Ndahafa Hapulile is currently employed as the assistant to Namibia’s Minister of Urban and Rural Development. She has founded two organisations, the Dalarize Development Projects and Key Children Media.
Ndahafa established Dalarize Development Projects in 2008. It is a results-driven and outcome-based development company, with emphasis on training and development. The company ensures that the empowerment initiatives can be measured and add value to people’s lives.
She is the founder of a children’s media, which focuses on early childhood development, family involvement and community empowerment through advocacy and interventions. This organisation encourages the participation of children, youth and communities in the socio-economic transformation of Namibia by encouraging self-reliance, a spirit of unity and nationhood.
In 2008 Ndahafa was doing the practical training component of her Chemical Engineering National Diploma and was managing a sampling plant where she, among other things, commissioned equipment that the company was testing to use in their operations. As she moved towards the completion of her practicals, she began to know that she was in the wrong industry.
Her reality check came when she realised this would be the life she would lead after completing her studies. When she clocked into the mine the following morning in her overalls, she felt like a number. At that point, she didn’t have a clear vision of what she wanted, but just knew she wanted to be more impactful and fulfilled.
She founded Dalarize Development Projects and started working on an exit plan, given that she was a recipient of a bursary and had obligations. She registered her company and worked out a sustainability strategy. The hardest part was convincing her family of her decision, and she says some family members still haven’t forgiven her for depriving them of the bragging rights over having a metallurgist in the family.
She is of the opinion that nothing compares to the feeling of solving community problems and giving others the opportunities that they otherwise would never have received. As a child she felt as every misunderstood child, and sees herself in every child struggling with self-esteem and every person struggling for a platform.
After starting her organisation, she started with events management in the small mining town of Oranjemund. Her first project was the Let Go – Let Flow Empowerment Network, which focused on empowering women and students from various tertiary institutions. She worked in partnership with the University of Namibia and the Polytechnic of Namibia.
She was fortunate to get the support of her then employer Namdeb and the Namibian Chamber of Commerce Industry (NCCI), who assisted with sponsorship. Dalarize Development Projects has grown tremendously and together with its partners will launch a technical and vocational academy in Okahandja, Namibia, in September 2019.
Her vision is to develop innovative ideas to improve systems, new approaches, and create solutions to change society for the better. She is currently a fourth-year law student, assistant to the Minister of Urban and Rural Development, chairperson of the Programmes Oversight Committee and board director at the National Youth Council of Namibia. She is a 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow and serves as a country representative for two international organisations.
She emphasises the need to focus on climate change, given that Southern Africa is distinctively vulnerable to the impact of climate change, which poses a number of risks to SADC goals for regional economic development. She is of the opinion that too much funding is spent on drought relief and not enough on drought resistance research and techniques.
She calls for more innovative, proactive and sustainable solutions to drought. She is studying cases of best practices in the Middle East, and in the next five years would like to play a key role in climate change advocacy.