Kenya: Human waste woes in slums
NAIROBI/KISUMU, 27 December 2012 (IRIN) – The odour of human waste is unbearable at the pit latrine behind Nancy Anyango’s house in Manyatta, a sprawling slum in the western Kenya city of Kisumu. Nearby, a heap of rotting garbage lies between long rows of shacks. From a distance, one can hear the flies buzzing.
Photo: Dara Lipton/The Advocacy Project -
A stream in the Kibera slum is used as a dump site for trash and human waste
The open pits exacerbate the threat of disease. They are also a physical risk for children. Only a couple of months ago, Anyango lost her three-year-old son when he fell into one of them while playing with other kids.
“The waste produces a pungent smell, and when it rains, it floods our houses, and we are forced to move out. The lives of our children, too, are in danger because they play inside the filth,” Anyango told IRIN.
Risks to residents
Local government authorities put the slum’s population at 45,000, but they are served by no more than 30 pit latrines. And because people are charged a fee to use the latrines, many opt defecate in the open instead.
Nairobi, Kenya, December 18, 2012—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today announced support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to catalyze the market for improved sanitation and accelerate access to more affordable sanitation solutions for low-income households in East Africa.
The Selling Sanitation initiative, a joint project of IFC and the World Bank Water and Sanitation Program, will support regional manufacturing firms to deliver low-cost sanitation products to consumer markets, with a pilot program in Kenya.
This initiative will lower market barriers, attract private investment and spur innovation by helping firms better understand consumer needs at the base of the pyramid. It will provide support to manufacturing firms to design new products, strengthen rural distribution mechanisms, and actively promote sanitation to consumers currently without access. The initiative will work closely with regional government counterparts, including the Kenyan Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation, to create the right enabling conditions for the sanitation market.
Webinar: WASH in Schools
National Policy Changed by WASH in Schools Research
Date: Thursday 13 December 2012
Time: 14:30 – 15:30 CET (Central European Time)
19:00 – 20:00 New Delhi
16:30 – 17:30 Nairobi
08:30 – 09:30 New York
Mamita Bora Thakkar, UNICEF India
Brooks Keene and Jason Oyugi, CARE
Whether you like it or not, governments have a role to play in effective implementation of WASH in Schools programmes. This webinar will explore how national policy is influenced by the work of UNICEF in India and SWASH+ in Kenya.
Combining experiences in Kenya and India, the webinar aims to do three things:
- examine how UNICEF India supports the Indian government in identifying and overcoming obstacles that prevent the achievement of sustainable WASH in Schools
- explore how the SWASH+ research helped change the national policy on school WASH in Kenya
- provide insights into how best to track progress and results.
Register here: https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/428349031
After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.
Space is limited so please reserve your Webinar seat on time if you want to participate.
Ingeborg Krukkert, IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre
Malaika Cheney-Choker, CARE USA
Posted in Africa, Campaigns and Events, Policy, South Asia
Tagged Care, India, IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre, Kenya, schools, SWASH+, unicef, WASH in schools, webinars
From: Julie Straw, MPH
CARE USA Water Team
SWASH+ is an action-research and advocacy project focused on increasing the scale, impact and sustainability of school water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) interventions in Kenya. Since September 2006, SWASH+ has collaborated with teachers and students in 185 primary schools in four districts in Nyanza Province, Kenya to identify challenges and analyze innovative solutions for sustaining school WASH. The project’s randomized controlled trials and numerous sub-studies have resulted in a compendium of research publications, one-page research summaries, stories from the field, photo essays and short films now available for the public on the new SWASH+ website.
Six years of research was not conducted to simply share findings among academics and non-government organizations; from day 1 the project was designed with a strong advocacy-for-policy-change to reach successful implementation of school WASH throughout Kenya. The Government of Kenya has been a key contributor and the ultimate target audience for the lessons and recommendations from the SWASH+ project.
This research-based advocacy approach has led to wide-spread change across Kenya. SWASH+ research directly contributed to the Kenya’s Ministry of Education decision to double funding for school WASH ($840,000/year) with potentially more to come. This increase makes a difference in whether or not a school is able to purchase consumables such as soap, WaterGuard for treating water, and latrine cleaning supplies – thus affecting student wellbeing and attendance. Research also brought national attention to the menstrual hygiene needs of young women in Kenya, resulting in Kenyan government allocation of $3.4 million for sanitary pads for school girls this year. SWASH+ research also impacted the adoption of new curriculum and…(want to read more? Check out the new SWASH+ website)
Source – WASHfunders Blog, Aug 17, 2012
Editor’s Note: This guest post was authored by Malaika Cheney-Coker, the learning and influencing advisor of the Water Team at CARE USA. Her work includes support on internal and external communications, the application and use of monitoring and evaluation tools, and technical guidance on learning strategies and activities within partnership programs of the Water Team. In this post, Malaika discusses the implications of a school WASH project study on action-research projects.
In the summer of 2007, SWASH+, a school WASH project in Nyanza Province, Kenya, with a large and complex research operation, conducted a small study. The study was a simple identification of the recurrent costs needed to pay for materials and for labor to maintain and repair water containers, stands, taps, and to re-purchase soap and water purification items. Very different from the larger randomized controlled trials and studies being conducted by the project, this study cost little and did not require a large research team (it was conducted by a graduate student over the course of a summer) or complex design and analysis. However, the findings of this simple cost research were immediately adopted by the Ministry of Education and resulted in a doubling of the Ministry’s Free Primary Education allotment for electricity, water, and conservancy — a budget line item that schools have traditionally used to pay for WASH costs.
Parent volunteer helps monitor school WASH conditions by ensuring soapy water is available for hand-washing, drinking water is treated, and latrines are clean. Credit: CARE / Brendan Bannon, Kenya, 2012
From this experience, the SWASH+ team gained some important insights into how action-research projects can achieve results:
- Various forms of inquiry are needed to produce and buttress an evolving story. The simple study on WASH costs was a logical next step after a study on the sustainability of a safe water systems pilot in 55 schools identified adequate financing as one of four domains of sustainability. A problem tree analysis also identified inadequate or poorly planned financing as a key threat to sustainability. Similarly, SWASH+ findings from a randomized controlled trial on the effects of school WASH on pupil absence provided evidence for one of the potential impacts of improved school WASH (an average of six days less of absence for school girls) and helped make the case for increasing investments in school WASH.
- Research needs to be made available to policymakers in practical terms. The budget for operations costs drafted by SWASH+ offered specific and practical recommendations that could be more readily adopted than a general injunction to the Ministry of Education to increase its funding.
- To make research available in practical terms, action-research organizations need to be adept at canvassing entry points and opportunities for influence. A SWASH+ review of the national school WASH strategy draft revealed that the cost estimates related to school WASH seemed arbitrary. By having had cultivated relationships within the Ministry, SWASH+ was able to point this out and suggest that these numbers be revised using figures provided by the research.
SWASH+ is an action-research and advocacy project focused on increasing the scale, impact and sustainability of school water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) interventions in Kenya. Since September 2006, SWASH+ has worked in 185 primary schools in four districts in Nyanza Province, Kenya to identify challenges and analyse innovative solutions for sustaining school WASH. The project’s randomized controlled trials and numerous sub-studies have resulted in a compendium of journal articles, research reports, one-page research summaries, stories from the field, photo essays and videos now available on the new SWASH+ website.
From day one the project was designed with a strong advocacy-for-policy-change focus in order to contribute to successful implementation of school WASH throughout Kenya. SWASH+ research directly contributed to the Kenya’s Ministry of Education decision to double funding for school WASH (US$ 840,000/year) with potentially more to come. SWASH+ Research also helped bring national attention to the menstrual hygiene needs of school-aged girls in Kenya, resulting in a government allocation of US$ 3.4 million for sanitary pads for school girls this year.
Now the launch of the new website brings the voices of students, teachers, staff and government officials to a global audience along with years of research and lessons learned.
The partners that form the SWASH+ consortium are CARE, Emory University, the Great Lakes University of Kisumu, the Government of Kenya, and Water.org. SWASH+ is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Global Water Challenge. The new website is created and hosted by IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre.
Translating Research into National-Scale Change: A Case Study from Kenya of WASH in Schools, 2011. SWASH Project.
Over the past 5 years CARE, Emory University’s Center for Global Safe Water, and Water.org, through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-funded Sustaining and Scaling School Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Plus Community Impact (SWASH+) project, have worked to achieve sustainable and national-scale school WASH services in Kenya through applied research and advocacy. The project tested a multi-armed school WASH intervention through a randomized, controlled trial with multiple policy-relevant sub-studies. Research results were then used to advocate for policy change to bring about sustainable school WASH services nationally. These efforts have focused on improving budgeting for operations and maintenance costs, improving accountability systems with a focus on monitoring and evaluation, and more effectively promoting knowledge of WASH through teacher training and the national curriculum.
Advocacy objectives were developed through a problem-tree analysis and stakeholder analyses. SWASH+ used Outcome Mapping to track progress against these objectives. Specific advocacy goals were to identify important policy intervention areas, work with policymakers to update knowledge and identify learning gaps and then act as a learning adviser to the relevant ministries.
Though the project has not achieved all advocacy objectives, it can claim some advances. Lessons for effective school WASH advocacy gained from the program successes and mistakes are as follows:
1) Having a rigorous evidence base creates large amounts of credibility with policymakers.
2) Significant time and follow-up are needed as well as having staff with appropriate skills.
3) The “ripeness” of the external policy environment is crucial and can make or break efforts to affect national-scale change. Successful advocacy initiatives avoid being insular, focus on the external policy environment at the outset, assess data needs and stakeholder roles and responsibilities, and set