No More Flying Toilets

As you pull through the vast Kibera slum, the populous informal settlement in Nairobi, Kenya”s capital city with over 750,000 residents, polluted natural waste water drains filled with human waste tells the story of the non-existent basic services amongst the dwellers. The residents struggle to access basic services has been a myth to many. But for Mr. Edward Kamau, he has called Silanga village his home for over 20 years since he moved into Nairobi city from his rural home on the slopes of Mt.Kenya.

Since I moved into my plot, I have learnt to cope with the environmental conditions. “It has been a trying moment for me and my family he says adding that the extreme dehumanizing living conditions has deprived them of their human dignity.

Mr.Kamau and many other residents can now afford a smile. A water and sanitation project dubbed Kibera Water and Sanitation Project implemented by Practical Action together with the Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company (NWSC), Athi Water Services Board (AWSB) and Water and Sanitation Programme (WSP) of the World Bank has brought a sigh of relieve.

David Kuria, Programme Manager, Water and Sanitation Unit with Practical Action in Eastern Africa says the project aims to improve the livelihoods of poor men, women and children in the area through improved and sustained water and sanitation services and hygiene behavior.

Through funding from the Rotary Club of Langata (in liaison with Rotary Club of Denver, USA), Practical Action, an international development agency working in Nairobi slums is making it happen for the disillusioned residents. They now have hope to access better water and sanitation facilities away from the traditional flying toilets.

Silanga, the fourth largest village in Kibera, is situated at the lower western side of the informal settlement a stone throw from the Nairobi dam. Silanga, with a population of 145,000 people has suffered from mirage of poor water and sanitation facilities as the existing ones cannot serve the growing population.

The only accessible existing facilities can hardly serve half of the population leaving many with no option but to use the flying toilets. The situation is worsened since they cannot afford to use the available pay-after-use shallow pit latrines as majority of the residents are casual labourers in Nairobi”s industrial area.

According Mutula Kilonzo Junior, the President, Rotary Club of Langata the project addresses the plight of the poor to access, use and benefit from the community-owned public facilities. It does not only stop at this as it aims at raising awareness on hygiene issues among the slum dwellers.

Mr.Kuria says the project will construct at least eight (8) community water and sanitation infrastructure facilities as well as a pilot community kitchen to exploit the methane gas harvested from the bio-digester technology incorporated.

The new community water and sanitation project is a replication of the successful now functioning pilot community water and ablution blocks facilities constructed by Practical Action at Kianda village, Area A in the vast Kibera slum.

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