Kenyan youths eradicate open defecation in Nakuru slums

Until 2014, walking on the human waste on the environs of Soko Mjinga market situated within the boundaries of the Kwa Rhonda and Kaptembwa slums, in Kenya's Nakuru County was arguably a common visibility.


But overtime, things have changed in these areas located on the western side of Nakuru town, about 160 km northwest of the capital city Nairobi, thanks to community-led activities promoting sustainable environmental conservation.

At Soko Mjinga, a multipurpose biocentre run by Mwamko Mpya Youth Group has been established to serve locals from both Kwa Rhonda and Kaptembwa, eliminating attempts to defecate openly.

“This place used to be dirty with human waste but we have seen tremendous changes since this facility was established,” Oscar Muganda, the chairperson of the group told Xinhua on Monday.

The biocentre currently provides toilet and bathroom facilities but it is intended to convert the human waste into biogas which could be a big relief to the businesspeople around the area who need cheap power to run their business.

One pays 0.05 dollars to use the power flush toilets and 0.1 dollars to bath in the washrooms.

Even though the facility significantly solves the sanitation hurdles in the areas which accommodate more than 200,000 residents, creating awareness on the importance of maintaining hygiene has been the driving force, Muganda says.

“We do a lot of work in sensitizing the people to use the toilets and avoid defecating on the open fields,” noted Muganda.

“Slowly by slowly the locals have come to realize the significance of keeping the environment clean. You could feel so uncomfortable stepping on the faeces from one step to another,” Muganda said.

Muganda’s youth group became a beneficiary of the project after presetting a hygiene and sanitation proposal to Practical Action, an international development charity which utilizes technology to solve sanitation problems around the world.

Practical Action in collaboration with Umande Trust, a local non-governmental organisation facilitated the establishment of the advanced biocentre which also includes a hall for social activities.

“This is one of our greatest achievement since we are not only contributing to maintaining high levels of sanitation in these areas but also economically empowering ourselves as youths,” stated the group’s chairperson.

“Consistent monitoring and sensitization is required to prevent recurrence of the open defecation problem,” said Patrick Mwanzia, the senior project officer for Practical Action’s Urban Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and Waste Programme.

Kenya is currently running a slum upgrading program funded by the World Bank and implemented through the Ministry of Land, Housing and Urban Development; whose completion could elevate the social living standards of the informal settlement dwellers.

Erecting floodlights in the estates, tarmacking roads and construction storm water drainage systems are the main developments to be implemented under the project which also extends to Kwa Rhonda and Kaptembwa. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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