Moses ||Garoëb tries to bridge information gap on government assistance programmes

WINDHOEK: In a concerning revelation, the general population in the urban informal settlements is largely unaware of government small business support programmes and training initiatives for young people.

Despite the government’s efforts to roll out various support programmes aimed at fostering entrepreneurship, many people in Windhoek’s informal settlements remain unaware of these opportunities.

The lack of information regarding such initiatives has left aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners in these areas at a severe disadvantage.

Although Windhoek informal settlements like Havana and Goreangab have long been hubs for entrepreneurship, certain business activities are oversaturated.

And the lack of information further causes many young people including those who did not do well in school to miss out on training opportunities provided by various government ministries.

To bridge this knowledge gap, on 28 February 2024, Moses ||Garoëb Constituency councillor Stefanus Ndengu with a delegation pai
d a visit to Lucia Iipumbu, the Minister of Industrialisation and Trade, at her office.

On Saturday, Ndengu and members of the constituency development committee held an information-sharing meeting with the business community at the constituency office in Havana.

Ndengu said they sought to provide feedback about the visit to the ministry and share with the community information about government support programmes.

‘We decided to go to the high authorities to get information and bring it to you, to help you improve your business and go into business. We have seen how much you are suffering when it comes to information. You might have registered a business, but you are sitting at home because you do not know which door to turn to or where to start,’ Ndengu said during the well-attended meeting.

The councillor spoke about various support programmes of the industrialisation ministry, such as the equipment aid scheme for small and medium enterprises. Ndengu said his office is going to share information about t
he ministry’s gemstone cutting and polishing training for this year.

Minister Iipumbu recently revealed that about 300 young people between the ages of 18 and 35 have been trained so far under this programme at its centre in Karibib. And that at least 90 per cent of this group have found employment in the diamond polishing and cutting sector.

‘The 2023 cohort has just graduated, and out of 24 graduates, we can report that 22 are about to start their employment within the diamond cutting and polishing sector. We are about to advertise for the 2024 cohort to apply,’ according to the minister.

Also speaking at the meeting, was the youthful councillor for Windhoek West Consituency, Emma Muteka. She called on the youth of Moses ||Garoëb to believe in themselves and take business risks.

‘Information is very important, but the main problem is that the youth want information to come to them. We don’t stand up and go look for information. You can even come to the office and ask the councillor for specific informat
ion. We need to keep motivating young people to start walking toward information,’ Muteka said.

However, efforts to bridge the information gap must include translating information into local languages. ‘That information needs to be translated in the sense that everybody is included and that it is inclusive for everybody to understand,’ said Muteka.

According to entrepreneur Talapombanda Mulunga, the oversaturation of some business activities in informal settlements is due to a lack of information and innovative business practices.

‘Tourism is one of the businesses we can initiate. I used to take foreign tourists to Babylon and Havana and bring them to the Soweto Market and Single Quarters. So this is another business our young people can think of as one way of income generation,’ she said, adding that women can also venture into childcare services.

Councillor Ndengu meanwhile said Minister Iipumbu has agreed to meet with the Moses ||Garoëb Constituency business community next month to provide more informa
tion about the ministry’s support programmes.

He added that he and members of the constituency development committee would be visiting other ministries and government agencies to learn more about government assistance programmes to inform people in his constituency.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency