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Nairobi, 2 Feb 10

Pupils at Maranda Primary School in Nyanza Province washing their hands at one of the hand-washing facilities constructed by Sustainable Aid in Africa, a UN-HABITAT implementing partner.

A partnership between UN-HABITAT and the Government of Italy will provide clean water and better sanitation facilities to over 15,000 pupils in Kenya through the construction of rainwater harvesting tanks and latrines.

The US $ 300 000 project, being implemented by Kenyan NGO Sustainable Aid in Africa (SANA), will also support the creation of School Health Clubs to promote best hygiene practices in the selected schools and host communities, with emphasis on hand washing with soap after using the latrines.

Multi-stakeholder forums in the project towns established under the Lake Victoria Water and Sanitation Initiative have identified beneficiary schools based on criteria aimed at ensuring that thirty of the most deserving primary schools in the municipalities of Kisii, Homa Bay and Bondo are targeted by the project. This will improve the health status and learning environment for the highest possible number of pupils.

Launching the project at Bar Muofu Primary School in Bondo District, District Commissioner Mr. Salim Hohamud, noted that poor sanitation and the lack of clean water are major contributors to the decline in performance of many primary schools in the district and urged parents to get fully involved in the implementation of the project. “You must take full ownership of the project, and where necessary, contribute labour and locally available materials. That is the only way to ensure long-term sustainability of the project,” he said.

Thanking the Italian Government and UN-HABITAT for selecting Bondo Municipality as a project town, the District Commissioner underscored the commitment of the provincial administration to provide all the administrative support and coordination between all relevant ministries to ensure successful implementation of the project. The provincial administration will also provide assistance in the monitoring and evaluation of the project at local level.

Noting that a better urban future is achievable by focusing on projects that improve the quality of life for children and the youth, Mr. Laban Onong’no the Chief Technical Adviser for the Lake Victoria Water and Sanitation Initiative said the schools sanitation project was one of several projects being implemented by UN-HABITAT under the initiative. Other on-going projects for Bondo include rehabilitation and expansion of the water supply network for the town, a solid waste management project, training and capacity building for local artisans, support in urban planning, and the development of a comprehensive environmental sanitation and conservation strategy.

Emphasising the need to complete project implementation within the time frame agreed on with the Italian government, Mr. Onong’no expressed his confidence in the ability of the implementing partner Sustainable Aid in Africa to deliver. The NGO has implemented a number of school based Water Sanitation and Hygiene Education projects with support from different donors in a number of districts in Nyanza Province.

Since inception 10 years ago, it has mobilized over Kshs. 155 Million to support school based water, sanitation and hygiene education in Nyanza Region, benefiting over 58,000 pupils, and facilitated the establishment and training of 196 School Health Clubs in Nyanza Region. The organization is also implementing a project to provide microcredit for sanitation in the three municipalities through the support of UN-HABITAT that targets female-headed low-income households.

Promotion of proper use and maintenance of the installed facilities will be emphasized using loud hygiene messages placed strategically within the school compounds. Fliers, the use of talking walls, and social marketing techniques and sanitation campaigns by Village Resource Persons and School Health Clubs will be used to promote sanitation in the communities around the schools. Area based sanitation working group will be introduced to scale up sanitation coverage in the target communities.

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