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Saamstaan housing cooperative in Namibia

09 / 1995

General Experience

The Saamstaan Housing Cooperative, one of the 11 groupe members of the Namibian Housing Action Group (NHAG), is the oldest housing group in Namibia. It formed sound and workable housing groups in the country and has established processes in facilitating affordable housing for low-income households. Saamstaan obtained a revolving fund to grant loans to their members. The loans are to be repaid in a period of 11 years. The loan system has been adjusted in 1992 requiring members to save 10% of the loans before they actually receive the money. Members have to repay the municipal loan for the land before they can obtain the loan to build their houses. In the meantime, members occupy their own plots in temporary shelters provided by Saamstaan. Thirty two houses were built by April 1994 and more families are on a waiting list. In 1987 Saamstaan began also working specifically on women’s self-help housing and 250 families will be benefitted from it. The houses comprise of two rooms with bathroom with an area of 40 sqm. As the cost of bulding materials increase, the given loan becomes sufficient only to build a one room house with bathroom with an area of 24 sqm

Actors involved

The Namibian Development Trust (NDT); namibian Housing Action Group (NHAG); the social organization; Roman Catholic Social Unit; Ministry of Housing and local Government and Frères des Hommes.

Role of the NGO

The NGO NHAG is managed by the representatives chosen by the community-based organization who are members of NHAG. They form the Management Board of NHAG. The NGO helped in the implementation of the program through acting as a mediator with the local government and providing technical assistance. They also trained their community members, Saamstaan Housing Cooperative, how to begin and manage a project, how to conduct meetings, what steps are to be taken to build houses and obtain financing.

Role of the Social Organization

The Social Organization, Roman Catholic Social Unit, acted as the process initiator

Local/Federal Role

The municipality provided the community based members with access to loans for the purchase of the land and houses. The municipalities also provided technical support in the construction of their houses

Women’s Role

The women took on a large role since the aim of the program was for self-help housing for women. They were the administrators, management and laborers of the initiative

Type of Relations between the NGO and the Government

The municipality and the NGOs worked closely together to see to the success of the initiative. The municipality provided the loans and land to be purchased while the NGO acted as the mediator between the community members and the municipality. The total success of the program required the cooperation of both parties

Levels and Type of Impact

This initiative as had only a local impact.

Key words

housing cooperative, housing financing, community participation, training, housing management

, Namibia, Windhoek


Data card carried out for the governmentT/NGO cooperation project in the field of human settlement.


Internal document


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