First Namibian village celebrates being open defecation free

26 Jul 2017 13:10pm
ONDINGWANYAMA, 26 JUL (NAMPA) – Fifty-one per cent of Namibians still practice open defecation (OD), Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry Anna Shiweda has said.
Shiweda said 72 per cent of Namibia’s rural population practice OD, while the use of OD in urban areas stands at 19 per cent and mostly in informal settlements.
“But the percentage varies between different regions, ranging from 35 per cent in the Hardap Region to 80 per cent in the Ohangwena Region,” she said whilst declaring Ondingwanyama village in the Ohangwena Region on Tuesday ‘Open Defecation Free’ (ODF).
Ondingwanyama village in the Eenhana Constituency was the first to receive ODF status in the country, after all 68 households constructed their own toilets and hand washing facilities.
They used local materials such as wood and old tyres in the construction to eliminate OD and address the poor hygiene of villagers.
Ondingwanyama’s ODF status was verified and certified as per the ODF protocol.
Shiweda indicated that Government is hard at work to eliminate OD in the country.
Chairperson of the village committee, Efraim Nghifewa said the building of toilets started in 2015 at the house of village Headman Vilho Ndongo.
Also speaking at the event, United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) Representative to Namibia, Micaela Marques de Sousa said studies show that poor sanitation and OD negatively affect the health of the population.
“Data from the Ministry of Health and Social Services shows that hygiene related illness such as diarrhoeal diseases, pneumonia and malnutrition are the leading cause of childhood illness and deaths in the country,” said De Sousa.
Ministry of Health and Social Services, Namibia Red Cross Society and the Society of Family Health representatives also celebrated Ondingwanyama village’s ODF status.
The objectives of the celebration were to advocate amongst policy makers and opinion leaders for the promotion and support towards activities aimed at eliminating OD practices throughout Namibia and ensure full compliance with the ODF protocol. This protocol is national document guiding stakeholders on how to improve sanitation through an approach called 'community-led total sanitation'.
Leading members of the Ondingwanyama village were awarded certificates as acknowledgement, recognition and reward for their efforts towards the village’s ODF status.