The United Nations classifies Kenya as a chronically water scarce country on the basis of having one of the lowest natural water replenishment rates. Estimates of water supply in the country indicate that only about 56 per cent of the population has access to safe water. Approximately 80 percent of hospital attendance in Kenya is due to preventable diseases and about 50 percent of these illnesses are water, sanitation and hygiene related. Coverage of adequate sanitation has dropped from 49 percent to 43 percent in recent years. 16 million (50 percent) Kenyans do not have adequate sanitation; more than 90 per cent of the water and sanitation related disease outbreaks occur in the rural areas; 50 per cent of rural households have no toilet facilities at all, and where they exist they are generally unhygienic; up to 50 per cent of the urban populations reside in slum environments where sanitation conditions are dreadful; on average, schools have only one latrine per 100 pupils compared with the recommended maximum of 40 pupils per latrine; more than three-quarters of Kenya is still vulnerable to disasters, especially floods, droughts and cholera.
Without water, children simply cannot stay alive or thrive in a healthy environment. Sanitation is essential to the survival and development of children. Currently, there are 2.4 billion people worldwide who do not use improved sanitation (a facility that safely separates human waste from human contact). 946 million people go in the open, known as “open defecation”. While progress has been made to improve access to sanitation in some parts of the world, millions of children in poor and rural areas have been left behind.
With all this challenges in mind FOCUS CBO aims at
- Providing clean and safe drinking water
- Increase access and supply of safe drinking water to vulnerable members of the community.
- Training and constructing safe and affordable toilets that prevents water contamination.
It involves both behaviors and facilities, which work together to form a hygienic environment. This involves improving sanitation technology through community-based approaches, ensuring basic toilets are affordable, accessible and that they meet criteria for safety, effectiveness, sustainability, environmental impact and child-friendliness.
- Hand wash education and hygiene support.
Something as simple as hand washing can save lives. Washing hands with soap at critical times, like after going to the toilet or before eating, can have a significant impact on children’s health. Good hygiene practices reduce the incidence of diseases such as pneumonia, trachoma, scabies, skin and eye infections and diarrhea-related diseases like cholera and dysentery. Education and communication are important components of a promoting hygiene; however education alone does not necessarily result in improved practices. Promoting behavior change is a gradual process that involves working closely with communities, studying existing beliefs, defining motivation strategies, designing appropriate communication tools and finally, encouraging practical steps towards positive practices.