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A brickmaker in every village – PPP vision from the cement trade

A brickmaker in every village – PPP vision from the cement trade

The concept Public Private Partnership gained new meaning this week when the Minister of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare, Hon Bishop Zephaniah Kameeta launched a unique brickmaking project in Tsumeb.

Two private sector companies, Ohorongo Cement and Built It in Tsumeb, with the ministry as patron, on Monday launched the Ohorongo Build It Brickmaking Academy to train new brickmakers to a level where their product can be retailed through existing hardware supply channels. Both active partners described the project as supporting the Harambee Prosperity Plan.

Before the academy’s official launch, it has already trained its first group of prospective brickmakers to test the viability of the concept to take brickmaking to rural areas in the form of micro and small businesses that operate on a profit basis.

The brickmaking academy goes far beyond the conventional self-help schemes that typically enable unemployed people living in informal settlement to manufacture their own crude building blocks.

The academy is operating on the premise that brickmakers can be trained to produce an increasing volume of bricks at a quality level that will enable the hardware trade to buy the suplus production from the brickmakers.

A rough estimate puts the number of new jobs that can be created in the informal sector at over 600 if every new brickmaker only employs two workers. Based on the initial success the academy has had before its official launch, it is envisaged that informal brickmaking can become an industry of substance across hundreds of local villages.

The academy’s first target is to train 210 brickmakers across all fourteen regions.

Its purpose is to train a core of brickmakers to a level where every brick adheres to industry specifications. Beyond the training, an Ohorongo technical team in collaboration with Built It experts wil continue to provide technical assistance once a prospective brickmaker is operating independently. This is to ensure the quality of production so that the bricks can be sold back to the hardware trade.

Ohorongo Cement Managing Director, Hans-Wilhelm Schütte said Ohorongo Cement wants to see a trained brickmaker in every village. The first target is to produce bricks for local communities and as the enterprise develops, to make bricks for other paying customers.

“We envisage that the brickmakers will use their newly acquired skills to assist in job creation, enabling them not only to sustain their own livelihoods, but actively play a role in the alleviation of poverty” Schütte commented.

“You have a great responsibility to be flag bearers of this Brickmaking Academy. Use your newly acquired skills and teach others, create jobs, go out and serve as a source of inspiration to others, to affect a positive change in your region” Schütte told the first trainees.

Paul Hinson, the Built It Category Buyer and a major driver behind the academy said Build It has committed to purchase the bricks produced by the trainees, pending adherence to quality control measures. This would create a permanent offset area for their product and ensure sustainability of their business ventures.”

About The Author

Musa Carter

Musa Carter is a long-standing freelance contributor to the editorial team and also an active reporter. He gathers and verifies factual information regarding stories through interviews, observation and research. For the digital Economist, he promotes targeted content through various social networking sites such as the Economist facebook page (/Nameconomist/) and Twitter.