planning studios” with town and regional planning students in NUST’s Department of Architecture and Spatial Planning.
In these studios, students analysed the site, mapped infrastructure and features, and engaged community members to design layouts of “re-blocking” the structures in the settlement into a formal setting.
With support from the German Cooperation Agency (GIZ) and other international partners, the project became part of the Flexible Land Tenure (FLT) pilot project. The Ministry then availed N$10 million to install infrastructure (water and sewer) in the site through community training. Communities excavated the trenches and installedtheirwaterlinesandconstructed manholes through training.
“A contractor KSP assisted with excavation of sewer trenches and offered to lay sewer
pipes at no cost. After the completion of the services, pressure tests on water and sewer were done and passed, and services were handed over to Gobabis Municipality. Before installing the services, the community requested that they be provided with prepaid water meters instead of conventional water meters,” said Dr Guillermo Delgado, the Land, Livelihoods and Housing Programme Coordinator at NUST’s Integrated Land Management Institution (ILMI).
The Departments of Architecture and Spatial Planning; and Land and Property Sciences, also played key roles in bringing this project to fruition. Funding was sourced from Selavip in Europe to purchase 200 prepaid water metres.
Moreover, 20 houses were completed and a further 10 brick-and-mortar built ones are currently under construction. Earlier this month, 988 residents were presented with certificates of their land hold titles through the FLT project.
Students and lecturers have participated in different aspects of the process of this case study, which has resulted in journal publications, Masters and PhD dissertations.