Man who rewrote Narok’s sanitation story
By Lilian Kaivilu
The beautiful scenery and chilly weather welcomes you to the small village of Botoret A located in Narok South subcounty in Narok County. The village comprises of 95 homesteads.
Located in the hilly Sagamian ward, Borotet A experiences often showers f rain. Although this benefits the farmers in the area, it has in several occasions posed a threat to the sanitation of the village, putting the 492 residents at the risk of waterborne diseases.
But a project by the Kenya Sanitation and Hygiene Improvement Programme has led to tremendous improvement in the sanitation and overall hygiene of Botoret A village and the entire Narok County.
According to Monica Cherono, a resident of Borotet A, the village recorded numerous cases of waterborne diseases until early 2016 when it was declared open defecation free (ODF).
In order to achieve this status, one man, John Kipkemoi Yegon is committed to ensure that every homestead not only has a toilet but also has a hand washing facility. So far, Yegon has made a handwashing facility for every homestead in the village and seven facilities in the Botoret primary school.
Then father of six was among the first people to own a toilet in his village in 1999. He says his passion for hygiene and the huge cost of treating water borne diseases triggered him to advocate for handwashing in Botoret.
Although he is yet to register this innovation, Yegon has so far made over95 of these. “I make it for free. My interest is not the money coming from this but rather to see that this area maintains high standards of hygiene and that pupils do not miss school because of water-borne diseases,” says Yegon.
With six nails, a jerrycan, three ropes and two small containers (one for liquid soap and one for bar soap) and a piece of wood, it takes Yegon about 20 minutes to set up the hand-washing facility. “I only ask the home owners to provide the raw materials then I offer my services for free,” he explains.
In order to empower more villagers, Yegon has so far trained five men in Botoret A to make this innovation. “I am now confident that even if I am away, these men will continue with this work. With time, however, I plan to improve this innovation and start charging some money for installing it,” says Yegon.
Daniel Sironka, Narok County public health officer says that the county loses Sh864 million every year due to poor sanitation. In order to correct this, Sironka emphasised on the need to operationlise the Narok County Sanitation Bill. The bill is currently at the First Reading stage.
Joseph Ruto, resident of Botoret A is a beneficiary of this innovation. “I am happy for this innovation. I was among the first people to have it installed in my homestead in April this year. Since then, the health of my family has improved tremendously. My children no longer suffer water-borne diseases as they used to previously,” says the 55-year-old father of five.
According to a survey by Amref Health Africa, Narok South sub county has a 29% latrine coverage. 32 villages in the county have been declared Open Defecation Free. The county needs Sh133.2m to attain an Open defecation free status.