Poor hygiene, unsafe water prevalent problems in Kenya

NAIROBI, KENYA: A new report shows 69 per cent of Kenyans do not have access to improved sanitation and safe water.

The research conducted by Captiva Africa further shows over 43 per cent of the rural population have no access to basic sanitation while 4.98 million households in rural and peri-urban areas need improved sanitation.

Captiva Africa is a regional provider of business development support and marketing services.

Speaking in Nairobi, the Kenya Women Finance Trust (KWFT) Group Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Riria said water issues have not been prioritised in the country.

PROVIDE TANKS

The CEO said some top Government officials have contributed to the depletion of water sources especially in Nairobi.

"Watersheds have been taken up by Nairobi top officials and buildings have come up in areas that are the greatest sources of water," said Dr Riria.

She also said pollution of water sources has been rampant leading to most rivers drying up.

According to Riria, people with big farms have taken up all the water abusing human rights. "Why are people with big flower farms taking up all the water? I think this is an abuse to human rights," she said.

She asked women to take centre stage in ensuring proper water harvesting both in the rural and urban centres. She said KWFT would provide tanks on loan to aid in water harvesting.

To mitigate water problems in East Africa, Water.org, a Non-Governmental Organisation, and Master Card Foundation came up with a five year (2010-2015) water credit initiative to implement and scale up products in Kenya and Uganda.

Riria said the programme provides a variety of water and sanitation products to fit household needs such as rainwater harvesting tanks, water connections, shallow wells, pumps, septic tanks and biogas toilets.

The initiative also aims to disburse 36,000 water, sanitation and hygiene loans to benefit over 180,000 people and KWFT has disbursed 10,607 similar loans since 2012.

She said KWFT also aims at providing loans to low-income households in order to improve, renovate and improve their houses and to enhance water harvesting during rainy seasons.

Speaking in Nairobi Wednesday, Senior Public Health Officer Benjamin Murkomen admitted the Government has not done enough to improve sanitation in the rural areas and urged the public to change their attitude towards sanitation.

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