Different types of community projects in Namibia receive support in different ways. Some are designed, initiated, implemented and monitored by NGOs or development organisations and are beneficiaries of varying levels of ongoing professional expertise as well as financial inputs. Personnel who run these projects, either in the long-term or on fixed contracts before the initiatives are supposed to be self-supporting, consist of either paid local experts or overseas consultants. This arrangement can work very well indeed, as major success stories have shown.
The ‘Good for Namibia!’ pilot projects are designed to be launched with just a very small number of participants, to see whether what works elsewhere, and/or at different scales, has applications in the specific circumstances that pertain in our communities at a time when they are under greater household-level financial and other stresses than ever before.
We also don’t yet have a broad culture of ‘green thinking’ in Namibia, nor of the type of volunteerism that is common in the USA, for example. A lot of well-intentioned enterprises fold soon after they begin because they are not truly appropriate to meeting the needs of the identified beneficiaries, or they rely on the unpaid efforts of public-spirited individuals who then disengage, for whatever reason.
At start-up, the ‘Good for Namibia!’ pilot projects will receive only the bare minimum financial inputs necessary for them to begin operations and since their activities are decidedly ‘low tech’ this should keep costs right down. After that, they will be expected to purchase any critical supplies from their profits, just like any other business, and will be encouraged to set aside a proportion of their takings to do so.
Nevertheless, the ones that go on to be successful and then get rolled out to include more participants will eventually need some big-ticket items that they cannot fund themselves. For example, given the fact that many participants will already have some form of work that they undertake for subsistence-level survival, and will therefore be away from their homes for extended periods of the day (or night), it could be vital to eventually rent a storage facility for securing stock. It would be a disaster for a project if all their donated resources and the upcycled items they have created got ‘liberated’ while they were out of the house…
At some point, therefore, it’s inevitable that the call will go out to businesses (either local or international) to supply some form of financial support, usually channelled through their corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes. For this to happen, the projects in question will need to make official their operations (registering as a legal entity in some form or another) in order to apply through the relevant channels.
That’s all way in the future but if you have a connection with such a company or department, perhaps you could start thinking about how you could help our successful pilot projects to grow.
In the meantime, you can view the pilot project profiles on this blog as they begin trading and then reach out to any group that you feel you can support with donated items or materials for recycling, via their individual email addresses. Within reason, I am happy to drive to you to collect your recyclables within the Windhoek area after contact has been made with the project in question.