Water and sanitation services in Kenya are lacking, but the country is improving these services through the introduction of new inventions and initiatives. The U.N. adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015, a blueprint for achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to reduce global poverty and address other global issues while improving sustainability. Sustainable Development Goal 6 aims to ensure that every person has access to clean water and sanitation. Here are some initiatives that are helping SDG 6 in Kenya come to fruition through sustainable development.
Water pans are able to provide people with water in arid areas. Constructing water pans involves excavating a dam “and covering it with a dam liner.” This water pan container collects runoff rainwater and is able to hold it until the next rain season.
Without water pans, residents would have to walk long distances to water facilities. These water facilities have a history of corruption linked to them, which reduces water access for the impoverished. Collecting water is also especially dangerous for women who are at risk of undergoing sexual extortion for water or experiencing sexual assault on the walk.
The water pans provide accessible water, which allows farmers to feed their animals and water crops easily. As a result, farmers are able to grow more crops because they can spend more time farming and less time on water collection. Water pans are more than just a solution for water insecurity but also a solution for hunger. Water pans are a solution to the lack of water in warmer climates. They are becoming more popular on farms across Kenya. The installation of water pans for residents could help the achievement of SDG 6 in Kenya.
Fresh Life Toilets
Sanergy is a startup that builds Fresh Life Toilets, affordable alternatives to sewage systems. A Fresh Life Toilet separates solid waste in order to make fertilizer. This means that there is no need for a sewage system and that people can reuse waste sustainably.
Fresh Life Toilets are a better alternative to pit latrines, which do not last as long and have an unsanitary emptying process. Communities sometimes lack accessible designated areas to dispose of waste and can end up emptying the waste into drainages and waterways. By using the waste for organic fertilizer, communities can also avoid polluting waterways.
These Fresh Life Toilet units include handwashing stations, soap, water and feminine hygiene disposal bins. Sanergy has built more than 3,379 Fresh Life Toilets in Nairobi’s urban slums.
Entrepreneurship for Women
Mama Maji is a nonprofit that trains women in Kenya to become entrepreneurs in the water industry. The organization focuses on women because, in the developing world, women are frequently in charge of the collection and cleaning of water as well as caring for the sick.
The organization believes that women in these communities have the knowledge and experience to tackle water and sanitation issues. The Mama Maji creators believe that simply building infrastructure is not a sustainable solution to the water crisis and that by training women to come up with solutions and create their own businesses, the women can go on to provide clean water to their communities.
The nonprofit trains women in the production of Stabilized Soil Blocks (ISSBs), building water tanks and the logistics of running their own businesses. It also provides interest-free loans and training to Kenyan women to help their businesses grow while continuing to support them as their businesses expand.
Mama Maji has offered training on water and hygiene to 2,500 community members. The women in the program have made 2.7 times the current annual income of most women in Kenya.
Kenya is on its way to meeting U.N. SDG 6 — access to clean water and sanitation for all Kenyans. Water pans, Fresh Life Toilets and the efforts of Mama Maji provide community support and resources to accelerate the process of accomplishing SDG 6 in Kenya.
– Stephanie Jackson