Harambee goal down the toilet

06 August 2020 | Government

Jo-Maré Duddy


Of the 50 000 toilets in informal settlements in rural areas President Hage Geingob promised in his Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP) in 2016, only 3 546 have been built.

Eliminating the bucket system by 2017, another Harambee goal, also failed.

Harambee was launched shortly after Geingob took office in his first term, with the aim of constructing an “inclusive Namibian House”.

One of the targets was to use mainly unemployed Namibian youth to build thousands of toilets. However, only 7% of this target was achieved, according to the final report on Harambee's progress.

Financial constraints

“The delay was mainly due to financial constraints,” the report, distributed yesterday at a planning discussion on HPP2, stated.

Not a single Harambee toilet was built in the Ohangwena Region during the four-year duration of the plan, the report showed.

Only 1 373 bucket toilets out of an identified 1 856 in Hardap, //Karas, Otjozondjupa, Omaheke and Kunene were replaced with running water ablution facilities. No bucket toilets were replaced in Kunene.

Fundamental needs

According to the Covid-19 Emergency Response Programme, an initiative by Development Workshop and the Namibian Chamber of Environment, about 50% of residents of informal settlements in the country have to defecate in the open due to a lack of toilet facilities.

The Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia estimated that there are more than 990 000 people living in informal settlements countrywide. More than 400 000 people therefore still have no choice but to use nature as their toilet.

“The HPP aims to ensure that every Namibian has access to the basic amenities for survival,” Geingob said in the foreword of the report.

“The aim is to meet the most fundamental needs, to enable every Namibian to realise their full potential and prosper,” he added.

Treading water

Government's 2020/21 budget for basic sanitation infrastructure development to help curb open defecation is N$10 million.

With this, government wants to increase improved sanitation in rural areas from 28% in 2016 to 40% by 2022, and from 77% to 87% in urban areas.

Government's latest development document shows 39 projects for the provision of water, electricity, sewerage and roads - some on the books since 2013 - which have been gathering dust on budget shelves.

The total cost of these projects is estimated at more than N$1.3 billion. Yet only an estimated N$126 million was spent on the projects in 2019/20, while N$100.5 million was set aside in 2020/21.

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