Usain Gishu County located in the former Rift Valley Province, has faced the brunt of Kenya’s Post Election Violence. International Organization for Migration (IOM) has had a presence in this county since 2008, whereby peace building, psychosocial, shelter projects have successfully been conducted. Jasho community is rather cosmopolitan, comprised of various ethnic groups whom have learnt to co-exist with the help of IOM.
Jasho Primary School located within this county is contracted in the field that were previously used to host Internally Displaced People (IDPs). It hosts up to 430 students from mostly poor backgrounds. The water table in this area is very high and existing pit latrines have led to contamination of underground water. This water is used for household consumption by neighbours who have boreholes in their homesteads. Due to this, there is a high likelihood that the contaminated water sips into these boreholes spreading the risk of water borne diseases.
IOM with the support of the Government of Japan has recently implemented ECOSAN latrine project at the primary school to counter this threat. ECOSAN is the technical name for urine diversion dry toilet known as ECOSAN, a toilet combined with treatment and a serious option for reuse.
Before the ECOSAN latrines were handed over by IOM to the primary school, training was conducted. 20 community members including community focal persons, management committee members and student representatives participated in one-day ToTs’ (Trainer of Trainers) training on the 29 September. The training was aimed at empowering the community on proper use of the latrines, management and application of products/ fertilizers.
The training covered various topics such as introduction to ECOSAN technology, technical aspects of the technology. As well as linkages of the project to economic growth and livelihoods, advantages of ECOSAN technology compared to traditional pit latrines. Case studies were similarly presented to outline the successful ECOSAN projects from other parts of the country. Furthermore, demonstrations on the usage of the latrines were conducted to ensure the correct use of it. It is hoped that participants will pass the same knowledge to other community members and they will also act as marketing agents for farming products of the project.
Once the training was completed, the ECOSAN latrines were handed over by IOM to the School Board of Management on 30 September in the presence of the Area Chief, village elders and representatives from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture and the community members. During the handover ceremony, a representative from the public health department stated that the project will assist in curbing water borne diseases brought about by contamination of underground water due to presence of pit latrines being dug near boreholes; especially in areas where the families are small scale farmers.
Jasho community is largely comprised of small scale farmers who have been hard pressed in purchase of fertilizers. The project eases this burden on them, by providing available and cheap manure from ECOSAN for their small farms, in return increasing productivity, ensuring proper waste management and also promoting hygiene and organic farming.
The community members are keen to try out organic farming using products from the ECOSAN latrines, and to serve as an example to other neighbouring villages that are still sceptical about this technology.