May 062011

Sam, Val, Mary Clare and Caitlin in front of the first Otji-toilet built by the ECAP project.

Under the ECAP project‘s component aimed at providing targeted support to rural communities, the DRFN has recently begun a pilot study in the southern part of Namibia. The aim of the study was to determine past and current water supply and sanitation challenges, and to develop viable solutions in close cooperation with the local communities in the pilot area. The pilot study was conducted on eight Odendaal farms in the Hardap region.

A team of four students from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in the US assisted the ECAP team with the pilot study. The students began work in the area by establishing a water quality baseline. Through infrastructural analyses, water quality tests, and informal interviews they identified the key concerns as nitrate and bacteriological contamination.

After that the students took the lead in arranging and conducting community workshops to inform residents on the results of the analysis. Concerns and causes of contamination were discussed with community members. Possible solutions were described. The community members were encouraged to voice any concerns, feedback, or questions.

One of the solutions to improve sanitation and indirectly groundwater quality was to introduce a dry sanitation system. The Otji-Toilet was piloted at one of the households. In addition, ion exchange filters will be installed at locations were nitrate contamination is an issue. Finally, to treat the bacteriological contamination, chlorine powder will be introduced. These solutions coupled with the capacity development of the community members can contribute to decreased contamination of water sources in the pilot area.

For the complete report compiled by the students, please click here.

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