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13th International Congress of the Basic Income Earth Network - BIEN 2010 Basic Income as an instrument for justice and peace Sao Paulo - Brazil by Bishop Dr. Zephania Kameeta . The BIG in Namibia. Facts about Namibia. Unemployment rate of 51% (2009)

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the big in namibia

13th International Congress of the Basic Income Earth Network - BIEN 2010

Basic Income as an instrument for justice and peace

Sao Paulo - Brazil


Bishop Dr. Zephania Kameeta

The BIG in Namibia
facts about namibia
Facts about Namibia
  • Unemployment rate of 51% (2009)
  • 30% of all children below 5 years show clear signs of malnutrition (UNICEF 2008)‏
  • The HIV prevalence rate is about 20%
  • One of the highest level of income inequality in the world (Gini 0.63, GRN 2008; UN report 2009: 0.743)
big coalition
BIG Coalition
  • Proposal for BIG by Cabinet appointed NAMTAX Commission 2002 (Government)‏
  • Establishment of Coalition 2005:
    • Council of Churches (CCN)
    • National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW)
    • Namibian NGO Forum (NANGOF)
    • Namibian AIDS Service Organisations (NANASO)
    • Legal Assistance Centre (LAC)
    • Labour Resource and Research Centre (LaRRI)
  • New Members since 2009
    • National Youth Council (NYC)
    • Church Alliance for Orphans (CAFO)
big pilot project
BIG Pilot Project
  • Two year period, January 2008 to December 2009
  • 930 recipients received N$ 100 every month
  • ‏Comprehensive Research:
    • Baseline Study in November 2007
    • Impact studies in June and November 2008
  • The community established a BIG Committee:

[The BIG] is a little project with a large aim. The aim is to UPLIFT the 'life' of Omitara, then Namibia, then Africa and at last the World” (BIG Committee Otjivero/Omitara 2007)

august huiseb s grade 6 life before big
August ǀHuiseb's (Grade 6)– Life before BIG
  • This is the way we suffered and lived, us from Otjivero/Omitara. We begged everyday for food because we didn’t have anything at home and during the evening we got in pieces of a blanket. Even the shack we were staying in was not rainproof because when it rained the water just went through. We had to hide in the corners to avoid getting wet. We slept on the ground because there was no bed or a mattress. We did not even have proper plates.
  • We made fire and put pots beside it. Only salt and pots can be seen besides the fire. Whenever the wind blew, the few corrugated zinc sheets on the shack were blown away. We just idled around because of hunger, and as the result we were forced to eat old and rotten corns of maize. We were literally begging for food. I prayed under the tree so that something will happen one day and I will become a human again. Our stomachs were empty, no clothes to put on, no shoes, and no land to live on. In the past we really suffered during that time.
voices of otjivero omitara before the big
Voices of Otjivero-Omitara before the BIG
  • There is a problem of unemployment and we don’t have money to travel to Gobabis and Windhoek to look for work. I and my three children depend on my unemployed parents for food and accommodation. Sometimes I wish I was dead because I cannot stand this type of life anymore. I am supposed to provide and protect my children and parents but I am failing to do that. (Willemina Gawises)
august huiseb s grade 6 life after big
August ǀHuiseb's (Grade 6)– Life after BIG
  • When a thing named the BIG was introduced, we could see things changing. When this money came we could get things which we needed. We are now able to buy household staff for our house: A cupboard, a kitchen cupboard, beds, a carpet, wall watches and some chairs. We also bought lots of clothes. We also bought school uniforms and shoes, a radio and things we needed. I believe that this money will remain with us. This is how our life goes.
weight for age children under 5 years
Weight for age children under 5 years

In Nov 2007, 42% of the children under 5 were malnourished

After 12 months of BIG, this was reduced to 10%

Since January we did not have a single case of malnutrition, and that is how we see that this N$100 really helps.

impact of the big health
Impact of the BIG: Health
  • Since the introduction of the BIG income of the clinic has risen five fold, from about N$ 250 to N$ 1,300
  • The BIG strengthens and complements Government's efforts to provide ARV's to all, who need them.
impact of the big education
Impact of the BIG: Education
  • Before the BIG, almost half of the children did not attend school regularly Pass rates stood at 40% and less then half of the parents paid school fees.
  • Within 12 months, 90% paid school fees while drop-out rates were virtually eliminated
economic activities
Economic activities
  • Economic activity increased substantially:
  • income from wage employment increased by 19%
  • income form self-employment increased by 301%
  • income from farming increased by 36%

The BIG created a local market

small business development
Small business development
  • After the introduction of the BIG I started my business. I bake traditional bread every day. I bake 100 rolls per day and sell each for N$1 (one dollar). I sell all the rolls in a day and a profit of about N$400 (four hundred dollars) per month. My business is good and I believe that it will grow. (...). I run it with the help of my children.
  • Because of my thankfulness and good experience with the BIG I expressed my thank you in those big letters as you can see on my house. (Frieda Nembwaya)
way forward
Way forward
  • BIG Pilot Project has proven the effectiveness of a universal basic income to promote social development (eradicate hunger and destitution) and to foster local economic development
  • Grass-roots in Namibia are in full support of BIG
  • BIG Coalition encouraged by support and solidarity from all over the world
  • NOW, political struggle and mass campaign