Sixty Five Villages Take Steps Towards ODF Status

Photograph of a woman washing her handsA total of 65 villages in Kakamega, Kisumu, Makueni and Migori counties are on the path to being declared Open Defecation Free (ODF) after a community driven process conducted by the county ministries of health with support from USAID’s Kenya Integrated Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Project (KIWASH).

Since October 2016, KIWASH has triggered 181 villages with a population of 59,203 in seven counties, namely Kakamega, Kisumu, Kitui, Makueni, Migori, Nyamira and Siaya counties. KIWASH aims to reach at least 70,000 people with improved sanitation.

To achieve this goal, KIWASH held five-day training sessions for over 75 public health officers and community health volunteers in Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) implementation, triggering, planning and reporting. In addition, one–day community sensitization sessions for over 175 public health officers and community health volunteers were held. These sessions have helped to enhance and develop county government’s capacity to implement and sustain CLTS as the strategy for sanitation improvement. The trainings have also resulted in a database of good facilitators and trainers of CLTS and helped to effectively roll out a successful strategy for scaling-up rural sanitation in the seven counties.

CLTS is a practical based approach that demands involvement and active participation of all members especially the target communities. Therefore, field practice which included mock triggering in villages was a key component of all trainings. CLTS techniques and tools that serve to trigger local populations by helping them to visualize the ways in which open-defecation affected their health, dignity and future were also used during the field work.

Lilian Oluoch a community health volunteer in Nyamninia Sub-location, Siaya County received CLTS training and went on to sensitize community members about the importance of constructing latrines and hand washing facilities with soap and water to avoid fecal oral contamination and continued spread of disease. Within a month she had already reached several households with WASH and behavior change messages.

“I’m happy to report positive responses from the community because within the first month of sensitization, five households have already started constructing latrines while those with latrines have committed to set up tippy taps and wash hands every time they visit the toilets,” noted Lilian.

“Training from the community health volunteer moved us to construct a latrine to serve our household of 10. Cases of diarrhea among our children has reduced because we always remind them to wash hands at the tippy tap after visiting the latrines and as adults in the homestead we’ve made it a daily habit to set a good example,” said Hildah Onyango, a resident of Nyamininia.

The 65 villages are now expected to be verified and certified by the end of April 2017 as KIWASH targets to initiate CLTS activities in 275 villages by the end of the year.

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