Sanlam Namibia recently handed over an amount of two hundred and fifty thousand (N$250 000.00) to the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development (MURD) towards the government’s initiative to eliminate the bucket toilet system. This follows recent calls by President Hage Geingob, in line with the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP) for the abolishment of the bucket toilet system in Namibia.
Speaking at the handover of the donation, Sanlam Group CEO, Mr Tertius Stears, commended government on the initiative which he says has far-reaching implications to the lives, health and well-being of many Namibians adding that “despite the fact that good sanitation is a vital for health and the development of any nation, it remains a major challenged faced by many people in our country”. He further commended the government for identifying poor sanitation as problem and addressing it as a priority of the Government of the Republic of Namibia.
Accepting the handover on behalf of the Ministry, Minister of Urban and Regional Development, Sophia Shaningwa said, “Sanlam assured the Ministry of their commitment and active support of the Harambee Prosperity Plan by recognising that good sanitation lies at the core of human dignity”. “The company regards it as a basic right for every Namibian, and is therefore entrusting the ministry with the funds. Its wish is to see the targeted communities where the project is being implemented, living in humane conditions with access to the basics like water and clean sanitary environment.” She added.
The initiative coincides with the new project which has been launched to improve wastewater management and sanitation provision in Africa led by the African Development Bank, UN Environment and GRID-Arendal.
The three-year project will improve knowledge on wastewater management and sanitation provision, by assessing management of wastewater, including its impact on human health and the environment.
Sanlam Group Chief Executive Officer, Tertius Stears, despite 2017 being a tough economic year, pledged the company’s’ commitment to assisting government in making living conditions better by offering conducive sanitation in Namibia. “Sanlam has been an outstanding example of how a financial services company can play a significant part in building a nation. Since its establishment in Namibia, Sanlam has blazed a trail as a catalyst and a solid partner for development.
The company has been and remains in the forefront of growth and development. We have been supporting many projects from education, training, health and welfare, entrepreneurship, sports development and the promotion of Namibian culture”, he said.
Stears also encouraged other private institutions to get involved and assist government to ensure that they reach the set target of fifty thousand (50 000) rural toilets by the year 2020 by eliminating the bucket toilet system by December 2017.
Effect of poor wastewater management and sanitation facilities
The lack of wastewater management and sanitation facilities are challenges for many countries in Africa. As a result, some countries on the continent are witnessing the re-emergence of fatal and yet preventable water-borne diseases such as typhoid and cholera.
The African Development Bank project is expected to spearheads shift towards good practices while also pointing to the vast opportunities for private and public-sector investment in wastewater management and sanitation provision in Africa.
The Abidjan-headquartered African
Development Bank is supporting infrastructure development in Africa through its Partnership for Infrastructure Development in Africa. Some of the initiatives that the bank is supporting include the Africa Water Facility and the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative, which are having some positive impacts on human health and the ‘environment.
“When the right policies are effectively implemented, they can catalyse private and public-sector participation in wastewater management and sanitation provision in Africa, with positive transformation of peoples’ lives,”
Osward Mulenga Chanda, manager of the African Development Bank’s water and sanitation department said. “Sharing proven best practices on wastewater management and sanitation provision will inform policy dialogue and engender change.
“The three project partners bring together complementary in-depth expertise on water resources management,” he added.
1 851 households currently using the bucket system. These are in Hardap, Kharas, Kunene, Omaheke and Otjozondjupa regions. “I would like to assure the company that we have a plan and its money will be used for the intended purpose, and will make a visible difference to the needy communities who are lining in regions where we plan to expand our bucket toilet elimination programme,” said Shaningwa.