The WASH joint monitoring program report (2019) by The World Health Organization and UNICEF found that only 59% of Kenyans have access to basic water services and only 29% have access to sanitary services.
Kenya Connect is working to change this narrative with the construction and opening of our first banks of compost toilets at two partner primary schools after piloting compost toilets with teachers for the past year. Partnering with GiveLove.org, an ecosan wash program, Kenya Connect has embraced this elegant technology as way to provide clean sanitation to students in our rural community.
Why compost toilets? Compost toilets provide the simple technology of composting human waste into rich soil. These toilets use sawdust as cover material. The carbon prevents bad smell so they do not attract flies and are easy to maintain. Teachers, parents, and community members who have used these toilets like the comfortable design and the cleanliness of the toilet. Unlike the pit latrines at most schools that smell, are dark, and not hygienic, the compost toilets provide a stark contrast while producing rich compost that can be used to enrich the soil and cultivate gardens and trees. Since there is no “pit” collecting the waste that can crack or collapse especially during rain season, students are safe and the water table remains clean.
As with all Kenya Connect programs, we engaged the community in the process of the project. Teachers were instrumental in providing feedback when we piloted using the toilets and were enthusiastic supporters of our efforts to provide clean sanitation for the students. Prior to students using the toilets, we invited parents to the school to learn about compost toilets and to hear their feedback. Parents were so excited about the prospect that they pledged to supply toilet paper for students to use instead of the customary leaves, maize cobs or rocks.
Locally-led NGOs are developing solutions to clean water and sanitation that meet the needs of the community. Working closely with parents, teachers and local leaders, we are making a difference. In addition to providing water tanks and hand washing to our partner schools, we are thrilled to be at the beginning of providing clean sanitation that also enriches the earth.