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People and the River



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UNDP ranks Namibia as a country with "medium human development". Nevertheless, poverty is still widespread, and the country exhibits an extremely uneven distribution of income. The box below describes how the Government of Namibia, since independence, has pursued policies and programmes to reduce poverty.

Overview of Namibia’s Poverty Reduction Policies and Programmes

National Development Framework: Namibia Vision 2030
Aims at poverty reduction and equal distribution of well-being through different sub-visions. There are different strategies to implement Vision 2030, including the successive medium-term National Development Plans, the 1998 Poverty Reduction Strategy and the 2001 National Poverty Reduction Action Programme.

Poverty Reduction Strategy (1998)
Focuses on three key areas: how to foster more equitable and efficient delivery of (decentralising) public services; how to accelerate equitable agricultural expansion (considering food security); and how to create options for non-agricultural economic empowerment, with emphasis on the informal sector and self-employment options.

National Development Plans (Currently NDP 3)
While Vision 2030 provides the long term development framework for Namibia, the medium-term National Development Plans (currently the third NDP) are the main vehicles to translate the vision into action.

Kunene Regional Development Plan (drafted for 2001/2002-2005/2006)
Focused on fighting poverty, unemployment, hunger and HIV/AIDS. The plan’s vision was the development of the Kunene Region through “sustainable market related development and the sustainable management and utilisation of the natural resource”.

Regional Rural Water Supply Development Plans (RRWSDP) (Horizon of 2015)
Provide annual implementation programmes regarding the rehabilitation and provision of new rural water supply infrastructure. Implementation consists of constructing the infrastructure, establishing Water Point Associations and Water Point Committees, training of Water Point Committees and caretakers and finally handing over the scheme to the users for their own management. In 2001 the RRWSDP for the Kunene Region was completed.

Source: adapted from MAWRD-DRWS 2004, ERM 2009, NPC 1998, NPC 2008

Regional Rural Water Supply Development Plans

A crucial aspect of the Regional Rural Water Supply Development Plans is the community-based management (CBM) approach. This approach envisages that the water users should ultimately be responsible for the integrity and upkeep of the water resources following a gradual hand-over process, involving a period of partnership between government and communities in managing the water resources. In this way cost recovery for water infrastructure will be attained, management of water will be in the hands of the users and there will be associated improvements in the efficiency of water use. The implementation of the CBM concept has begun with the gradual establishment of Water Point Committees (WPC) since 1993, who are now responsible for (WCE/DRWS 2001):

  • Operating and managing the water point;
  • Arranging for any necessary repairs to the water point;
  • Collecting money to cover operational, maintenance and repair costs;
  • Managing funds and maintaining financial resources; as well as
  • Assessing the ongoing condition of the water point and collecting money for the eventual replacement of worn-out equipment.




Explore the sub-basins of the Kunene River

Video Interviews about the integrated and transboundary management of the Kunene River basin

View a historical timeline of the Kunene basin countries, including water agreements & infrastructure

Video scenes about the limited access to water of the San in Kunene Province