Ovitatu receives 35 pit latrines from Government

14 Aug 2015 10:20am
OKAKARARA, 14 AUG (NAMPA) – Thirty-five households at the Ovitatu village in the Okakarara Constituency on Thursday received a pit latrine each from the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry.
Acting Deputy Director in the line ministry’s Directorate of Water Supply and Sanitation Co-ordination, Cavin Mwinga, together with the Okakarara Constituency Councillor Vetaruhe Kandorozu, handed over the dry pit latrines to the homeowners at that village.
Ovitatu is situated more than 40 kilometres south-east of Okakarara in the Otjozondjupa Region.
Mwinga said Government initially tasked the Ministry of Health and Social Services to build and provide pit latrines for several households across the country as part of its health and social services, but little was done since Independence.
“Then in 2008, Cabinet decided to transfer the provision of these rural sanitation services from the Ministry of Health and Social Services to the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry,” he explained.
He said Cabinet also tasked the Agriculture Ministry to provide the overall coordination, regional advisory functions, inspections and monitoring of all activities related to rural sanitation services.
The Agriculture Ministry has already started with rural community hygiene awareness campaigns aiming to change behaviour of the rural people on the disadvantages of open defecation.
Mwinga said during the 2014/15 financial year, the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry indicated in its financial activity plans that it will construct 500 sanitation facilities in the 13 regions, excluding Khomas.
“Therefore, in the Otjozondjupa Region, about 243 dry pit latrines are earmarked to be built in the Okakarara Constituency, and these 35 completed latrines are part of the 243 planned pit latrines in this constituency,” stated Mwinga.
He said more pit latrines are being built in the Tsumkwe, Omatako and Okahandja constituencies in the same region.
The 35 pit latrines at the Ovitatu village are 1.7 metres deep, and were constructed at a cost over N.dollars 1 million.
On his part, councillor Kandorozu urged the Agriculture Ministry to fence off these pit latrines in order to protect them from free roaming animals in the rural areas.
“Do your best also to educate the beneficiaries on how to use them efficiently, so that these sanitation facilities can last for a long time,” he said.
Kandorozu also suggested that the ministry create a text message centre, where beneficiaries of these facilities could send messages to in case the drainage is full.
One of the beneficiaries at Ovitatu, Christa Tjihako, promised to whole-heartedly take care of the pit latrine at her house, as she had apparently already wanted to build one but could not afford it from her pocket.
“I am delighted and thankful to our Government for providing us with this facility. We already needed one. We are relieved from using the bush at night,” she said.
Tjihako called on Government to also build more pit latrines for everyone in the country, including those Namibians in informal settlements in urban areas.