Piloting the Okavango Ecological Toilet (OET) in Selected Primary Schools in Ngamiland District, Botswana
Piloting the Okavango Ecological Toilet (OET) in Selected Primary Schools in Ngamiland District, Botswana
The proposed School Sanitation and Hygiene (SSH) pilot project will focus on of the most vulnerable sub-population in Botswana, primary schools learners in northwest Botswana in Ngamiland District, where the Okavango Delta is located (Figure 1). The Okavango River water is known to be “exceptionally clean” because it is filtered in the floodplains and marshes (Wolski et al 2005). However, of particular concern is the fact that 53.7% of Ngamiland residents do not have a toilet at all.(Masamba, 2010). Open defecation is not unusual within school environments. The situation is compounded by low number of toilets/number of learners’ ratios in most primary schools. Consequently poorly managed fecal loads in and outside the schools is a health hazard to individual learners, households and communities and is likely to compromise the integrity of the Delta ecosystem. Recent assessment of water quality of the Okavango Delta at Mohembo for example, indicated that the Ecoli bacteria are very high in water probably as a result of rampant open defecation in specific pressure points (Masamba, 2010). Water contamination increases the risk of infectious gastro-intestinal diseases to which children are particularly vulnerable. Therefore, provision of appropriate sanitation technologies
and promotion of good hygiene practices, will create an environment that is conducive to learning, cannot be overemphasized.
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Project Snapshot

University of Botswana - Okavango Research Institute
Area Of Work:
Climate Change Mitigation
Grant Amount:
US$ 50,000.00
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 15,000.00
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 134,814.00
Project Number:
Satisfactorily Completed
Project Characteristics and Results
Notable Community Participation
As part of the preliminary stakeholder participation methodology, two stakeholder workshops were organized in Maun, the Ngamiland district headquarters on May 5th 2010. The second stakeholder workshop was held in Gumare, Okavango Sub-District headquarters on 26th May 2010. In attendance were secondary school headmasters, representatives of village development committees (VDCs), heads of wards, representatives from Water and Waste Department, and District Administration. They were primarily used to consultant and determine the preliminary needs of targeted beneficiaries. Information obtained from the workshop was augmented by secondary data sources and pre-field visits to primary schools in the area, and an audit of existing water and sanitation infrastructure. Information was also obtained through informal interviews or telephone interviews with key individuals in positions of responsibility in government departments. On the basis of preliminary stakeholder participatory workshops held in Maun and Gumare, it was found that water supply is unreliable. For example although some primary schools in the district have been provided water borne toilets are always non-functional leading to learners using the bush all the time. Also, there is concern of water pollution from septic tanks (whose soak-aways may sometimes be very close to the river). Sometimes communities go for 3 months without supply. Lack of reliability of supply is mainly a result of several factors including flooding that submerges boreholes, pumps and water works. Apart from that, the provided pit latrines while initially constructed as Ventilated Improved Latrines (VIP), but because of poor operation and maintenance procedures, are experiencing operational failures associated with simple pit latrines.
Capacity - Building Component
Capacity building activities will target all stakeholders in water and sanitation service delivery system. These include learners, teachers, women and local authority officials. The primary objective of capacity building is to help the beneficiaries to maintain the provided infrastructure, replicate the provided infrastructure without external help, and provide institutional linkages to ensure sustainability of the project. The central message of capacity building will be hygiene promotion through inculcation of good hygiene practices at an early age. The proposed capacity building activities will include workshops, seminars, and kgotla meetings- traditional meeting place for public consultation meetings on hygiene promotion. Participation in various aspects of the project cycle will pay attention to gender equity. In an area where 76% has no access to sanitation, pilot schools will promote total community led sanitation. Artisans will be trained to build and maintain water and sanitation facilities. Standard 6 and 7 school youth will participate in vegetable production. Environmental Education and Consumer and Family Studies teachers and Environmental education clubs will be engaged in promoting sanitation and hygiene messages through posters, art competitions, song, poetry and dance. There will be Community Advisory Boards (CABs) in each project site comprising of representatives from the village and schools. Their role will be to receive and give feedback from the Project Technical Team and the school community. They will also be responsible for the mobilization of public education on water, conservation, sanitation and hygiene in their communities. Public education and community mobilization is a cross-cutting theme that links the schools to the community and vice-versa.

Grantee Contact

Prof Barbara Ngwenya
Phone: +267 6817221
Fax: +267 6861835
Email: bntombi@orc.ub.bw


P/Bag 285
Maun , SADC ,



SGP Country office contact

Ms. Abigail Engleton
+267 363-3767
Mr Baboloki Autlwetse


UN Building, Government Enclave Corner Khama Crescent & President Drive P O Box 54
Gaborone, SADC