Mbeere residents embrace smart toilets to curb open defecation

One of the samrt toilets at Faith Njeri's home in Cianyi village, Mbeere north Sub County. [Timothy Kariuki, Standard]

Residents of Mbeere in Embu County have embraced modern pit latrines as they strive to end open defecation.

According to them, this is one way of raising sanitation standards and hygiene while preventing diseases like typhoid and diarrhea.

So far, over 5,000 homesteads have embraced the idea and put up modern pit latrines that are easy to clean and manage.

At Cianyi village, in Mbeere North, Irene Muthoni said her pit latrine has improved her home keeping her family healthy.

Muthoni said before she installed the smart toilet pan on her pit latrine, her children were always in and out of the hospitals due to vomiting and diarrhea.

"The traditional pit latrines we were using were in a very bad shape, children would come to relieve themselves and start playing with the dirt in the latrine, flies would be all over the pit and later come to the house, this project has gone a long way in alleviating the problem," she said.

According to her, in the past they were using ashes to spread in the latrine to keep it clean. However, nowadays they just need some little water and a brush.

Caroline Igoki, another beneficiary said that the modern latrines have also provided an opportunity for little children to go to the toilet without fear of falling inside.

Through the program that has been supported by Bimas Microfinance, the households have acquired water tanks to store the water for drinking and cleaning the toilets.

Igoki said the water tanks are instrumental in the storage of water when rivers dried due to prolonged dry seasons that see water companies ration water.

"I did not struggle like other women to go and fetch water from the river during the dry season, I just store the water in my tank and use it for household and for my animals until the next shift," she said.

Bimas microfinance Chief Finance Officer Elizabeth Wanjiru said that the aim of the program is to offer clean water and maintenance of proper sanitation and hygiene.

Wanjiru said the program has also been rolled out in public primary schools where the state of the latrines are in bad shape.

"We are also targeting schools where hundreds of children gather for learning, but the facilities are still not up to standards, to eradicate these diseases, we must walk the talk," she said.