Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Namibia has also been assessed as having the third-largest global income inequality gap with glaring evidence of extreme inequalities. Inequality — whether based on gender, economic status, or other elements — prevents many people from accessing services and opportunities and moving out of poverty. At 43.9% of female-headed households registered in 2013, one could conclude that women in Namibia are among the most vulnerable to the adverse effects of shocks such as the Covid 19 pandemic. The pandemic has further exacerbated these already vulnerable and marginalised groups by presenting further challenges at household and community levels. This has contributed to food insecurity, with knock-on effects severely compromised access to nutritional food and other basic necessities.
Amid these challenging times and prevalent inequalities, the Government of Japan provided funding and support through the build back better programme to strengthen Namibia food systems to recover from emergencies and related shocks. The BBB programme is jointly implemented by UNDP Namibia, Ministry of Agriculture, Works and Land Reform and four municipalities. This multi-stakeholder programme focuses on sustainable interventions that support the most vulnerable, including women, youth and people living with disabilities, by providing allotments, seedlings, training and capacity. The BBB programme is being implemented through urban garden schemes across four regions in Namibia; Hardap, Khomas, Erongo and Kavango-East.
This programme has set the pace with sustainable practices that integrate gender equity and the empowerment of marginalised groups such as women into its implementation framework. This has already helped absorb part of the shock of the Covid-19 pandemic. Namibia's Build Back Better programme is determined to bring equality to the forefront of urban agriculture to achieve a food-secure future for Namibia.
The programme aims to improve the production of nutritious, high-value produce such as vegetables and fruits, thereby addressing nutritional deficiencies affecting urban and peri-urban households. More so increasing access to healthy food available for home consumption and income generation. The programme's framework capacitates respective municipalities to become food self-sufficient, cope with the immediate impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and develop structures to handle such shocks in the future.