Anything familiar?


Believe it when the statistics show that up to 41% of Kenyans have no access to clean water or efficient water storage facilities.

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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.

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.

Places – where we live, school, travel, shop, work, take recreation – are more accessible and attractive when public toilets are well planned, designed, maintained, clearly signposted, and available when people need to use them. They are one of a range of amenities that help to attract a more diverse range of visitors, encouraging them to spend longer in the country, and to visit again. 

Being able to access a toilet is a fundamental need for any visitor therefore, a lot of clean toilets should be built so that information about the toilets can be distributed wildly, signposts regarding clean toilets should be on all roads – tourists choose their destinations carefully, drawing on their previous impressions, talking to friends and family, looking up feedback on the internet. 

Good public toilets are important therefore, we increase accessibility and quality of public toilets; and we ensure everyone is working together on this. That is why we publish about the toilets we provide and toilets in general.

We publicly review the causes of decline, set out a range of approaches that go beyond the traditional public toilets, and encourage partnerships between roads and local authorities, the private sector, and local people to devise solutions that are tailored to the needs of different people at different times of the day.

Our publicity accentuates the positive: there are some excellent examples of approaches to promoting public access to toilets, often involving the private sector, and engaging pro-actively with local communities to ensure that their needs and priorities are met.

Importantly, we hope to take taboo out of toilets, to stimulate discussion, to achieve better provision, and to promote a positive shift in attitudes and approaches to the whole issue of toilet provision and use.





Dear Sir,


This letter is open because promoting public access to toilets is not only about increasing provision, improving the quality and cleanliness of toilet facilities, signage and other information about what is available. It is also about sharing information – including intentions to provide, small details like signposting, and mapping of, local toilets – that help to shape an image for roads, towns and cities that makes a lasting and positive impression on local people and visitors. This is important for local people and visitors alike.

Please allow us to, at our cost, add and maintain SANI SOLAR toilets along your good roads for free usage by road users. The toilets, related signages and access will form part of existing road furniture (like drainage systems, bus stops etc). Note that the toilets don’t use water, they use solar heat instead. The toilets will manufacture fertiliser for locals.

We ask to do this because you may not be planning to do this instantly, yet Kenya Ministry of Health and road users expect road services to include toilet facilities that are accessible, clean and safe.

Last week, director of public health in Kenya Ministry of Health, Kepha Ombacho, said ‘..all banks, supermarkets, parks, bus stations and other public places must have clean water and sanitation systems…In Nakuru and Narok, a bus driver can’t stop on the way and let passengers go and defecate in the open. They will be arrested and fined. This is what should be happening in all the counties’.

While proposing that buses should have in-built toilets, many members of public have welcomed this directive.

The truth is that very few of us can afford fares for buses with inbuilt toilets and we cannot stop call of nature so the busses must stop where we (with your support) will provide toilet facilities.

Thanks for your time and consideration.



(no signature because this letter is an email transmission)