Water and Environmental Sanitation

Water & Sanitation Hygiene


Water & Sanitation Hygiene


The United Nations classifies Kenya as a chronically water scarce country on the basis of having one of the lowest natural water replenishment rates, at 647 metres cubed per capita per annum which is far below the 1,000 metres cubed per capita per annum. Estimates of water supply in the country indicate that only about 56 per cent of the population has access to safe water. Approximately 80 percent of hospital attendance in Kenya is due to preventable diseases and about 50 percent of these illnesses are water, sanitation and hygiene related. Coverage of adequate sanitation has dropped from 49 percent to 43 percent in recent years. 16 million (50 percent) Kenyans do not have adequate sanitation; more than 90 per cent of the water and sanitation related disease outbreaks occur in the rural areas; 50 per cent of rural households have no toilet facilities at all, and where they exist they are generally unhygienic; up to 50 per cent of the urban populations reside in slum environments where sanitation conditions are appalling; on average, schools have only one latrine per 100 pupils compared with the recommended maximum of 40 pupils per latrine; more than three-quarters of Kenya is still vulnerable to disasters, especially floods, droughts and cholera.


The Water and Environmental Sanitation Programme aims to improve access to WES services in selected deprived informal settlements, slums and the Arid and Semi Arid areas

This programme component contributes to the following UNDAF outcomes Outcome 1. Increase access to basic social services; Outcome 2.  Improve governance; Outcome 3: Mitigate the spread and impact of HIV/AIDS; Outcome 5: Reduction of Morbidity and mortality resulting from Malaria and Outcomes 6, 7 and 8: Enhance institutional and technical capacity for disaster management.

This programme has two key result areas: Increased utilization of safe drinking water, adequate sanitation and safe hygiene practices in households, schools and health facilities; and the adoption of the Hygiene and Sanitation policy including the implementation in selected districts of the Water Act, the Water Policy and the Hygiene and Sanitation Policy.  The geographical focus of the programme is in the vulnerable pastoral areas of North and North Eastern Kenya and the urban slums of Nairobi. Depending on the availability of additional funding, the geographic coverage of the WES programme will extend to the Lake Victoria region.     

Result area 1 focuses on the improvement of basic social services and advocacy around access to safe drinking water, basic sanitation and hygiene promotion, aimed at accelerating the achievement of MDG Goal 7 on water and sanitation. In particular, the programme addresses the following:

  • Low access and unreliable water supply in arid lands and informal settlements
  • Large number of people without adequate sanitation and skills in safe hygiene practices, resulting in high prevalence and frequent outbreaks of water and environmental sanitation related diseases
  • Water and sanitation services in schools, particularly in areas where girls’ participation in education is low
  • Water and sanitation services in health facilities to increase utilization of the facilities.
  • Strengthened co-ordination in the Water and Sanitation sector
  • Emergency preparedness and response to disasters.

Result area 2 focuses on policy dialogue, formulation and implementation issues through consistent engagement with Government and other partners, and monitoring the effects of these policies on the most vulnerable groups. In particular, the programme will engage partners on fast tracking the enactment of the National Sanitation and Hygiene Policy, dissemination and implementation of the Water Act 2002, the National Water Policy and the National Sanitation and Hygiene Policy in selected Arid and semi arid lands (ASAL) districts. Special focus will be put on building the capacity of the new sector reform institutions to improve governance in water services delivery and water resources management to promote sustainability and reliability of services and resources. Reduction of future vulnerabilities to natural disasters, such as droughts and floods through better resources use and management, will be encouraged.


The programme employs a mix of strategies, including supporting inter-sectoral approaches, providing catalytic and continuous support for scaling up sustainable WASH programmes; promoting safe and sustainable water supplies through improved water resources management; promoting sanitation, water quality and hygiene at the household level; emergency preparedness planning and co-ordination of emergency response.  The programme works within the Swap which was launched in October 2006.  All partner commitments in the Water Sector in Kenya are indicated in this SWAp.      



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