It was only 10:00 on Saturday morning and the sun was at its peak. Tresia Eelu from Omupua village reminisces on the time she would be returning from a 10 km walk to fetch water from another village in Namibia’ Oshikoto region.
“We would walk a distance of 10 kilometres to access water. Because of walking such a long distance to fetch water, I hardly had adequate time to perform daily chores or complete other tasks due to limited supply of water. It has been a struggle since my stay here for over 20 years- a route one never gets used to,” said Eelu, a local resident.
Omupupa village lies within the boundaries of Nehale Lyampingana and Eengodhi constituencies, the most affected areas in Oshikoto region when it comes to water shortages. The residents had no access to portable water.
But this changed when a portable water point at Omupupa village was handed over to the community in June 2017.
Today, Eelu is wreathed in smiles as she no longer has to travel long distance, reducing her burden of overwhelming household duties.
“Since we received the tap, my burden has been eased. I have more time on my hands to complete daily duties. Not only is that, my children also has more time to study as studying time was absorbed by walking long distances to fetch water,” said Eelu.
Not only is that, but communicable diseases will also be a thing of the past, said Eelu, citing that in the past, during the rainy season, the villagers, also resorted to consuming water from natural pods, which causes diseases such as diarrhea.
“Last year, my child, along with others were severely affected. But that’s all history now, we have access to portable and clean water now,” she said.
Namibia Demographic and Health Survey Report of 2013 shows that water coverage in urban areas stood at 97.5 percent and for rural at 75.5 percent in Namibia.
According to Steven Tuukondjele, Head of Water Supply in Oshikoto region, in the 2016/17 financial year an amount of more than 500,000 Namibian dollars (about 38,400 U.S. dollars) was allocated towards the food and cash for work program.
“These funds are channeled towards the implementation of various projects in rural areas of the region, such as this portable water point for villager meant to improve their livelihoods,” he said.
Meanwhile, said Tuukondjele, the villager will have to nominate committee members to facilitate payment of water and monitor maintenance of the tap.
“The water is now close to the community. As a Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, we urge the community pay on time so that the water must be closed. This is to avoid closure of the tap and prevent water wastage and to ensure they continue to access water,” he said.