San still making use of 'bucket system'

14 Jul 2018 17:50pm
GOBABIS, 14 JUL (NAMPA) – A large number of San communities in the Omaheke Region are still making use of pit latrines, commonly referred to as the ‘bucket system’, to relieve themselves, especially in informal settlements in urban areas.
The pit latrines at many informal settlements in the region’s urban centres and settlements of Gobabis, Witvlei and Drimiopsis amongst others, still require users to physically remove their waste in a bucket and dump it at a designated spot after use.
This came to light during a regional consultation of San young women’s rights here on Thursday.
The event was convened by the Women’s Leadership Centre (WLC), a feminist organisation that works with San women and girls in advancing their human rights.
A number of women who spoke during the event narrated a sordid picture of their environment, especially where sanitation is concerned.
Maria Garises, who lives in Drimiopsis - some 40 kilometres north of Gobabis - said they face an everyday struggle when it comes to sanitation as their current toilet facilities do not fully serve their purpose.
She said it was even more difficult for them as women to make use of the toilet facilities at night, as danger often lurks in the dark and they are sometimes assaulted.
“As a woman, how am I supposed to remove that big bucket with my waste to throw it out? It is very heavy and unhygienic too,” she said.
Another San woman, Caroline Doeses said women who have given birth and the elderly are worst affected by the use of the “bucket system” toilets.
“Imagine such a person waking up in the middle of the night to relieve herself so far from her home as the toilets are few and far in between? It is not easy for us at all,” she said.
Doeses said many women often prefer to relieve themselves in plastic bags within the safety of their shacks and then dispose of the waste under the cover of darkness by burying it under ground or simply tossing it into the open.
“It is not uncommon to find a plastic bag with human waste in it in your yard. We refer to it as flying toilets; you make use of the plastic bag and make it ‘fly’,” Doeses noted.
The dialogue was also convened to gauge the region’s performance and conformity with the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
CEDAW was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 18 December 1979, and entered into force as an international treaty on 3 September 1981.
The spirit of the convention is rooted in the goals of the United Nations - to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights and in equal rights of men and women.