As people mark World Toilet Day, it’s reported that 3.6 billion people across the world are living without access to safely managed sanitation.
This has devastating consequences for health, economics and the environment, particularly in the poorest and most marginalised communities.
This year’s celebration is themed ‘Making the invisible visible every year.’
Robinson Otieno, an artisan, has remained committed in promoting and marketing improved sanitation technologies as he constructs such latrines and does installation of the sanitation products.
Otieno who is from Kisumu Central was a Medical Science (emergency medical technician) student but switched to artisanry (masonry) due to job scarcity.
He was lucky to be among the artisans who were trained by USAID Western Kenya Sanitation Project USAID WKSP on how to construct the toilets.
Otieno has been doing new improved toilets to curb diseases such as cholera using the Sato products in open latrines, especially in places that experience challenges with the construction of latrines.
He said that the job gives him around Sh10,000 in a good week and sometimes Sh5,000, depending with how he works and at the end of the day.
Otieno, however, said that sometimes they experience a challenge in the price of the products in the hardware, which sometimes vary due to the current economic hardships.
He said the prices also vary from the different types which include Sato fan which covers the hole, with a market value of Sh850, Sato Flets for children gong for Sh1,350, and those designed for the elderly and persons with disability Sato stool that costs Sh2,500.
“Let our people embrace change and construct proper toilets,” Otieno said.
According to Kisumu county, the household toilet coverage stands at 97 per cent, with the Ventilation Improved Toilet toilets very low at 19.6 per cent.
Director of Public Heath Fred Oluoch said the county is working to improve normal latrine into a Ventilation Improvement Toilet.
This, he said, will happen through the implemention of market-based sanitation products like the different types of Satos .
A total of 2,998 community-based volunteers are in Kisumu. Atotal of 575 have already been trained to fix market-day sanitation products.
Oluoch said the county also aims at increasing adequate and equitable sanitation in households.
Moving from ‘Bora choo to choo bora’ toilet with hand-washing facilities, well covered pit doors, pit hole lids and any form of chemicals used to kill possible flies.
Currently the USAID WKSP is implementing a five-year activity in Busia, Bungoma, Homa Bay, Kakamega, Kisii, Kisumu, Migori and Siaya counties.
The overall goal of the project is to create a financially sustainable, transformative, replicable and locally-owned sanitation marketplace in the target counties of western Kenya.
USAID WKSP chief of party Paul Orengoh said that they have an opportunity to develop intentional collaborations among key stakeholders to tackle fundamental challenges affecting sanitation and menstrual hygiene in the region.
He said effective partnerships provide an opportunity to develop innovative solutions to sanitation and menstrual hygiene challenges.
“Improving sanitation and menstrual hygiene status in western Kenya is, therefore, a multistage agenda that calls for individuals, organisations [and] partnerships to front for sustainable strategies to marshall the necessary resources, skills, ideas and even platforms,” he said.
During the same event, Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyong’o acknowledged the role of the USAID-WKSP in strengthening dialogue on sanitation matters.
He highlighted the need to find alternatives to pit latrines as there was potential contamination of water bodies from pit latrines.
The Migori Deputy Governor Joseph Mahiri reported that the county had 97 per cent latrine coverage, adding that the the true position on the ground on ODF needed to be assessed to link statistics to reality as in some cases reported data didn’t reflect the actual ODF state.
His Kisii counterpart deputy Governor Robert Monda also reported that Kisii County was 95 per cent ODF.
Monda said the quality of toilets in the county was poor and there was a need of awareness creation on toilet utilisation.
However, Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Richard Ngatia highlighted the contribution of the private sector investment to Sustainable Development Goals three six, and eight touching on linkage between social health and wellbeing, water sanitation and hygiene and economic growth.
He said the sanitation value chain was wide with investment opportunities ranging from construction and plumbing services, manufacturing, fabric supply, recycling and water treatment enterprises.
The sanitation space thus presented potential investment opportunities for consumer goods companies, logistics companies, financing institutions and research companies and also presented a chance for technicians, artisans and women groups to be part of the value chain.
Ngatia called upon financial institutions to support MSMEs through credit, guarantees, training and skills and marketing support to upscale their ideas not just in the eight counties, but even globally.
According to Rosemary Obara, director policy, strategic and research and health pillar, several Lake Region Economic Bloc counties are in the process of adopting the National Environmental Sanitation and Hygiene (ESH) Policy as well as Menstrual Hygiene Policy.
She said Migori county already finalised ESH policy domestication and are developing regulations.
“This process, once completed, will support counties with resource mobilisation and implementation of sanitation activities.”
“As we celebrate the World Toilet Day 2022, LREB is looking forward to more partnerships to tackle the sanitation challenges within the block. Working with National and County Governments, the Private Sector and Development Partners,” Obara said.