USAID has embarked on a sanitization project in eight counties in the Western Part of Kenya that is intended to run to the year 2027 at a cost of 2.8 billion shillings targeting to reach 500,000 households by the end of the five years.
The project dubbed Western Kenya Sanitization Project (WKSP) which is a market based sanitation and hygiene project is attributed to one of the biggest challenges in the nation, extending safely managed and suitable sanitation and hygiene to the average citizen was officially launched in Siaya for the county’s start of the project.
Dr. Paul Orengoh, the Chief of Party of the USAID Western Sanitization Project said that the 5-year Sh2.8 billion project will benefit residents in Siaya, Bungoma, Busia, Kakamega, Migori, Homa Bay and Kisii, adding that there has been resilient sanitation and hygiene strategies and plans that have disinterested or limited engagement into the private sector.
“We are coming in through a market based intervention to ensure that we not only build capacities of the counties private sectors and wider stakeholders but also facilitate processes that will extend free flow of sanitation goods and services that will help in taking the eight counties to the next level in the sanitation ladder,” said the Chief of Party.
George Ougo, the Siaya County Public Health Officer said that Siaya County was third to be declared Open defecation free in 2013 after Busia County and Kitui County.
“Now that we have received a partner, The Western Kenya Sanitization Project supported by the USAID, we are optimistic that their efforts will help us increase access to basic latrine access in our county.” said Ougo.
Ugunja sub-county and Alego-Usonga Sub-county in terms of latrine and toilets coverage are far much ahead compared to the remaining sub-counties namely Rarieda, Gem and Bondo.
With this project of the WKSP, the county government is optimistic that the coverage will spread to the other parts of the county which will improve access to basic sanitation in Siaya.
According to the public Health Officer, they are expecting services in the menstrual hygiene management from the partner and they will help in improving the access to menstrual hygiene in commodities like sanitary towels so that the young girls and women especially in low income households benefit in the long run.
This partnership with USAID will go a long way in bolstering the county and the national government as they distribute sanitary towels to school going children as these efforts are never enough due to limited access by most of the girls and women in need of such aid.
Maida Nyawade, the County Director of Youth Affairs Gender and Social Services said that the project is going to help fill the gaps they had in the area of Sanitation and Menstrual Hygiene.
Nyawade added that as a directorate they are very concerned about the vulnerable groups; the youth, women and persons with disability. Being a marginalized group, the issue of affordable sanitization has been a problem particularly in deprived economic households.
By Calvin Otieno and Vincent Ouma