Community health workers: Champions of affordable and accessible sanitation products

Photograph of a womanThe Ivingoni Community Health Workers (CHWs) in Makueni County, led by their chairperson Catherine Nyaka, are taking steps to encourage community members in 20 villages to invest in improved and affordable sanitation products for adequate toilets. The 35-member group are among 3,600 community health workers trained and supported by USAID’s Kenya Integrated Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (KIWASH) Project and other partners.

Their goal is to improve sanitation and hygiene and increase the number of communities that are open-defecation-free, or ODF, by having access to toilets and handwashing facilities.Since 2016, KIWASH has worked across seven counties in Kenya to train community health workers in hygiene behavioral change communication methodologies and messaging. As a result of this work, 992 villages in Kakamega, Kisumu, Kitui, Makueni, Migori, Nyamira and Siaya counties have been verified as open-defecation-free with a monitoring plan in place. The next critical step for KIWASH and partners is to ensure that these communities retain their ODF status.

To address this risk and help communities adopt more hygienic and sustainable latrines, KIWASH market-tested a range of products that can effectively respond to the demand for improved sanitation in communities. Two products in particular, the SATO pan and SAFI latrine, won out as the most feasible in terms of affordability, durability, availability, and suitability for soil conditions. The SATO (short for Safe Toilet) pan has a unique self-sealing trap door that closes quickly, seals tightly, and can be fitted to an existing latrine, and the SAFI (Kiswahili for “clean”) latrine has concrete walls designed to withstand soil pressure and prevent structures from collapsing. 

Within two months, the group sold 90 SATO pans earning a profit of US$84. Noting the high demand, the group ordered more which again sold within a month. “Schools are our biggest customers. The pans allow them to eliminate foul smells and flies from the school compound and maintain a healthy learning environment. Last month, we sold ten in one go to a neighboring school,” reveals Catherine.

The CHWs are passionate about seeing women and their families enjoy better health, and so they went door-to-door to promote safe, hygienic and low-cost sanitation options for pit latrines. “Our message was, ‘Toka kwa bora choo na utengeneze choo bora,’ which is loosely translated as ‘Let us move from a basic toilet to an improved toilet,’” says Catherine.

KIWASH also introduced a sanitation revolving fund model that enables local entrepreneurs to secure capital investment for SATO retail businesses. Organized community groups, composed largely of project-trained workers and volunteers, raise capital from group savings, interest on small loans, matching grants, or profits from the sale of SATO products. To increase the adoption of these products, KIWASH continues to work simultaneously with county governments, community groups and local artisans trained in the installation of these latrines to substantially develop the sanitation market in Kenya. This approach responds to the needs of users and is providing several small groups like Catherine’s with an extra revenue stream.

Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.


Kiwash Blog

Ivingoni CU 1 ed1
The Ivingoni Community Health Workers (CHWs) in Makueni County, led by their chairperson Catherine Nyaka, are taking steps to encourage community members in 20 villages...
Leonard Muange harvests ripe tomatoes from his green house ed
Leonard Ngoa owns a greenhouse at the heart of Makueni County. Despite recurring drought, he is able to run his agribusiness thanks to a reliable...
Catherine Juma from Makhwabuye village  Kakamega County ed
Eunice Onyango from Lukusi village in Kakamega County learned the health benefits of using a latrine through a community forum. “All along, I believed that...

Subscribe to our Newsletter


Contact Us

Mobile: +254 790 999 072
Mobile: +254 780 999 070
Email: info@kiwash.org

Address: UN Crescent, Gigiri
P.O Box 1863 - 00621
Nairobi, Kenya

The Kenya Integrated Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Project (KIWASH) - Nairobi, Kenya - info@kiwash.org. This website is made possible by the support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID.) The information provided on this Web site is not official U.S. Government information and does not represent the views or positions of the U.S. Agency for International Development or the U.S. Government. For more information review our Privacy Policy and Disclaimer. This website contains cookies like quantcast and chartbeat. They allow NationBuilder to monitor user activity in order to make improvements to the website. Involuntary personal information is not gathered or shared. Users can disable these cookies to prevent tracking user activity.