Dry toilet sanitation well accepted in Havana: CoW

WINDHOEK: Some members of the community have positively accepted the alternative sanitation method by the City of Windhoek (CoW) as a way of fighting open defecation in the capital.

Town planner in the CoW’s Sustainable Development Division – Community Services Narikutuke Naruses said this on Thursday during a visit to the Okahandja Park, Freedom Land and Havana informal settlements to observe the sanitation in those areas.

The observation formed part of the three-day Southern African regional workshop on Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTC) held in the capital from Tuesday to Thursday.

Naruses told Nampa on the sidelines of the observation visit that alterative sanitation methods, in this case dry toilets, are part of the City’s initiatives to service areas in the city not yet connected to the conventional sewerage network.

She noted that it has been two years now that the City is running an alternative sanitation method pilot project in the Havana informal settlement, stating that the project is working ‘well’ in terms of technology.

Naruses said the Havana community has accepted the new method.

The dry toilets work in such a way that urine is separated from faeces, and this separation prevents the human waste to produce odours.

The CoW’s solid waste management department collects the dry waste from those toilets and clean such toilets.

“The bins are regularly collected, and this is to ensure that it is not causing the pilot project to fail,” she said.

Naruses said they first introduced a conventional flush toilet in the Okahandja Park area some years ago, but that failed because the community did not take care of it.

Meanwhile, CLTC chairman Kamal Kar from India told members of the media during the same visit that there is a need for community involvement in decision making as a way of providing proper sanitation for everyone.

He stated that the initiative to uplift the urban poor is a good one, but argued that most of is ‘blindsided’ and driven by outside agencies for the poor people.

“The involvement of the community in decision making is quite weak and poor in creating community participatory mechanisms, but I can say that there is still room for improvement,” said Kar.

He noted that there is need to look into the poorer segment of the community and bring in more consultation, participation and involvement of the community in planning and decision making.

He further stated that Namibia is a fast-growing country, stressing that open defecation should not be a problem in it.

Kar said people should be encouraged to change their behaviour towards hygiene.

“Namibia can achieve this stop to open defecation by the end of the National Development Plan Four but people’s habits need to change, because if someone has a habit of defecating in rural areas then when they come to urban areas, they continue with that habit,” he said.

The three-day CLTC workshop was aimed at building consensus among experts to scale up sanitation coverage and promote sustainable hygiene behaviour change in the southern Africa region.

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), more than 60 per cent of the Namibian population lack access to improved sanitation facilities.

SOURCE: NAMPA