Unsafe water, lack of basic sanitation and poor hygiene practices are major causes of diarrhoeal diseases in Africa, resulting in around 1,700 deaths every day.
Millions of people live in informal settlements, dependent on filthy pit latrines and with open drains coursing through narrow alleys.
It’s impossible to live a healthy life in such an environment.
But in the fight against diarrhoea, sewer networks are an under-appreciated but vital tool, ensuring harmful waste can be safely moved out of communities.
Under the Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN),
Mary, a resident of Githima known locally as Mama Karugu, had been dependent on a pit latrine for sanitation but one night last year, her poorly built toilet collapsed into the pit. This could have been deadly if someone had been using the toilet at the time. “If I was inside, I would have sunk with it,” recalls Mama Karugu.
The upgraded facility provided by the project is improving her health and helping her business. “As a landlord, I no longer worry about retaining my tenants because of poor sanitaiton facilities,” she says. “It really excites me that NAWASSCO handles the waste for me through the network. It's good to move with the times!”
“Poor sanitation is a concern for the County Government of Nakuru as it negatively impacts on the county's economy,” says Samuel King’ori, the Nakuru County Chief Officer of Public Health. “No investor will ever invest in a dirty city: health is wealth.”
The sewer extensions form part of a broader programme with WSUP to improve access to clean water and safe sanitation for 340,000 people in Kenya.