Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
Improving children’s access to water, sanitation and hygiene
Significantly more Kenyans have access to safe drinking water (59 per cent) than to basic sanitation (29 per cent). Since 2000, access to safe drinking water has increased by 12 per cent, while access to basic sanitation has fallen by five per cent. In Kenya, 9.9 million people drink directly from contaminated surface water sources and an estimated five million people practice open defecation. Only 25 per cent have hand-washing facilities with soap and water at home.
Safe drinking water, basic sanitation and good hygiene practices are essential for the survival of children. Global evidence shows that better water, sanitation, and hygiene could prevent the deaths of 297,000 children aged under five each year globally. Achieving universal access to drinking water and sanitation by 2030 will be challenging given current levels of investment, projected population growth and climate change.
UNICEF Kenya works closely with the Government, donors and civil society to help increase children and families’ access to safe water and basic sanitation, especially in the arid and semi-arid land (ASAL) counties, where this is lowest. We innovate to find new ways to provide water in the face of increasing droughts caused by climate change.
With support from UNICEF, over 1,700 villages were certified as open defecation free in 2020. We contributed to achieving improved access to safe drinking water for more than 105,000 people, while supporting almost 360,000 people to access safe drinking water in 12 flood-affected counties. We provided 106 primary schools with gender and disability sensitive water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in 2020, partly in response to COVID-19.
UNICEF also supported community initiatives on menstrual hygiene management (MHM), benefiting over 15,000 adolescent girls who were out of school due to COVID-19 in 2020. The girls received sanitary pads which can be reused for over one year. We also trained implementing partners to provide education and information on MHM to girls and women.
UNICEF has distributed hygiene and COVID-prevention items, including soap, hand-sanitizer, hand-washing stations, disinfectant and personal protection equipment for use in schools, health facilities, and public spaces. We are training frontline personnel and disseminating public health messages, including in health facilities, markets and other public spaces.
WASH in numbers
59% of people in Kenya have access to safe drinking water.
29% of people in Kenya have access to improved sanitation facilities.
In 2020, UNICEF certified 1,765 villages as open defecation free.
We also provided WASH facilities for over 600 schools in 2020, to help with reopening.