Smile Latrine Project Baseline Survey: Rationale for Improving Sanitation Standards in Homa Bay County, Kenya
The purpose of this study is to present a rationale for improving sanitation standards in Kakang’utu West Community Unit, in Kabondo Kasipul Constituency, Homa Bay County. The recommendations presented follow research findings that assessed the quality of the latrine features as observed by the data collectors. Many of the latrines were not only a health hazard, but were dangerous structures that covered deep pits and put users in great risks. In our findings, we sampled reasons for non-adoption of latrines, and found economic and socio-cultural reasons were key. This study lays out methods of intervention and presents the picture on the ground in a small location representing a sample of the entire constituency and county. The lessons learnt are formulated into a strategy for a successful improved sanitation promotion programme. Current sanitation practices in Kakang’utu West do not favour the need for latrine for the purpose of proper containment of human waste since many defecate in the bushes. The manner in which many latrines are constructed shows they are not priority features of the homesteads. They are not hygienic and pose great risks for diseases. Many are oblivious to the common knowledge that owning a latrine is associated with health benefits, better hygiene standards, and sanitation interventions that reduce diseases. In this study, we have aligned ourselves to understand why latrines are lacking in the area, taking into account factors like socio-cultural practices, and poverty levels. Community involvement and technology will be key assets as appropriate measures.