Women Group offering decent toilets in Kibera informal settlements
More than three billion people globally do not have access to proper toilets. In Kibera informal settlements in Nairobi, thousands of residents lack or cannot afford toilets in their neighbourhoods. As the world marks World Toilet Day today, our reporter, Rael Akinyi, brings us a story of hope; the story of a women’s group that is changing this narrative.
Poverty, poor sanitation, pollution and poor quality of life have characterised the living conditions of many informal settlements. In Kibera informal settlements, flying toilets are still rampant despite the government ban on single use plastic bags.
While this is the picture in many parts of the largest slum in Kenya, a group of women have come up with a decent and affordable toilet solutions to locals.
Located in Kibera’s Bombolulu area, the facility houses bathrooms and toilets, allowing residents to take hot showers and use the toilet facility at a cost of Sh10.
Getrude Kwamboka is a resident and the attendant at the facility that was started in 2012. ““We formed a small group of women within our area and started a merry-go-round to help us invest our finances. We would contribute Sh100 each,” says Getrude.
The group would then expand beyond savings to do something more meaningful not only for themselves but for their community. “We bought the land where the facility is situated and through support from some donors, we constructed the toilets,” she adds.
Sustaining the venture
“ The vision grew and we had to restrategise and make adjustments to keep the group afloat. So we decided to increase the group members contribution to Sh500 each which we intended to use for the running of the facility.” This, however, saw the exit of most of the members. “Out of the 35 members, only 10 remained.”
The facility has helped a lot of people within the area. ”The act has also helped in promoting proper sanitation and elimination of flying toilets. The surrounding is now clean because the waste is properly disposed off and locals can access the toilet at a cost of Sh10.
According to Getrude, the team earns between Sh20,000 and Sh25,000 in revenue per month from the use of the facility. The amount earned is used to purchase things like toilet paper while the rest is kept at the bank until December when it is divided among the group members.