Health and Water Foundation, Kenya

The aim of the foundation is to improve sanitation in Kenyan primary schools, particularly in the Nyamira District of the Nyanza Province. The initial program proposal for the foundation attribute much of the high levels of absenteeism to sanitation issues. These levels are a result of water and sanitation related diseases and lack of privacy on the part of girls. Drop out rate has reached as high as 23.5% per annum.

The criteria for schools selected by the project goes to level of need. The aim is not toilet construction but running hygiene promoting activities. This will ultimately improve knowledge and awareness as well as increasing school attendance.

About the country:

Kenya has one of the fastest growing economies in Sub-Saharan Africa. Whilst activity wavered during the 2008 recession, growth in the last 5 years has reached 5.7% and is expected to rise to 5.8% in 2019 (World Bank, 2019). This is due to agriculture recovery, improved business sentiment and decline of political uncertainty. Despite positive growth the country still experiences large inequalities. Kenya’s HDI 2017 is 0.590, however its IHDI is 0.434, a 26.4% loss due to unequal distribution across HDI indices.

Home to a population of 46 million, 41% of inhabitants still rely on unimproved water sources e.g. ponds, shallow wells, rivers (water.org, 2019). These difficulties are exacerbated in rural areas and urban slums. The governments move to provide free primary education saw a dramatic influx of students putting pressure on school sanitation systems.

Motivating Kenyan children to learn
Photo courtesy of HWF