No Longer in the Bush

A Story of putting a pit latrine in every homestead.

No longer in the Bush

The residents of Kajiado County have for a long time had to contend with health conditions such as cholera and diarrhea. Unaware of the source of their tribulation, they frequented hospitals not knowing that the culprit was lying in the bushes around their homes.
Open defecation was the order of the day. Individuals disappeared behind bushes without a second thought and reappeared moments later having relieved themselves.
WASH initiated a Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) campaign where members of the community were sensitized on the health hazards of open defecation and made ambassadors of the message. Most of them had not been aware of the danger they were exposing themselves to. They were simply following a practice that had been in the community for ages.
Organizations like AMREF, NOSIM and NETWAS came together to educate the residents on proper sanitation and hygiene. It was recommended that every homestead builds a latrine.

 

Convincing the community was not easy. Some people took off whenever they saw the project facilitators approaching their homes. With time, the response was more positive as they involved more of the residents. As they turned to latrines, cases of sickness reduced rapidly. They understood that OD (Open Defecation) led to the ingestion of fecal matter.
Most homesteads now have a latrine in Kajiado County. The environment is clean and devoid of swarms of flies as was the case previously. More children are healthy and maternal deaths have decreased. WASH Alliance partners have offered to finance sanitation facilities through loans(Wash Financing). ODF(Open Defecation Free) is now a reality in more than 50 villages in Kajiado while a similar number is undergoing follow up. The difference is evident. For instance, no case of cholera was reported in 2015 in the beneficiary villages. The villagers are now proudly carrying the message; ‘My Toilet, My Dignity’.

Number of people who still practice Open Defecation in Kenya