By Michael Liswaniso
The Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development under its directorate of rural development has availed N$335 150 to the Kunene Regional Council to construct ventilated improved pit (VIP) toilets.
The planned project is part of a supplementary budget to enable the Ministry of Health and Social Services to construct VIP toilets within the Opuwo urban district for its health education campaign.
The funds have already been transferred to the regional council.
Speaking to New Era recently, Joice Mashamba who is the Regional Health Inspector in the Ministry of Health and Social Services, said the funds were made available in order to supplement the health ministry’s activities and programmes on health education.
He added that the line rural development ministry deemed it vital to provide the supplement because it was aware of the health ministry’s efforts particularly after the polio, cholera and diarrhoea outbreaks last year, hence the need for the project to protect the community.
Mashamba noted that the mobilization and awareness programmes of the project are going well in most targeted areas especially in the informal settlements.
He added that the digging of pits has already commenced . There is however the hiccup of a lack of digging equipment.
“The response is overwhelming but there is however low morale in other places because they are required to dig the pit themselves and then we as a technical team can put up a super structure in place,” said Mashamba.
He explained that in order to curb the shortage of equipment that would ease the digging of the hard rocky surface of Opuwo, his ministry had managed to purchase jackhammers.
He said his team reacted to the response of the community with regard to digging the pits before putting up a super structure.
“We only wait on how fast the community can react and we can then put up structures but so far, the usage rate of VIP toilets in Kunene has grown well,” he said.
A total of 150 VIP toilets will be constructed.
Informal settlements such as Otuzemba, Katutura, Orutjandja and Okondaunue have a dire need of toilets.
Over 30 unemployed youth are likely to benefit from the project.
According to Mashamba, 10 people will construct the toilets while the other 20 will deal with the clean-up campaign.
Meanwhile, the project proposal stipulates that places such as Sesfontein, Okangwati, Otjokavare, Otjondeka, Orumana, Alpha and Otjerunda, Otjimuhaka, Otjokavare and Etoto benefit from the funds but because of limited resources, only Opuwo urban which had the highest prevalence of diarrhoea and other diseases due to poor sanitation and water could benefit.
The project is expected to be completed after four months.
“I hope once the project is complete, residents will be able to use these facilities instead of resorting to the bushes which can cause a very serious health hazard. We would also look forward to continue with a similar project in other parts of the region,” said Mushamba.
Deputy Director of Rural Development Manfred Menjengua is the overall facilitator of the project.