A volunteer wearing a t-shirt that says - Wash hands, save lives - approaches an informal settlement.

UPDATE: APR-JUN 2021 Programme for Appropriate Low-Cost Urban Sanitation

  • Open Defecation and Solid Waste
  • Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS)
  • Programme Approach
  • Wed-GIS Portal
  • The Case of Kapuka Kanauyala


Widespread open defecation and a lack of solid waste collection are huge challenges in Namibia’s informal settlements. In the absence of toilets, people are obliged to use river beds and green spaces. Mixed with solid waste pollution, such green spaces then turn into highly contaminated areas and become health and safety hazard zones especially for children.

Waste lies heaped next to homes.
A riverbed in Havana informal settlement.

A lack of funds, appropriate approaches and technology are the main reasons for these areas being in such stark contrast to the highly developed older parts of towns.

While a lack of funds and bulk infrastructure are a major concern, much can be done by using appropriate technologies and involving residents in finding and implementing solutions. One such approach gaining ground in Namibia is Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS).


The Harambee Prosperity Plan 2 (HPPII) states to ‘’Launch Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) awareness to increase hygiene through the community construction of latrines at household level in urban and peri-urban areas throughout the HPPII period.’’

Development Workshop Namibia (DWN), the Namibian Chamber of Environment (NCE) and UNICEF have been implementing an urban CLTS programme since 2019. It started with a pilot project in Windhoek and is now being implemented in eight towns across Namibia, with financial support from UNICEF, the European Union and B2Gold. The eight towns are Windhoek, Swakopmund, Karibib, Otjiwarongo, Oshakati, Opuwo, Oniipa and Katima Mulilo.

The programme focuses on making informal settlement areas open defecation free (ODF) and litter free. Two areas have been certified ODF in Windhoek in early 2021, and nine additional areas are currently being prepared. See https://fb.watch/6uF4jgsJVS/ for a report of One Africa TV.

A bright yellow hut draws attention to a waste collection point.
Waste collection point in Samora Machel constituency.


The approach of the programme is twofold. It aims to:

  1. Motivate citizens to improve hygiene-related behaviours
  2. Give guidance and encourage toilet construction

A network of over 100 volunteers conducts house-to-house visits and distributes flyers that raise awareness on Hepatitis E, Covid-19, hygiene and toilet construction.

In parallel, the programme is constructing sanitation centres with demonstration toilets and construction guidelines. A total of 34 demonstration toilets have been built to date.

To address solid waste pollution, the programme has also initiated the construction of solid waste collection points, serviced by the local authority. The collection points are fenced off and have an adjacent ‘’pay-per-use’’ toilet and sales stand. The caretaker makes an income from the toilet and sales, and looks after the collection point. The waste collection points therefore are small business enterprises, a project component that is now also supported by a contribution from the Development Bank of Namibia (DBN).

The programme is currently procuring funding to expand the small business enterprise approach to all the towns where the project is being implemented.


See following website for GIS mapping of volunteer house visits, toilets constructed by residents, and project sanitation centres: https://development-workshop-data-hub-dwn.hub.arcgis.com/

The case of Kapuka Kanauyala

Kapuka Kanauyala is an informal settlement close the Tobias Hainyeko Constituency Council in the northern part of Windhoek. It is a very dense settlement, without roads entering the community. In the centre of the settlement is a big hill without construction, roughly the size of 4 football fields. Locally, the hill is known as the sanitation reserve. It serves as one big area for open defecation, surrounded by river beds that are highly polluted with open sewage and litter.

DWN started working in Kapuka Kanauyala in 2019. From the beginning, it faced immense challenges due to the topography, dense housing, and lack of road access, making it difficult to construct toilets or collect solid waste. After an EU-organised stakeholder engagement event in June 2021 at the Parliament, during which the scale of open defecation in informal settlements was highlighted, One Africa TV contacted the DWN sanitation team to film sanitation work in Windhoek’s informal settlements. Part of the filming was done in Kapuka Kanauyala, and the publication of the film found wide resonance and pledges of support from different institutions and policy-makers.

High-level delegations visited the area, including the Minister of Urban and Rural Development (MURD), Governor of Khomas Region and councillor of Moses //Garoeb constituency. Talks are currently underway how to best assist the residents of Kapuka Kanauyala.

The following links are the video clips produced by One Africa TV:



A riverbed clogged with waste.
Kapuka Kanauyala riverbed.