Sanitation Upgrading: Tsandi

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Focus Areas: Water & Sanitation

The work described in this report is part of the Sanitation and Hygiene Applied Research for Equity (SHARE) "Citywide project". The project is funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) in the UK and is supported by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. While SHARE involves many research related activities, SDI affiliates in Zambia (Kitwe), Zimbabwe (Chinhoyi), Tanzania (Dar-es-Salaam), Malawi (Blantyre), South Africa, Namibia and Uganda have worked specifically on piloting sanitation precedent setting projects in informal slums. 

The project was initiated in Tsandi, a settlement in the Omusati Region of northern Namibia. Two saving schemes (Joel Kaapanda and Nambula ya Mukatha) received plumbing training on the 17th of December 2013. Having already taken housing loans the members used their savings to purchase pipes while the Namibia Housing Action Group (NHAG) paid for technical training. Twenty-one (21) community members received training. Of these, eighteen (18) were women. Community members were then able to install their own sewerage connections linking to bulk infrastructure. At present, houses have been completed and sanitation infrastructure has been installed. 

Location: Tsandi, Namibia


To date, one hundred and eighty-six (186) households have benefited from training. Fifty-two (52) of these are located in Tsandi. The others are located in Okahao, Okakarara, Kalkfeld and Okalango. An additional fourteen (14) households have benefited from the installation of services.

Community capacity:

“As part of the federation rituals, we always learn from each other, when you go for meetings such as at the town council, you know how to speak to them. We learned how to speak for ourselves; in the federation you meet a lot of people, in the beginning we use to fear even to answer a question.”

Communities and local authorities from Nkurenkuru, Okalongo, Outapi, Okahao, Okakarara and Oshakati have learnt from Tsandi  about community-driven service installation and were able to replicate the process in other towns such as Okahao, Okalongo, Okakarara, Okahandja and Kalkfeld. 


This project demonstrates the capacity of the Federation to install sanitation services and link these to bulk infrastructure. This, and other housing projects, have led to the new minister of Urban and Rural Development advising the Namibian Alliance that funding will increase from N$3 million to N$7 million so that the construction of housing and service installations can be scaled up. Community to community exchanges have also led to the scaling up of sanitation development.


Tsandi has become a learning center for the Federation and local authorities from a number of areas. The project has demonstrated that poor communities are capable of planning and installing their own sewerage infrastructure.


SDI Contributions:

SDI contributed N$220, 000.

Resources Leveraged:

In total five (5) Local Authorities participated in exchanges with the Tsandi project.  Participants included community members as well as Local Authority officials and councillors. Some tangible outputs of these exchanges include:

• In Okahao, the Council provided twenty (20) plots to the saving groups and eight (8) houses were constructed while planning is being carried out on the twelve (12) plots in partnership with the Town Council.  

• In Outapi, the Council provided one hundred and twenty (120) plots to the saving groups and one hundred and twenty (120) houses were constructed.

• Nkurenkuru Town Council availed a car and sewer supervisor to participate in the exchange to Tsandi. As a result an additional seven (7) members participated in the exchange.

State Subsidy:

State subsidies varied across the different project sites. They ranged from the provision of plots of land for savings groups to the provision of Council employees to assist with various aspects of the construction process. 

Market Generated Returns:

None to date. 

Costs recovered from community:

As noted previously, the project's beneficiaries used their savings and labour to cover the costs of sewer installation. The training conducted enabled community members to participate in project construction as well as future maintenance - savings operational costs. Very active savings schemes in the area bode well for future sustainability. 

Anna Muller (+264) 61 239 398 View Website
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Project information updated: 18 August 2015

Project in depth

Detailed Information

Two saving schemes (Joel Kaapanda Saving Scheme and Nambula ya Mukatha Saving Scheme applied for land to build houses in Tsandi. Their application was approved by the Omusati Regional Council in 2009 on the conditions that the savings schemes must manage their own planning and surveying process. All conditions were met in 2011 and the layout plan was submitted to the Regional Council in 2013 for approval and was approved by the end 2013.
In Tsandi, as with many housing projects in Namibia, the Local Authroties take time to install services to houses built by the Federation. In many of the projects described, the Authorities have provided bulk connections. Housing beneficiaries have to pay for and install piping to connect to the trunk sewer. On the 17th of December 2013 an experienced plumber began training 21 community members (18 women and 3 men) in the following areas:
• How to read layout plans
• Transfering layout plans onto the ground
• Accurate Trench excavation
• Installation of water and sewerage pipes
• Construction of manholes

The sewer line, which is now complete, measures 150m in length and contains 3 manholes. The cost per household was NAD2,386 which excludes labour costs as work was undertaken by the members receiving services. Only 4 households needed to borrow funds from the Twahangana Fund with the majority of beneficiaries using their own savings to cover the cost of service installation. All work is now completed and subsequent phases of the project to scale up sanitation infrastructure installation in the settlement are underway. 
Tsandi has become a learning center with regards to sewerage installation with over 5 Local Authorities (e.g. Outjo Municipality) having visited the site to date. It is expected that the lessons learnt will allow communities in nearby towns to work with authorities to install sewerage infrastructure - with authorities providing bulk connections and communities accessing loans (or using their savings) to install pipes to connect to the bulk infrastructure.
The project was featured in the Namibia Sun. 


Traning of 21 members in the installation of water and sewerage infrastructure and the subsequent installation of said infrastructure. 

Community capacity:

Community members were trained in a bid to equip them with communnity plumbing skills. In so doing, they were able to scale up upgrading activities. This also had the effect of:

• Creating a sense of ownership amongst the community members

• Helping the community gain skills and enter the job market.

• Preparing the community participation on mass housing project by scaling up the construction of houses and access to services at an affordable cost.


Delivery of sanitation infrastructure for fourteen (14) houses in Tsandi.


The project has had significant impact in terms of demonstrating the Federation's ability to not only build houses but install infrastructure. 


SDI Contributions:

 SDI contributed US$41,027.00.

Market Generated Returns:

None to date. 

Costs recovered from community:

The cost per person will be N$2,383.06 (excluding labour as beneficiaries will contribute labour). The cost of the trainer is N$25,000.00 (NAD75.00 per hour for a period of two months). Only four (4) households needed to borrow money (N$8,000) from the Twahangana Fund, while the remainder utilised their savings to pay for the sewers. All fourteen (14) households started the construction of their houses and a futher ten (10) households borrowed N$2,000 as part of their house loans to install their toilets.  

Namibian Sun. (2014). Tsandi Community Takes Development into Own Hands. [Online]. Available:
IIED. (2014). World Toilet Day: People Need Equality and Dignity When They "Have to Go". [Online]. Available:

Funding Information



Funding type:

Grant funding

Implementing Partners

Cities Alliance