In Kenya, a paltry 30 per cent of the population has access to sanitation with 12 per cent, mostly in rural areas practising open defecation. Unfortunately, lack of toilets is directly linked to sanitation-related ailments, which claim an estimated 90 newborns daily. Annually, about 17,000 children under five die because of poor sanitation, majority (90 per cent) succumbing to diarrhea. In economic terms, it is estimated that Kenya loses 230 milliard euro annually because of poor sanitation.

However, all is not doom and gloom because both National and County governments through sanitation programmes funded by donors have formulated a policy on open defecation in a project dubbed open defecation free (ODF) zones, 15 counties had by 2017 achieved 40 per cent ODF rates with the national average being 14 per cent.

Sanitation programmes

National sanitation programmes have catalysed legislative action including adoption of critical policies. The Kenya Environmental Sanitation Hygiene policy, for instance aspires to achieve and sustain universal access to improved sanitation for all Kenyans by 2030.

Sanitation for all by 2030 calls for innovative interventions and models that disrupt the dominant inhibitors of access, majorly sanitation financing. That’s why in 2013, FINISH expanded to Kenya.

FINISH in Kenya

The FINISH programme started in 2 counties, Busia and Kilifi and from 2018 has started to expand to 6 more. In November 2015, Busia county set a precedence for other counties in the quest for an open defecation free country, a success that has been replicated in Siaya and Kitui counties.

Nowadays over 100,000 people have improved living conditions. Also, local market mechanisms are developed so that benefits stay local, children get access to school sanitation, financial institutions find new markets and small businesses find sanitation markets.

The ultimate goal is to have an open defecation free Kenya with universal access to improved sanitation by 2030. To accelerate sanitation for all, there is need for a purposeful focus on one-and two-way integration of sanitation into health and non-health sectors.