Is this our Namibia?

29 April 2019 | Opinion

The United Nations says that access to clean and safe drinking water, along with sanitation, is a basic human right.

According to the world body, water is at the core of sustainable development and is critical for socio-economic development, energy and food production, healthy ecosystems and for human survival itself. At the human level, water cannot be seen in isolation from sanitation. Together, they are vital for reducing the global burden of disease and improving the health, education and economic productivity of populations.

But, water is also a rights issue and it is critical that while there are commercial demands, communities must also have enough for their needs. Moreover, women and girls must have access to clean, private sanitation facilities to manage menstruation and maternity in dignity and safety.

The president is of the view that 95% of Namibians have access to clean water, with at most, these water points being 2.5 km away from their homes.

On the ground however, an entirely different story is seen.

It is horrifying and utterly unacceptable that women in the Kavango East’s Nyondo village have to dig holes in the ground near earthen dams to scoop out polluted and unclean water for use at their homes. They have to not only carry the cans of 25 litres, weighing 25 kilogrammes, they also have to go in groups for fear for of being assaulted and raped.

Is this the Namibia so much blood was shed for?

That things are falling apart is obvious to anyone looking. Little girls raped because they follow a perpetrator on the promise of a slice of bread. Little boys stabbed in the head by violently jealous and abusive fathers. Rampant suicides. A sharp increase in armed home invasions while the owners are home. And now, a group of women, from a small, isolated and humble little village, who not only have to dig for water by hand, but must go in groups for fear of being raped.

Disgusting.

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