REPORT BY ANITA LUKORITO
Kyuasini Primary Boarding School is officially opened today. This initiative is as a result of joint efforts between several associations including Action Aid and Raha Solutions. The boarding school is now expected to admit more than 200 boys and girls according to the headteacher Mr Kennedy Kitilu.
Spearheading the launch; Raha supplied water and they will continue refilling with water the water tanks in the school. They will also build Sani Solar toilets and distribute reusable safepad to the girls.
“We appeal to Safaricom PLC to support in-kind. Branding our water tanks with their good name will enable us and many others who are like us to get water, toilets and safepad from RaHa. We are admitting 200 students but we expect more by end of this year”, Mr Kitilu said. The headteacher hopes for further expansion as the community has responded positively to the idea.
As compared to the past, education is now seen as a vital tool among the people. Kyuasini, located in Makueni county, has had poor attendance of students. The surrounding community was so immersed in cultural practices that devalued education.
However, with the determination of the school head and several associations, the boarding school has changed the negative concept. Girls were the overly affected gender with the number of early pregnancies and sexual assault cases on the rise.
“The local community is responding so well to this idea in contrast to what was there before. Parents have now opted to taking their girls to school instead of early marriages. The negative traditions are slowly fading away. “, Mr Kitulu added.
The school will need more amenities as more students get admitted. Items like mattresses and beds will be needed to help accommodate more students.
According to the headteacher, students are to be admitted every week and the facilities may not be substantial enough to meet up the demand. Regarding this, the appeal for any assistance to help continues, the course will be of importance.
As much as girls will benefit most from the boarding facility, boys will also be at a better fit. Being a part of the program will not only impact on the school but also on the wider community.
We are happy to inform you that Kenya Urban Roads Authority responded positively, regarding building toilets on roads in Kericho County (see self explanatory twitter conversation above).
You are like-d by the village around Makindu Primary School. They want you to mark their rainwater harvesting tank as illustrated above, for free, see more details here. When you agree, they get water which they currently have little of. When you agree, you will also enable many more similar schools and villages to get water and toilets.
Public toilets that are poorly located generate a sense of neglect, attracting vandalism, anti-social behaviour and social disorder. And lack of available and appropriate facilities at the right time encourages fouling, and treating diseases associated with open defecation such as typhoid, dysentery or cholera is a significant and costly task.
These issues, if not tackled effectively, can generate a cycle of decline, leading to more entrenched social problems, and seriously impairing quality of place and quality of life for local people.
Others have seen this reality before. HIGHWAY ACT 1980 Part VII Provision of Special Facilities for Highways states that “…112 Provision of picnic sites and public conveniences for users of trunk roads (1) The Minister may provide on land adjoining, or in the vicinity of, a trunk road that is not a special road a picnic site for motorists and others likely to use the road with space for parking vehicles and a means of access to and from a highway. An area of any such land as aforesaid in which there are, or are to be, provided such a picnic site, parking space and means of access as aforesaid is in this Act referred to as a “trunk road picnic area “.
“(2) The Minister may erect buildings and execute works on a trunk road picnic area for the purpose of providing all or any of the following:— (a) parking places for vehicles, (b) a means of access to or from the area from or to a highway, (c) public sanitary conveniences (including lavatories), and…”
“…(5) The Minister may provide public sanitary conveniences (including lavatories) in proper and convenient situations on or under land forming part of a trunk road that is not a special road, or adjoining, or in the vicinity of, such a road and may manage such conveniences…”
The extent to which people have easy access to good quality toilets affects their general health and well being – and that of the whole community. Enabling different people, with different needs, to make use of public toilets at different times can have a significant impact on issues like public health and exercise, public behaviour, use of public transport.
A lack of clean, accessible and safe toilets impacts on some people more than others. Some people may feel unable or reluctant to leave their homes and visit areas where they fear they will not be able to find a public toilet. Older people, mothers, fathers, and carers with young children, disabled people and people with chronic health problems – all need easy access to suitably equipped public toilet facilities.
We are thrilled to announce that we have today submitted to Billion Dollar Business Alliance (BDBA) our offer to build filters next to water ponds that BDBA are currently building in Kenya.
Our offer is based on fact that cleaning of water is not part of activities BDBA is doing. They are harvesting rainwater for agriculture and, apparently, they assumed that farmers would not use the water for domestic purposes. Our contribution to the BDBA project will enable beneficiaries of the ponds to use the water for drinking as well – for a large number of the beneficiaries, this will be their only water source.
We have also offered to build toilets in toilet-less homes and along roads that are within areas that drain water to the ponds. This will reduce pollution of water that will end up in the ponds. The SANI SOLAR toilets sun dry faeces and urine to form fertiliser that the farmers will need.
We sent our offer through BDBA’s Maimbo M. Malesu of World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF). ICRAF, WFP and Government of Kenya are members of the BDBA.
“Kenya Roads Board acknowledges that the task (RaHa has) been assigned is a nobble one and important”
KBR EXECUTIVE DIRECOR
Eng. Jacob Z. Ruwa, OGW
The assignment referred to is installing SANI SOLAR toilets on roads, to be used free of charge, in line with recent directive by the Kenya Ministry of Health aiming to improve public access to better quality toilets.
Businesses respond to motivations. Businesses operate as part of communities and hold as much of a stake in supporting local community amenities and promoting civic pride as the locals themselves.
Family businesses and independents, for instance, may have connections with their local area going back generations. SANI SOLAR public toilets will make such businesses to remain connected with their local area.
Transport operators – like any commercial business – will only make the most of their commercial opportunities if there are public toilets that their passengers demand, many times quietly.
International and national chains, on the other hand, often have a strong social or community support ethos as part of their corporate policy. Opportunities to provide free services and, sometimes, funding for local community initiatives motivates them – and public toilets provide the opportunity.
Businesses operate to turn profit, and customer footfall is the lifeblood of retail and leisure sectors. Yet however alluring the window display, however good the sales pitch, people need first to feel drawn into the area. People respond to, and recognise, areas that show a strong brand image, a sense of civic pride, where it is obvious from the road furniture, local environment, and signage that people are welcomed, that their needs are understood and catered for.
In other words, sense of destination – the extent to which a destination has met a visitor’s needs and made a strong and positive impression – is vital to secure repeat trade and sustainable economic development.
Public toilets as part of road furniture is therefore, important for local shops and businesses too.