Improved sanitation; a necessity for all!
Residents of Tigania East, West and Central, describe kauni hill as a miracle center, which has been a prayer site for the locals. Gladys Kanini, Tigania East Community Health Assistant, who regularly goes for prayers up the hill says that about 500 people go there each day, while others spend days there.
For a long period, this prayer site has had a gap in terms of a sanitation facility which has forced most of the locals who go for prayers there defecate in the open. Cases of illnesses brought about by cholera and bilharzia were high among the locals who went for prayers in the shrine, this led to it facing closure as lives were at stake.
This gap led to different interventions from public health officers to make sure that a sanitation facility is provided for the frequenting Christians. Through the public health team, a heath dialogue meeting was conducted in collaboration with Caritas Meru, Finish Mondial Kenya, pastors and the Christians. From this meeting, it was agreed that the site needed at least 9 improved latrines situated at different parts of the 8 kilometer stretch of the hill.
Through the diamond approach a partnership was stroke and spearheaded by Gladys for a fundraising activity to be able to get money for the construction as this was a big challenge. She approached the County Government Department of Public Health, Caritas Meru team, area Member of Parliament among others. Through this fundraising activity, a two-door latrine was able to commence construction with the community offering support as women transported the materials to the site and local area artisans volunteered to construct. These artisans were trained on the site on how to build FINISH design toilets.
Five months from the construction inception of the two-door latrine, they were finally constructed to completion with provision of hand washing stations. Bishop Abednego Mugambi says “unlike before, now the entire site is almost free of open defecation as a result of the latrines constructed, thanks to the Finish Mondial technology and technical support”.
Although the latrines are hardly enough for the hundreds who visit the site, Gladys says the existing ones are a step towards declaring the site open defecation free. From this step forward, Gladys has taken it as a mandate to encourage the community to construct improved sanitation systems in their homes with a hope that by the end of the year all the target 9 sanitation systems will be constructed to completion at Kauni hill.