Livelihood challenges in a rural growth point: the case of Ondobe, Namibia
Namabanda, E. M.
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Widespread poverty and high levels of inequality are among the biggest challenges facing developing countries. This has led to the migration of numerous people from rural areas to urban centres in a search for better survival opportunities. A number of individuals settle in proximate urbanising areas, where they are susceptible to poverty traps as a result of high demand for services and infrastructure. Government and other development partners persistently support initiatives to uplift the poor and most vulnerable out of poverty through the implementation of programmes and projects. The strategies developed under the auspices of the economic progression pillar of the fifth National Development Plan (NDP 5), which aims to achieve growth that is inclusive, sustainable and equitable, include the identification and advancement of growth points, development centres and sub-centres. This research explores livelihood challenges in the rural growth point of Ondobe, Namibia, as well as the availability of livelihood capitals that may need to be strengthened. A survey of 50 participants including 10 key informants was carried out with a 100% response rate. A deep understanding of the underlying issues facing urbanising areas is crucial for evidence-based planning and the effective implementation of responsive measures. The study found that most people in Ondobe are employed in the informal sector, with activities ranging from artisan work to subsistence farming and trading, with a few people being employed in the public sector. It was also observed that the area has been developing over the years, although not at the desired level given that the lives of a considerable segment of the population have not improved. An element of informality in terms of how the area is developing as well as a lack of adequate infrastructure and services is a hindrance to the creation of sustainable livelihoods. This study concluded that the impediments to sustainable livelihoods are unique to various settlement areas, therefore a consideration of customised responses to each community's needs, especially in rapidly growing areas, is crucial for effective implementation and inclusive development. Relevant stakeholders can build further on these findings with a comprehensive study that will provide guidance in devising responsive policies and strategies.