For most of her 48 years, Agnes Daudi never enjoyed the luxury of owning a toilet. The mother of three is a tea and maize farmer in Nyamira County. She could not hide her happiness and satisfaction after constructing her first toilet. “I never had a toilet all this while and entirely depended on my neighbor’s which was five minutes away.”
She enjoyed a good relationship with her neighbor who allowed Agnes and her family to use their toilet. “I did not find anything wrong with walking that distance and sharing the toilet with them. All I had to do is to ensure that I had ‘sorted’ myself before darkness fell to guarantee I did not have the urge to visit the toilet at night,” she adds.
Agnes’ village is among the many that the Kenya Integrated Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (KIWASH) Project reached through community led total sanitation (CLTS) initiatives that work to help communities achieve open defecation free status by increasing the number of households with toilets. “Some people came to my house and taught me how to construct a toilet. They also talked to me about the need for maintaining good hygiene which included handwashing after visiting the toilet,” Agnes remarks.
After learning more about latrines and hygienic practices, Agnes finally embarked on latrine construction and also installed a handwashing facility. “If I had not learned this information, I would still be depending on my neighbor’s toilet. My new toilet has really made me very comfortable. When visitors come to my house, I proudly direct them to it,” Agnes says.
She now ensures that her children practice all that they were taught. “My children now know that after visiting the toilet they have to wash their hands with soap or ash. This includes my three-year-old son. I have also come to realize that a toilet is one of the most important facilities in a homestead,” she concludes.
KIWASH integrates behavior change communication with CLTS to help communities uphold desirable sanitation and hygiene behavior. These include correct and consistent use of latrines, correct and consistent hand washing at critical times using water and soap, construction of tippy taps, and the treatment and proper storage of drinking water. These USAID initiatives have resulted in 80,985 people gaining access to basic sanitation.