By ensuring a customer base, Planeterra connected Penduka to a reliable revenue stream for their restaurant. An added bonus is that while waiting for their lunch boxes, travellers visit the workshop to learn more about the work done at Penduka, and often shop for souvenirs to bring home. As a result, travellers are also making a difference in the lives of the cooperative’s women and 350 others, who do not work on the property but are contracted out from various villages in rural Namibia.
Namibia paid special attention to gender equality and women’s empowerment during the formation of the country’s constitution, and significant gains have been made since then, including increased school enrollment for girls, and political representation for women. However, there is still much improvement left to make for women in the country’s socio-economic sphere. The patriarchal nature of many local cultures combined with the impacts of the HIV/AIDS crisis mean women often face an uphill battle, particularly in women-headed households. Employment opportunities, particularly those that take into account the special circumstances of those living with conditions or illnesses such as HIV are needed throughout the country.
Planeterra has partnered with Penduka, a women-owned-and-run business in the Katutura Township outside of Windhoek, which employs at-risk women, many of whom are living with chronic illness or are differently-abled. Planeterra provided Penduka with a link to more than 1,500 international travellers and assisted them in the creation of a takeaway-style lunch for travellers heading out of Windhoek to explore the rest of the country.