Basic Income Omitara-Otjivero

Short Summary

Basic Income Omitara-Otjivero is distinguished by being one of the few successful experiments in community-based UBI, rather than being state-funded and -controlled. Internationally, it was also the first Basic Income Grant pilot project.

Website address:

Location: Otjivero-Omitara, Namibia


Participants in the pilot project received N$100 monthly, equivalent to roughly US$12–13. There were no conditions linked to the money, and all residents under the age of 60 were eligible for the grant. After it ended, they were each given N$80 monthly as a bridging allowance that ended after March 2012.

The first community meeting about the BIG. source

An assessment of the project showed the following results, among others:

  • Major reduction in child malnutrition (from 42% children classified as underweight in November 2007, to only 10% by November 2008) (source)
  • Higher level of school attendance: drop-out rates fell from nearly 40% in November 2007 to almost 0% in November 2008
  • Increased community income on top of the grants themselves by making it possible for citizens to earn money in other ways (e.g. brick-making, baking bread, dress-making)
  • Those above the age of 15 engaged in income-generating activities increased from 44% to 55%
  • Reduced household debt
  • Reduction in overall crime, particularly theft

"The BIG Pilot Project abided to the following principles in line with the BIG proposal it is advocating for:
  • To be a universal grant,
  • Cash based entitlement,
  • To provide some form of income security,
  • Built on redistributive justice."

One resident, Joseph Ganeb, started a brick-making business. source

Friends & Partners

The Basic Income Grant Coalition is made up of the following organizations:
  • The Council of Churches (CCN)
  • The National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW)
  • The umbrella body of the NGOs (NANGOF)
  • The umbrella body of the AIDS organizations (NANASO)
  • The National Youth Service (NYC)
  • The Church Alliance for Orphans (CAFO)
  • The Legal Assistance Centre (LAC)
  • The Labour Resource and Research Institute (LaRRI)

YOUTUBE GyTYJ4D9xc8 A video from the German public broadcast service DW News explaining BIG in Otjivero.

YOUTUBE Is9-n5nZVlk Story from the Namibia Press Agency about the resumption of BIG in Otjivero in 2014.


Funding for the project came from three main sources: a German Protestant church, the German Ministry for Cooperation, and individual German and Namibian citizens.

Origin Story

In 2002, a government-appointed commission known as the Namibian Tax Consortium (NAMTAX) first proposed a basic income grant. The Basic Income Omitara-Otjivero pilot project was established in January 2008 by the Basic Income Grant Coalition (also known as the BIG Coalition). It lasted until December 2009. What was the motivation for the pilot project?
"...[A] pilot project might be able to concretely show that a BIG can work and will indeed have the predicted positive effects on poverty alleviation and economic development. Spearheaded by Bishop Kameeta this idea has been inspired by the concrete (or from a theological perspective "prophetic") examples, like e.g. English medium schools or township clinics during the apartheid era. (source)

See Also

  • Other commons categories that are related to this one's, or specific similar examples