Community-led total sanitation in Kenya’s North Eastern Province

Kenya — Bulla Bakari, a village of 12 households, has been declared a open-defecation-free area as all families in the village, in the last four months, installed latrines and handwashing facilities in a community-led total sanitation intervention supported by Unicef through dialogue with the community.

Mohamed Badula, in-charge of Bulla Bakari says “Before we started building the latrines, we were told by doctors and public health officials that open defecation brought disease and flies. We realised that this was true and built the toilets.” All families in the village share one latrine per family. Nine latrines have been built in the village serving 100% of the community. The cost of installing the latrines was absorbed by the community in the village, and using locally available materials. Mohamed says “We helped each other as a family: men and women worked to build the toilets.” Mohamed’s family’s livelihood is comes from mat-making; farming chickpeas, legumes, beans and when the rain is good, maize, millet and bananas. The village depends on rain, there are no irrigation systems. Mohamed says “Even if there’s a water scarcity, it’s better to wash your hands. Because if you don’t, you’ll get sick.”

© 2011 UNICEF Kenya/Christine Nesbitt