One of the great challenging priorities for the independent Republic of Namibia is the development of programs to promote appropriate infrastructural systems like water supply and water disposal schemes as well as other ones in the field of civil engineering. Such systems should be based on community self-help initiatives at grassroots level as far as possible. It is the objective of this study to pinpoint areas in which there is a need for such development. The projects are primarily aimed at those Namibians most in need - for those who are prepared to uplift themselves. It is of utmost importance to develop the Namibian human product and not so much the commodity products in the country.

Any need for action for the people of Namibia to promote above keynotes is influenced by the following present factors:

1. The general poverty, deprivation and economic depression suffered by the majority of Namibians, which are the result of several factors, including the impact of more than a century of colonial oppression and exploitation and many years of war as well as successive droughts in the 1980s in many parts of the country, displacement of many people, limited employment opportunities, fiscal stringency, unbalanced public services and development potential;

2. The loss of income and food shortage in the transitional period to independence, related to the demilitarisation of the northern areas of Namibia and intensified by fragile environmental conditions in many of the rural areas;

3. The present lack of resources and institutional framework to respond to the needs of returning Namibian exiles as well as their home communities together with the increased demands on the host communities for these returnees and on an already fragile socio-economic infrastructure represented by them.

These factors can be highlighted by the following explaining remarks: A large number of people in the northern regions of Namibia have been laid off with the withdrawal of the South African Defence Forces (SADF) and their former Namibian counterparts, the South West African Territorial Forces (SWATF). Capital investments in the public and private sectors have been deferred in the pre-independence period, either due to lack of funds related to the large reduction in South Africa's subsidy to the Namibian state budget, or due to increased caution on the part of the major investors. This is especially evident for capital projects on the infrastructural sector. High inflation and unemployment or underemployment in the urban and semi-urban areas have risen sharply in recent years, and the trend is likely to continue.

Subsistence farming and the marginal cash crop production of small-scale farmers, especially in the densely populated areas in the north, have suffered consecutive years of droughts and harvests below average. Large areas in Ovamboland have been affected by over-grazing. Physical structures, especially roads, water supply installations and public buildings are nearly nonexistent, due to a deliberate unbalance of these infrastructures between the modern economic sectors of Namibia and vast areas in the north in the colonial past. In many cases they are destroyed or grossly neglected in these former war zones. They require new construction, rehabilitation or intensified maintenance. An improvement and implementation of these capital projects can only be expected in the second half of 1991 and thereafter due to initiated development schemes by the new Government.

The densely populated areas in Northern Namibia where at the present moment the majority of population are located, face particularly poor economic conditions. The economic structure of Northern Namibia is undiversified. There are no minerals in these areas and there is virtually no industrial activity. The wholesale/retail trade is well developed, but has depended to a large extend on the military sector which now has disappeared, as well as on remittances from migrant workers. Development of other service activities has remained small scale and cannot, in a depressed economic climate, absorb large numbers of new entrants to the labour force.

It is therefore possible that, by early 1991, if rains are poor, the northern areas and particularly Ovamboland may face a general income and employment crisis. This would have deleterious effects on an already fragile health and nutrition status for vulnerable groups in poor families of the rural population at large. For such a scenario the urgent creation of work opportunities through labour-intensive public works like for instance appropriate water engineering schemes and other measures constructed by building brigades which will be dealt with later on, preferably on a cash-for-work basis, would become imperative to safeguard the population. Before this current background the following suggestions must be seen.

Through the years the author of this study was involved a great deal in the development of community schemes. Many positive and negative knowledges were experienced during this time. These can be summarised as follows:

- Any community development scheme has to mirror the soul of the country, the spirit of history, resistance and new hopes.

- Construct humble, appropriate and according to the Namibian environment with a maximum of Namibian local labour, materials and incentives.

- Namibian development schemes should be an incentive to commitment, pride and involvement. Promote the pride of the local people. This cannot be achieved through 'klip-together' buildings (prefabricated buildings) and other 'first-world-white elephants' which are foreign to Namibia.

- It is easy to 'stuff' the country through the application of the wrong development choice. Sufficient examples do exist in our neighbouring countries, especially the Republic of South Africa.

- Foreign development aid should help us up and not down. We should not 'mess' around other people's money through promoting the wrong methods

- Without continuity, also as far as local expertise is concerned, any development scheme will ultimately fail. Local expertise should be built. Foreign 'development experts' are not the key to success.

The keyword for community development schemes taking above basic parameters into account are 'Namibia-Appropriate-Technologies'. The whole purpose of 'Appropriate Technology' must be clearly understood. What is it and what will it do for us? What is its purpose? What do we hope to get from it? Of what benefit is it for the community? But, we have also to ask ourselves 'appropriate to what?' What is the practical application proper to; relevant to; compliant with? At the same moment where knowledge in a proper fitting manner is applied in order to achieve a practical purpose, then we can say that we are about to apply 'Appropriate Technology "A.T."'.

'A.T.' can create new jobs, new employment opportunities by employing building technology at a level geared to the range of skills appropriate to a specific community or area or the availability of local materials. 'A.T.' could create the basis for an appropriate energy generation to reduce costs and protect the vulnerable ecology in order to save Namibia's scarce financial resources and to safeguard Namibia's fragile environment. Appropriate planning can be applied on many technical fields, especially on the field of building an infrastructure appropriate to their actual function. 'A.T.' could promote both, overall economic growth and social development.

Technology cannot only be regarded as technical means, tools, equipment, applied techniques and methods but also to benefit the society. Appropriate technology has at its prime function Social and Economic benefits to the Namibian community as a whole.

If a designer is planning his structure for the use of construction techniques appropriate to the low level of a rural worker, then these appropriate techniques will enable him to employ his skills, earn income and extend his skills. The income will allow him to rise his living standard. If his source of employment is consistent the worker will stabilise his community and he will be able to secure his well-being. 'A.T.- means' are therefore 'enabling means'. This study will try to apply 'A.T.' techniques which are relevant to Namibia to plan and design appropriate Namibian water supply and disposal systems.

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