THE European Union launch a project in Namibia to help improve sanitation and contribute to the containment of the spread of Hepatitis E in Namibia’s informal settlements.
The project follows a successful piloting phase in the city of Windhoek during 2019-2020.
European Union Ambassador to Namibia, Sinikka Antila said the project will be implemented in 10 towns over the coming three years and will reach out to some 210,000 informal settlement residents.
“The EU is delighted to be part of this multi-stakeholder programme to support improved sanitation to communities in a manner, which we believe is workable and sustainable,” said Antila.
The project is supported by the European Union with an amount of €414.720.00 and aims to improve sanitation and contribute to the containment of the spread of Hepatitis E in Namibia’s informal settlements.
It uses a methodology called ‘Community Led Total Sanitation’ (CLTS), which is an approach that sensitises residents of informal settlements about the health dangers associated with open defecation and provides low-cost sanitation solutions for members of these communities to apply.
According to Antila, It will work through a wide network of volunteers with the aim to change hygiene behaviours of residents and stimulate the construction of improved sanitation facilities in collaboration with local authorities.
Open defecation causes major health and environmental problems within informal settlements where residents do not have access to proper sanitation facilities and are therefore forced to defecate in dry riverbeds or bushy areas near their homes.
Hepatitis E and COVID-19 are among the many diseases that can be spread through contact with faeces. According to the last Census data, an estimated 50% of informal settlement residents do not have access to sanitation. Open defecation is also demeaning to those forced to practice it and especially puts women and children at risk.
The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the urgent need for improved sanitation and access to water in informal settlements, which are critical success drivers in combating Covid-19.
The project has already initiated the printing of information materials and constructed the first four- out of 50 sanitation centres that exhibit demonstration toilets that can easily be built by local residents themselves. The first towns where the project is being implemented are Karibib and Swakopmund where local authorities have welcomed the initiative.