Ondangwa makes clean sweep

A cleaner town, better waste management, happier people.

13 June 2019 | Local News

After being elected Ondangwa mayor in 2015, Paavo Amwele started donating his monthly council allowance towards cleaning Ondangwa in 2016.

Three years later the town scooped the coveted 2019 Namibia Town of the Year award at the just-ended Namibia Tourism Expo (NTE), organised by Namibia Media Holdings (NMH) and its sponsors.

According to Amwele this is a dream came true.

He said when he took over as mayor his dream was to make Ondangwa one of the cleanest towns in the country. Ondangwa was one of the four finalists chosen out of 21 towns that took up the challenge to compete in this year's Town of the Year competition, which took place under the theme 'A cleaner town, a cleaner Namibia'.

Amwele thanked the council employees for committing themselves toward cleaning Ondangwa.

“When we started this initiative in 2016, we were not thinking about this competition. Our main aim was to create a clean environment for ourselves that will attract investors. As we all know, nobody will stay or invest in a filthy town. Fortunately enough, there were people observing us without us knowing, and then they chose us as the cleanest town,” Amwele said.

“This means our efforts have been greatly rewarded. We were competing against Oranjemund, Swakopmund and Walvis Bay, which are clean towns and everybody knows it, but we came out victorious. This is because all of you (the employees) played a central part in cleaning the town.” According to town CEO Ismael Namgongo for the whole of 2016 and half of 2017 Amwele did not get his monthly council allowance as mayor and it was paid to youth organisations that volunteered to clean the town. He said every year Amwele invites dozens of organisations and businesspeople to participate in an annual clean-up campaign he organises.

“Apart from donating his allowance to the volunteers, he also availed his personal trucks and graders to be used in the cleaning campaign. All these complemented the efforts by the town council to clean the town. Employees were also serious about this and they were always available to make sure the town is clean,” said Namgongo. The waste collected during cleaning campaigns was processed by the Recycle Namibia Forum (RNF).

The forum and its members, the O&L Group and its subsidiaries, Namibia Breweries Limited, Pick n Pay, Coca-Cola Namibia and Plastic Packaging also joined the collaborative effort.

“Now that we won the national competition, our dream is to go international. I heard New York in America is the cleanest town. I am planning to take a visit there and see how we can beat them. With the kind of working environment and dedicated council employees, the community of Ondangwa and stakeholders, I am confident we will make Ondangwa over 200% cleaner,” Amwele said confidently.

ILENI NANDJATO

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