Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

Improving water, sanitation and hygiene in Kenya

A boy drinking water from a tap.


The WASH joint monitoring programme report (2019) by The World Health Organization and UNICEF found that only 59% of Kenyans have access to basic water services and only 29% have access to sanitary services.

Clean water, basic toilets and good hygiene practices are essential for the survival of children. Water and sanitation-related diseases are one of the leading causes of death for children under five years of age.

Achieving universal access to drinking water and sanitation by 2030 will be challenging given current levels of investment, projected population growth and climate variability.

Girls and women carrying water jerrycans on their heads.

Kenya has the third-largest number of people in sub-Saharan Africa who drink directly from contaminated surface water sources - 9.4 million people.

A group of women washing their hands.

An estimated 5 million Kenyans (10 per cent) practice open defecation, while only 14 per cent have hand-washing facilities with soap and water at home. 

A school latrine.

Access to water, sanitation and hygiene is a problem in many schools, with the number of latrines insufficient given the population of pupils.


Kenya, under Sustainable Development Goal 6, has committed itself to achieve by 2030 universal and equitable access to safe and affordable water for all; access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and an end to open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations.

In 2014, the Ministry of Education reported a ratio of 34 boys per toilet and 29 girls per toilet in schools which is below the national norms of 30:1 and 25:1 respectively.

UNICEF Kenya Country Programme 2018 – 2022 will work to increase the proportion of households, schools and health centers with access to safe water, improved sanitation facilities and adequate hygiene practices.

UNICEF in Action, 2014 - 2018


UNICEF supported over 6,700 communities to achieve and be certified Open Defecation Free (ODF).


An estimated 558,300 children accessed appropriate WASH facilities and hygiene education in schools, temporary learning spaces and child-friendly spaces in humanitarian situations.

Water facilities

WASH facilities have been installed in over 1,000 schools benefiting over 546,900 children.

Social inclusion

UNICEF provided technical support to the National Treasury in reviewing the public expenditure practices in the water and sanitation sector.


Situation Analysis of Children and Women in Kenya, 2017

2014 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey