28 November 2012

Namibia: Free Goats for Desert Dwellers

Photo: Michael J.Ssali/DailyMonitor
File photo of Ms Teopista Nalubega tending her goats at her home.

Walvis Bay — The Topnaar community living on the outskirts of Walvis Bay is set to benefit from the Namibian-German Special Initiative (NGSI) programme that is aimed at empowering rural communities in the country.

Topnaar Chief Seth Kooitjie yesterday said at least 12 Topnaar families and farmers would receive 120 goats from the project this Friday.

According to Kooitjie, all is set for the arrival of the goats that will be distributed to the families and eager farmers living at Utuseb.

Chief Kooitjie remains positive that the introduction of the project will not only change the lives of the Topnaar community, but also bring them on par with mainstream agricultural and farming activities, as well as boost the economy of the Topnaar community which relies mainly on the selling of the !Nara plant, which is believed to have medicinal properties.

"The project will change the livelihoods of the recipients as the project will allow them to feed their families and produce quality meat products for the mainstream market. The goats will be distributed equally among the families in the community to ensure that everyone benefits," Kooitjie said.

According to Kooitjie, some residents have already received training on goat farming and will now train others to make the programme a success. The chief further explained that the programme would also enable the Topnaars to enter the mainstream of farming, as well as to participate in Namibia's growing meat market.

He also said the programme does not only cater for poor residents, but also farmers. "We expect the recipients to take care of the goats, as it is an ongoing programme. The first recipients will later hand over the exact number of goats they will receive to another group to ensure continuity of the programme" he said.

Meanwhile, the Topnaar community also received a water pipeline that will enable water to flow from the nearest reservoir to their goat kraals. The pipeline, valued at N$10 000, was funded by the Erongo regional rural constituency office.

The initiative also supports other development activities at local and community levels in areas of Namibia where Germany acknowledges special historical and moral responsibility, such as the Karas, Hardap, Kunene, Omaheke, Otjozondjupa, Khomas and Erongo regions.

The programme also includes borehole rehabilitation and gardening projects, among others. The second phase of the project is due for completion by the end of next year, during which 177 projects valued at over N$146.8 million will be funded.

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