Achieving ODF status in the Kisumu East Sub County villages has been a dream to the County Government and many WASH partners including Living Water Service Centre as an implementer working in Kisumu East. Kisumu East sub county boarders Kisumu city and it hosts a variety of social classes ranging from gated communities to simple block of flats and homesteads which has made CLTS approach on sanitation promotion a challenge.
Most of the households did not understand the need to put up user friendly latrines with all the sanitation indicators since open defecation was the norm and the belief that defecation in the bush under the cool breeze of leafy trees is the sweetest experience especially during the big harvests. In some households, achieving the ODF status was hindered by controversy in gender roles where men are believed to be too superior to participate in putting up to the sanitation standards.
They were triggered between 2015 and 2017, follow ups were done in 2018 after series of health education sessions and community dialogues, verified, certified and celebrated in June 2018.
The journey was facilitated by the community Health Volunteers, referred to as community ‘monitors’ or ‘nyamrerwa’ as commonly known in the villages. The support from the ministry of health was overwhelming; the link facility officers in charge gave the best of their support. April short rains and the loose soil formation especially in the Chiga community unit was a challenge to households. Some households had to share latrines after construction and collapsing of their own while others had to construct more than twice because of the loose sinking soils.
A number of households were on the verge of giving up due to the collapsing of the latrines however, the persistent ‘Nyamrerwas’ encouraged them to push on. During the verification phase in April, heavy rains had sunk 22 latrines, and everyone had considered giving up, but the call for improvement facilitated by behavior change kept everyone on toes to reconstruct the latrines.