Lake region bloc counties get Sh2.8 billion to improve sanitation

Western Kenya Sanitation Project Deputy Chief Roselyne Okwiri in Busia where Lake Region Economic Block Counties received Sh2.8billion. [Benard Lusigi, Standard].

 Counties that form the Lake Region Economic Bloc have received Sh2.8 billion to address sanitation, solid waste management and menstrual hygiene challenges.

The 14 devolved units are Bungoma, Busia, Homa Bay, Kakamega, Kisii, and Kisumu.

Others are Migori, Nyamira, Siaya,Trans Nzoia, Kericho,Bomet, Nandi and Vihiga.

USAid, through the Western Kenya Sanitation Project (WKSP), disbursed the funds to some of the counties. The WKSP is a five-year initiative targeting a population of 500,000 people in the selected counties.

WKSP deputy chief of party Roselyne Okwiri, speaking during a workshop in Busia town on Friday, said: “We intend to enhance an equitable access to sanitation, especially women and youths.”

She said the programme is in line with the government’s goal of achieving the Open Defecation Free status by 2030.

“The national government has set frameworks for county governments to invest in sanitation and menstrual hygiene management to curb water-borne diseases,” Ms Okwiri added.

Busia became the first county to be declared Open Defecation Free (ODF) by the Ministry of Health in 2016.

A report by the Ministry of Health under the National ODF 2020 Campaign Framework places the national open defecation rate in Kenya at 14 per cent, with significant regional disparities.

The data further indicates more than eight million Kenyans still defecate in the open, resulting in the prevalence of diarrhoea, amoebiasis, typhoid and cholera.

Additionally, Kenya loses Sh27 billion annually due to poor sanitation, the report adds. In March, Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya launched the Sh6 billion waste-to-energy plant project to incinerate approximately 800 tonnes of solid waste per day. Governor Oparanya has also opened a Sh17.2 million wastewater treatment plant in Mumias town.

The project funded by the county government and Water Sector Trust Fund (WSTF) will cut the amount of wastewater released into the environment and is expected to serve at least 2,300 households.

Engineer Jared Okungu of the Technical Infrastructure Development at Lake Victoria Water Works Development Authority said the project will help to create a sustainable environment.

Mr Okungu said the Sh759 million Malava Water project that will pump 6,000 cubic metres of water per day is due for completion in September, while the Sh306 Million sanitation project is 90 percent complete.

“The project will improve access to clean water and installation of sewer lines.”