A partner for sustainable urban development

Who we are

Development Workshop (DW) was founded in 1975 by three architectural students in the UK with the objective of improving the lives and livelihoods of poor and disadvantaged communities with a specific focus on human settlements. Over the last 40 years, DW has implemented many award-winning and successful programmes in over 30 countries in Africa, Asia and the Americas.

DW-Switzerland is part of the world-wide network of Development Workshop (DW) organisations and is led by Dr. Beat Weber. It was founded in early 2022 as a support office for the rapidly expanding DW organisations in Southern Africa; specifically Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

DW-Namibia was founded in 2016 with a specific focus on housing, urban sanitation and early childhood development. Over the last few years, DW-Namibia has quickly become Namibia’s leading Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) in this field. From a one-man operation in 2016, it has grown into a fully-fledged national programme with 6 field offices and a total of 25 staff members.

Focus on urban development: The three main programmes (housing, sanitation & early childhood development) are the largest of their kind in Namibia implemented by an NGO. They further stand out prominently by their specific focus on urban slums; where more than one quarter of Namibia’s population now live with numbers increasing swiftly. The rapid and successful expansion has been possible by DW-Namibia’s emphasis on efficient and effective use of resources, as well as smart partnerships.

High operating standards: DW-Namibia applies a dynamic and business-oriented approach to programme development and implementation, coupled with a constant effort to address core development challenges. DW-Namibia has established it’s own operating standards which are of a very high standard and include a focus on effective, relevant and timely reporting and rigorous accounting practice.

A successful model expanding – Zambia & Zimbabwe: DW-Namibia has taken the lead in opening offices in both Zambia and Zimbabwe with the aim to establish similar urban focused programmes. As in Namibia, informal settlements in both countries are growing rapidly. At the same time only limited resources are applied to reduce the growth of slums and upgrade existing ones. In both countries, DW aims to become a strong partner of local authorities assisting with good practice approaches, technical knowledge and resources.