Hilia Hitula continues to achieve milestone after milestone

She is driven by her mission to improve Namibian towns and promote urbanisation.

03 December 2021 | Business

“Things take time and it is important to embrace the season you are in.” Hilia Hitula

Rivaldo Kavanga

Urban planner Hilia Hitula says it has always been a dream to work in the urban planning profession. “Right from matric I wanted to be an urban planner,” she says.

Hitula is the founder and managing member of HEH Urban Nest Creation, a leading establishment in the urban planning fraternity. Hitula is passion, hard work and commitment personified as she has commercialised improving lives and solving social issues. She started HEH Urban Nest Creations as a side hustle in 2014 and has since grown the establishment into a leading establishment.

Educational background and experience

Hitula has achieved a number of academic milestones and holds a BA degree with a double major in geography (physical geography and human geography) from the University of Namibia and a master’s degree in city and regional planning from the University of Cape Town. Thereafter she obtained a certificate as a junior planner at the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development and proceeded to become a certified planner and thereafter she became the head of the town planning section at the municipality of Walvis Bay for 10 years. In that space she developed a hunger to understand her career at an international level so she did a Master of Science degree in urban management and development with the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

She says this is why she refers to herself as an urban planner and no longer a town planner. In between her work and her studies, she did management development courses with the University of Stellenbosch as she was developing as a manager and also did a course in integrated urban planning with the Blekinge Institute of Technology in Sweden

Creating a brighter feature

Hitula has seen the housing and urbanisation problems the country faces and has decided to take it head on. Urban Creation was established with the vision of providing solutions to the housing crisis Namibians face. Urban Nest aims to help local authorities, as well as the ministry of urban and rural development and the National Planning Commission, to at least halve the national backlog of 200 000 homes.

“The company also aims to ensure that every major town in Namibia has at least one developed cycling and jogging path and that Namibia is developed to have more cities,” Hitula states.

Overcoming obstacles

Hitula says one of her major challenges was the transition from start-up to a small and medium-scale enterprise (SME). She says most systems are set up to accommodate monthly income, which is not how an SME usually functions.

“As an SME in these current economic times, you work and receive money on irregular basis. So, it is hard to be accommodated at other official institutions such as the banks, the tax and revenue requirements and other service providers that expect credit to be serviced on a monthly basis,” Hitula adds.

Apart from the transition from a start-up to an SME, Covid-19 also had a devastating impact on Urban Nest considering the fact that the company was established in 2020, the year Covid hit Namibia.

Hitula states that she experienced a number of fearful moments but constantly had to remain encouraged and positive. She gained hope that the company would survive, as she heard that most companies that grow are the ones established during tough times and that manage to stand the test of time.

Keep your friends close and you family closer

Hitula adds that her family and close friends were pivotal in her starting HEH Urban Nest Creations. “Mostly, my supportive husband and partner, family and some close friends are really central to me starting and maintaining the establishment. But also, other instrumental players like mentors, peers and other successful planners that have come ahead of me. It has not been a journey of many paths,” she concludes

10 Fun Facts about Hilia Hitula

I always start my day with exercise and prayer and a good read.

I love reading.

I love exercising.

I force myself to drink water. But I much rather prefer coffee or a nice cold cider.

I love being a mom and hustling between trying to be a professional and a decent mom at the same time.

I love a challenge. I am very stubborn. When I hear a no, it’s as if am magically inspired to pursue that path.

I am always juggling what feels like 10 million things, so I am a serious multi-tasker.

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