SafiSan is an UBSUP project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Embu was chosen as the location for a pilot study, together with Nakuru and Oloolaiser water service providers. The basic objectives of UBSUP are four-fold:

  1. To provide sustainable sanitation for over 400,000 people and safe water for 200,000 in the urban low-income areas in Kenya,
  2. To develop and put in place a monitoring system for tracking access to safe water and basic sanitation facilities for urban low-income area dwellers, and accessible to the public (i.e. an online database),
  3. To build capacity so as to enable sector institutions, civil society organisations and small-scale private entrepreneurs to actively participate in the provision of basic sanitation to the urban low-income areas, and promote cooperation with research institutes that results in improved sanitation options,
  4. To develop a sanitation up-scaling concept in line with the sector reforms that ensures sustainable use of facilities and leads to the further development of the sub-sector.


Implementation principles

The financing of sanitation facilities at both the household and plot level will entirely be influenced by demand for the sanitation facilities from the beneficiaries. The household / landlord has to cover more than 50% of the cost of investment, emptying of sanitation facilities and depositing of sludge. Best practices and lessons learnt shall be jointly publicised under WSTF, the Ministry (MWI) and other sector operators, including the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation. The project subscribes to the principle of the full value chain for sanitation (sustainable sanitation services approach). The project is not therefore exclusively concentrated on construction of sanitation facilities but also extends to improving the emptying, dumping services and treatment of sludge. Sanitation, including sludge management, will be treated as a business (opportunity) and the necessary procedures and incentives aimed at structuring and streamlining the value chain developed.


Overview of the Embu pilot

EWASCO was given the challenging task of constructing a target 200 toilets within a span of six months. They comfortably took the lead and achieved the 200 toilet mark (first among their peers). The pilot project was funded to a tune of KES 11,668,419 for the first phase. SafiSan toilets came threefold: 1) UDDT – Urine diversion dry toilet, 2) Pour flush toilets, 3) Cistern flush toilets.

The project is about ‘improving and giving sanitation dignity’. In Embu, the pilot area Dallas, identified using, among others, MajiData, is an estate housing the majority urban poor. Embu Water, being the mandated water and sanitation services provider in the area, was chosen to implement the project.

EWASCO used the community approach. It involved creating demand, overseeing and maintaining quality standards during construction, and feedback evaluation from the beneficiaries. The project began with internal training for the project team, involvement of the Public Health Officer, community leaders and the Area Chief. Toilets were marketed door to door using social marketers, pamphlets, open day clinics, barazas and a major road show.


Pilot implementation

  1. A beneficiary is identified, a toilet constructed by the beneficiary and a subsidy of KES 20,000 given for every toilet built under supervision of the project. A total of KES 7.6 million has been paid as subsidy.
  2. Each toilet built benefits at least 10 people.
  3. The first phase of 200 toilets has translated to 2,000 people benefiting from better sanitation and sanitation facilities.
  4. A Decentralized Treatment Facility (DTF) costing KES 3 million is to be constructed. A DTF has a drying bed, a bio-digester, a baffle reactor and a soak pit to cater for the target area, although it will also expand to other areas.
  5. The community around the Decentralized Treatment Facility will also benefit from the biogas that will be harvested.
  6. An incinerator will also be set up to cater for, including but not limited to, sanitary towels and baby diapers.
  7. Manual collectors will be trained to provide emptying services in the project areas.

Being a pilot project, various stakeholders have benefited. The experiences that the EWASCO Project Team, WSTF and GIZ representative gained have been used to draft and modify the manual to be used for the roll out of the project in the whole country. EWASCO can proudly say the challenge has been surmounted as they are already moving into the second phase to carry out the pilot project in the whole country.

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