Nuusita Ashipala Ongwediva-In the quest to increase sanitation coverage and accessibility to proper toilets in the country, five more villages are awaiting to be verified and certified as Open Defecation Free (ODF). The five villages will follow Ondingwanyama in Ohangwena Region, which was declared first ODF village in the country in July. “So far five villages have declared themselves to be ODF. Once this verification is complete, the villages will be declared ODF and will be given an official recognition of being open defecation free,” UNICEF deputy representative in the country Marcus Betts revealed. UNICEF says there is low sanitation coverage in Namibia with over 52 percent of households having no access to proper toilets, but the situation is worse in rural areas where 74 percent households lack toilet facilities. According to Betts, since August 91 facilitators and 100 teachers completed training on Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) and School Led Total Sanitation (SLTS) approaches to create greater awareness on the need to eliminate free defecation. The training was conducted for trainees in Ohangwena, Kavango East and West, as well as the Zambezi Region. As a result, 10 schools attained ODF status. The 10 schools form part of the 31 schools that have invested in constructing toilets, as well as making hand-washing facilities accessible to both teachers and learners. By the end of September, 185 toilets had also been constructed following awareness and sensitisation in the targeted regions. Apart from declaring ODF status, schools implementing SLTS have also established menstrual hygiene management clubs. The clubs which include boys and girls aim to create awareness and de-stigmatise the natural process of menstruation. UNICEF, government ministries and the Red Cross continue to undertake support visits to the village, as post-ODF declaration support is an important component of CLTS to ensure sustainability. “We can therefore confirm that they have maintained their status, as all the 68 households in the family still have their constructed toilets and these are being consistently used and properly maintained,” said Betts.
2017-11-22 09:44:41 9 months ago