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Research article2023Peer reviewedOpen access

Approaches for bridging the sanitation delivery gap in urban informal settlements in Namibia

van der Merwe, Gert; Simha, Prithvi


Shacks in urban informal settlements will be the most common form of housing in Namibia by 2025. Informal settlements are usually not connected to municipal sewage systems for multiple reasons, including lack of land tenure and lack of official capacity to invest in infrastructure in unplanned spaces. On-site decentralised sanitation is therefore the norm for shack dwellings in Namibia, but any official opposition to this system results in complete absence of sanitation and inadvertently promotes open defecation. This grey zone of urban informality and the gap in sanitation delivery is the focus of this study, which evaluates interactions between local communities, non-government organisations (Clay House Project and Development Workshop Namibia) and an international development agency (GIZ) as they navigate the physical, economic and political landscape of implementing bottom-up sanitation solutions for informal settlements in Namibia. In critical analysis of the three different sanitation delivery models of these organisations, we consider their historical development, underlying philosophies and technical solutions. We also examine how products from different sanitation systems are managed and whether urine source separation could improve their management. Overall, the results provide insights into bridging gaps in sanitation delivery in informal settlements, which are home to more than a billion people worldwide.


Decentralised sanitation; Wastewater; Sewage; Pit latrine; Governance; Urine source separation

Published in

City and Environment Interactions
2023, Volume: 20, article number: 100120
Publisher: Elsevier B.V.

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Environmental Management

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