Water and sanitation in Turkana

The problem

In Kenya’s arid northern regions remote rural communities have limited access to clean water.   Many women and children spend several hours a day collecting water from the nearest water source. More than 80% of the population have no access to a sanitation facility. Open defecation is common, which has a significant impact on health within these communities.

This project is delivering access to safe, clean water and improved sanitation in the region. A key part of this work is supporting local service providers and institutions to deliver and maintain services. Encouraging hand washing and other good hygiene practice is also a key part of the work.

What we’re doing to help

Objective: Deliver sustainable water and sanitation in fragile contexts

Sustainable water and sanitation in fragile areas (SWIFT)

Location: Turkana, Kenya
Number of beneficiaries: 275,000
Project date: April 2014 - March 2018
Partners: Oxfam
Principal funders: UKaid
Funding: £1,004,434

In Turkana, we have improved the water infrastructure and increased access to safe water for remote rural communities. Work has included drilling and rehabilitating boreholes; laying pipelines; constructing water kiosks; installing tanks and solar pumping systems; constructing and rehabilitating shallow wells; and equipping boreholes with low-maintenance pumps.  The expected results of the project are:

  1. 201,300 people have access to safe, clean water
  2. 75,100 people have access to an improved sanitation facility
  3. At least 330,000 people are practicing improved hygiene behaviour.
  4. Sustainability of water and sanitation services enhanced as a result of stronger, more responsive and accountable WASH institutions and service providers.

The project is using the Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach, working in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation in Turkana to promote good hygiene behaviours and training Community Health Volunteers and teachers to identify health priorities in challenging and interesting ways.

Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS)

Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) mobilises communities to completely eliminate open defecation.The CLTS approach focuses on triggering a community’s desire for collective change, and providing support for it to build its own latrines.

The ‘triggering’ is done by stimulating a sense of disgust and shame among community members as they confront the facts about open defecation, and an awareness that as long as even a minority continues to defecate in the open, everyone is at risk of disease. Communities are supported to dig pits and construct household latrines and the programme includes training sanitation promoters and villagers so that they can make the slabs for the latrines. 

New water kiosk in Turkana

The water system in Namorputh has been upgraded with a high-yielding pump at the borehole and power from a new solar panel.

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