Makueni County’s 8,000 square kilometers of arid and semi-arid lands stretch south and east toward the coast. Makueni is bordered by Machakos County to the north, Kajiado County to the west, Taita-Taveta County to the south and Kitui County to the east. Tsavo National Park lies in the southern part of the County.
Makueni County is home to an estimated one million people. Just over half the households in the county use improved sanitation, while the rest of the population (44 percent) practices open defecation or lacks access to improved sanitation facilities. All major towns in Makueni County lack sewerage facilities, and the sanitation condition worsens during times of water shortage.
One main river, the Athi, flows through Makueni, and yet it and the few other streams and rivers in the county, goes dry during annual drought periods. Only one-third of residents use improved water sources, and on average, residents – usually women and girls – must travel eight kilometers to reach its nearest potable water source.
There are three main water service providers (WSPs) in Makueni County, i.e Wote Water and Sanitation Company (WOWASCO) Kibwezi Makindu Water and Sanitation Company (KIMAWASCO) and Nolturesh Water Company, which serves Makueni and Kajiado counties. These WSPs currently service only 15 percent of the population.
Key KIWASH interventions in Makueni County include:
Water Access and Distribution
- Supporting three water service providers to improve efficiency of business operations, serve customers better, reach new customers and qualify for financing to expand services.
- Reducing non-revenue water loss by training water company staff on improved water management and metering.
- Strengthening the capacity of 20 smaller water service enterprises to address performance -challenges, improve services and expand their customer base.
- Improving water infrastructure, including installing efficient pumps, building new storage tanks, installing meters to track water usage, and laying new distribution pipelines for
- WOWASCO and KIMAWASCO.
- Establishing and revitalizing community associations to manage and protect water sources.
Governance and Policy
- Advancing water and sanitation policies, together with the departments of water and health, that protect water sources, support WASH enterprises and promote the improvement of water access and supply in the county.
- Supporting the advancement of the County Water and Environment Bill and establishing the first County WASH Network.
Sanitation and Hygiene
- Promoting improved sanitation and hygiene practices, such as handwashing, treatment and safe storage of drinking water, and food hygiene with key audiences, such as mothers and caregivers.
- Creating the demand for basic sanitation and hygiene as well as improved sanitation through Community Led Total Sanitation and Open Defecation Free certification campaigns.
- Training Ministry of Health officers, community health volunteers and healthcare workers on behavior change techniques to encourage basic sanitation and hygiene practices.