Two men watch as a third operates a drill in an earthen pit.

UPDATE: JAN-MAR 2021 Programme for Appropriate Low-cost Urban Sanitation


Implemented in partnership with UNICEF and the Namibian Chamber of Environment (NCE), and with current financial support from the European Union, this programme is now being implemented in the informal settlements of 8 towns across Namibia: Windhoek, Swakopmund, Karibib, Otjiwarongo, Oshakati, Opuwo, Oniipa and Katima Mulilo.

CLTS is a government-supported approach to improve sanitation in urban and rural areas, and explicitly mentioned in the Harambee Prosperity Plan 2.

CLTS focuses on two key intervention areas:

  1. Motivate citizens to improve hygienic behaviour and to build toilets.
  2. Provide guidance for toilet construction.

The aim is to turn areas and towns open defecation free (ODF).


Two informal settlement areas in Windhoek, in the constituencies of Moses Garoeb and Samora Machel, have worked with the programme since 2019 and recently reached the point of ODF. An inspection of the relevant government committee in March 2021 concluded that the areas had met the criteria to be certified. Click on the following link for a short video of the visit:

Until recently, the two large areas have been full of open faeces, litter and pervasive bad smells. Both settlements look completely different today:

  1. There are no visible faeces: residents either built their own toilets or are using a public toilet, built by the programme, with a care taker that charges a small access fee.
  2. There is no litter: the area is free of litter, with residents collecting solid waste in black plastic bags and depositing the bags at the local dumpsite.

Web-GIS Portal

See following website for GIS mapping of volunteer house visits, toilets constructed by residents, and project sanitation centres:


The network of trained volunteers is the programme’s biggest asset. House-to-house visits are a crucial component of an effective and safe communication campaign in informal settlements. Due to the circulation of misinformation and sometimes limited access to mainstream media, the personal contact of volunteers and residents is important to raise awareness and positively influence hygiene behaviour.


DWN has invested in small sanitation businesses to accelerate CLTS and support informal settlement residents. DWN purchased two jackhammers and generators that are lent upon contract to individuals who are hired to dig pits and build toilets for community members. The operators pay for fuel, transport, labour and maintenance, and keep the profits as their own income. Also, demonstration toilets have been converted to communal toilets that residents pay a small fee to use. These toilets provide a business opportunity for caretakers, who sell refuse bags, soap and sundry articles in addition to earning the fee.

Two men watch as a third operates a drill in an earthen pit.


The programme will be most successful when implemented on a national scale, yet more resources and alignment among government, local authorities and international donors are needed. Equally important is a sense of urgency, to facilitate rapid roll-out. Similar programmes have been implemented in bigger countries with great success. There is therefore no reason to doubt that with the necessary commitment, Namibia’s informal settlements can become largely open defecation fee over the coming 5-10 years.