Afya Uzazi marked this year’s World Toilet Day on November 19th with a ceremony to celebrate 59 villages that are now defecation-free in Kuresoi North, Nakuru County.
The 59 villages were declared open defecation-free zones following a community-led total sanitation (CLTS) intervention implemented jointly by the project with Nakuru County Department of Health. The Chief Guest at the event, Nakuru County Director of Health for Administration and Planning Dr Benedict Osore commended Afya Uzazi for the support to the county through the CLTS and other interventions to improve community health.
During the ceremony, the community came together to celebrate the progress made since they first held meetings to trigger the CLTS process, which involves collectively identifying open defection as a common problem and planning on actions to eradicate the practice. In CLTS, households are encouraged to build and use latrines, and adopt other hygiene practices such as hand washing with soap and safe disposal of domestic waste.
Afya Uzazi worked closely with the county department of health to organize recognition activities for villages that have now been certified ODF but have been unable to hold celebration activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation.
Dr Osore said Nakuru County has not reported cholera cases this year, a record that is partly due to improved sanitation in the community.
During the ceremony to recognize the 59 villages at Kiptororo, Dr Osore presented tokens of appreciation and certificates to the public health officer, natural leaders (sanitation champions) and community health volunteers who led the process. Each of the villages received a signboard to be erected as a permanent reminder to the community to maintain their ODF status.
Mr. Samuel Langat, a natural leader, said the CLTS intervention had greatly improved sanitation in the community. "Kiptororo village has changed as compared to before. It is now 99% open defecation free. This was achieved through the educating the community on importance of toilets and hygiene.”
Afya Uzazi works with in partnership with the county departments of health to improve access to basic sanitation for the people of Baringo and Nakuru counties, directly benefiting 22,768 people.
A total of 112 villages were also declared ODF over the past one year.
Story and photos by Niva Kimtai.