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Bus connections to improve mobility in Namibia

21.02.2018 - Article

Silja Fieblinger literally moves people in Windhoek – by planning public bus services, setting things in motion, and helping to fight poverty.

Public transport gives people greater mobility. “The goal is to establish a modern bus network that covers the entire city.”
Public transport gives people greater mobility. “The goal is to establish a modern bus network that covers the entire city.”© CIM

“I am not afraid of a challenge.” With boundless energy, Silja Fieblinger is organizing the new bus route system and traffic infrastructure in Windhoek – a major benefit for the city’s residents who won’t have to walk long distances or pay for expensive cab rides anymore.

As an ‘Integrated Expert,’ Silja Fieblinger can contribute her knowledge gained in Germany and pass it on to her Namibian colleagues. Together with her team, she has been responsible for the creation of new bus routes and numerous new bus stops as well as for increasing the frequency and improving the punctuality.

An interview with Silja Fieblinger:

You are a public transport planner in Windhoek. What exactly do you do?

I work on the expansion of the public transport system; more specifically, I organize a bus fleet. We are anticipating 14 regular and 23 express lines. I draft routes, develop work schedules and rotation plans, and plan timetables. On top of that, I train my colleagues so that they will be able to carry out these tasks as well. Our goal is to establish a modern bus network that covers the entire city.

How did you find this position, and what are your qualifications?

Silja Fieblinger is employed by the city of Windhoek. “The close cooperation within the team is very important for the transfer of knowledge.”
Silja Fieblinger is employed by the city of Windhoek. “The close cooperation within the team is very important for the transfer of knowledge.”© CIM

I found this position through the CIM placement service. As an Integrated Expert, I am an employee of the city of Windhoek and receive a CIM grant to supplement my local salary. Before accepting this job, I had been working for a bus operator in Kiel for many years, which had given me the qualifications needed here. I can apply the knowledge gained in my last job and pass it on to others.

What is happening right now? What would you say is the benefit of the bus system for the Windhoek residents?

Naturally, a modern bus system primarily benefits the people. The demand for public transport is high. A few years back, there were far too few busses, and they were always overcrowded. If you didn’t get on, you had to walk or take an expensive cab ride. So many people were late to work or missed important meetings; some even lost their jobs. Our project aims to change that. We intend to contribute to sustainable urban development and help reduce poverty.

How do you personally benefit from working as an Integrated Expert in Namibia? What is your life like in Windhoek?

The new bus stops are well received by the population in Windhoek. “There used to be only a starting point and a destination, no stops in-between.“
The new bus stops are well received by the population in Windhoek. “There used to be only a starting point and a destination, no stops in-between.“© CIM

I’ve come to Windhoek together with my family, and my children visit the local German school. I would say that coming here because of my work as an Integrated Expert is a good experience for all of us. Personally, I like the idea of a family staying in motion, developing together and not necessarily remaining in the same place. You do yourself a favor when you move along with the world around you.

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The Centre for International Migration and Development (CIM) is jointly run by the German development agency (GIZ) and the International Placement Services (ZAV) of the Federal Employment Agency (BA). Together, they have been providing development and labour market policy expertise for over 35 years. CIM places experts from Europe and those who have settled in Germany in developing countries and emerging economies. It offers a network for those who have migrated to Germany and who wish to support development in their country of origin, and it advises individuals and decision-makers on migration issues. Our main commissioning party is the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

© CIM

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