Support to Community Agribusiness
The Governor of Erongo Region Honourable Cleophas Mutjavikua (in the middle) cutting the ribbon at Ûiba-Ôas Crystal Market during project handing over ceremony. He is assisted by (fltr) Mr Job Tjiho, Executive Director of Rössing Foundation, the former Mayor of Arandis His Worship Daniel Muhuura, former Executive Officer of the Social Security Commission, Kennadei Tjivikua, member of the Traditional Council Ms Elizabeth Guriras, Ûiba-Ôas Cooperative Chairperson Ms Dianna Maletzky and Constituency Councillor, Mr Ernest Katjiku Daures.
Community receiving saddle from Lazarus Nafidi of EIF (third from lest), among them are Honourable Constituency Councillor Ernest Katjiku (forth from left), Judas Haakuria, (middle) Conservancy Chairperson Benedictus April (fourth from right) and community game guard.
The Rössing Foundation provided agribusiness mentorship to Dreamland Gardening Project members in Arandis through face-to-face consultation and informal training, as well as encouraging the retention of newly developed skills. The project has secured a fixed market and supplies fresh produce on a weekly basis to Swakopmund outlets.
Installation of an automated irrigation system is 90 per cent complete and will enable the Dreamland Gardening Project to use water more efficiently than their usual manual watering method. The installation of a solar- power system was also necessary to ensure operation of the automated watering system.
Dreamland Garden Project members also undertook an exchange visit to three projects funded by the Social Security Commission Development Fund in the Oshana and Oshikoto regions, namely the Endombo, Kondjashili, and Tulongeni projects. They shared their successes, challenges and lessons learned during project implementation with other project members.
Ûiba-Ôas Crystal Market
The Rössing Foundation has for many years supported the small-scale miners of the Erongo Region, most of whom operate from the Ûiba-Ôas Crystal Market situated on the main road between Usakos and Karibib.
The Social Security Commission’s Development Fund came on board and offered the community a grant to construct a gemstone cutting and polishing workshop and purchase a cutting-and-polishing machine.
Two members of the community were trained in using the cutting-and-polishing machine, thereby enabling members of the Ûiba-Ôas Small-scale Miners’ Cooperative to create value-added products to sell at higher prices than those obtained for raw stones.
Previously, members had to take raw stones to Karibib or Swakopmund for cutting and polishing, incurring considerable expense in the process. Having the facility on site enables them to maximise profit potential.
As with the nearby kiosk that offers refreshments to visitors, having a clean and comfortable ablution facility at the site encourages tour operators to bring their customers to the market, resulting in increased sales of stones and crafts. A newly-erected toilet block serves that purpose — cooperative members charge a nominal fee to keep the facility clean for visitors, thereby improving the quality of life for members and visitors alike.
During the course of the year the Rössing Foundation continued to offer cooperative members training in basic business skills, financial literacy, and other topics such as stone cutting and polishing.
Support to Ohungu Conservacy
During the reporting year, the Rössing Foundation assisted the Ohungu Conservancy in the Erongo Region in submitting a proposal to the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia (EIF) to secure two horses and riding equipment for monitoring the conservancy area in order to curb illegal hunting of wildlife.
After several incidents of poaching in the conservancy area, the Ohungu Conservancy Management Committee and Community Game Guard concluded that the game guard system needed to be strengthened through the provision of horses and saddles for patrolling to support the conservancy’s nature conservation efforts.
Currently the Foundation is also developing a large-scale project that will attempt to reduce conflicts between community members and wildlife in the conservancy.
Members of the Ûiba-Ôas Small-scale Miners' Cooperative, located at the Ûiba-Ôas Crystal Market, in front of the new cutting and polishing workshop, showing some of the uncut, cut and polished gemstones. From left to right: Patricia Uri-Khos, Diana Maletzky (chairperson of the cooperative), Gerhardt Geibeb and Hilda Hunes.