Although Kenya and other eastern African countries committed themselves to increased financing for sanitation at the World Summit for Sustainable Development in 2002, the issue has not been prioritised in national budgets since then.
NAIROBI (IPS) – In 1925, Mahatma Gandhi remarked that “Sanitation is more important than political independence.
More than 80 years later, access to basic sanitation remains out of reach for 546 million people in sub-Saharan Africa.
In East Africa, not one country is on track to meet Millennium Development Goal Seven, which aims to reduce by half the number of people without access to clean drinking water and decent sanitation by 2015.
Despite governments in the region being signatories to several declarations on improving sanitation, many East African households still lack access to flush toilets or pit latrines.
Open defecation is widespread, and `flying toilets`, where people defecate in plastic bags and throw them away at night are the rule rather than the exception in many informal settlements.
“This is the way we live. We do not have toilets, and no place to safely dispose of our waste,“ said Nicholas Ambeyo. “Because of this, and the lack of sufficient water, and the open sewers that run through our houses, we are at a risk of contracting diseases.”
Ambeyo spoke to IPS in his home in Kibera. With a population estimated to be close to a million people, Kibera is one of Africa`s largest slums. It is approximately seven kilometres from Nairobi city centre.