Total sanitation in Kisumu

The problem

Kisumu is Kenya's third largest city. Most of its residents are tenants living in informal settlements without access to clean water and using inadequate toilets shared by up to seven families. Water borne diseases such as dysentry and typhoid are common and open defecation is widespread. Kisumu’s high water table and frequent flooding create additional health hazards when flood water contaminated with waste flows through the street when it rains.

This project will promote water and sanitation improvements in two of Kisumu’s slums, Nyalenda and Obunga to reduce the spread of water borne diseases. Using the Community Led Total Sanitation approach, community members will be empowered to work with local government  to take responsibility for providing and maintaining these services.  

What we’re doing to help

Objective: Improving water and sanitation services to reduce the incidence of water borne diseases 


Location: Nyalenda A, Nyalenda B and Obunga in Kisumu City, Kisumu County, Western Kenya.
Number of beneficiaries: 95,000 people living in these informal settlements
Project date: February 2016 - January 2022
Partners:  Umande Trust, Kisumu Urban Apostolate Programme (KUAP) 
Principal funders: Comic Relief
Funding: £998,861

We are improving access to clean water, hand washing facilities by facilitating community led design and management of these services through the following activities:

  • Improving relationships with local authorities will help residents of these informal settlements play a role in decision-making on environmental sanitation strategies and ensure that these are included in county integrated development plans.
  • 120 community volunteer will champion the CLTS process in 15 areas under the supervision public health officers
  • Handwashing promotion in 24 schools will reach at least 25,000 children through school clubs and global awareness days
  • 10,000 girls in and out of school and 5,000 young mothers and care givers will be targeted for advice and support on menstrual hygiene management
  • Promoting innovation to lower the cost of sanitation technologies, the availability of low-cost credit and investment incentives for landlords will lead to improved coverage of sanitation and clean water, with a target of 2,500 new clean water points and 3,750 improved toilets
  • Technical training & business coaching will be given to at least 100 artisans and at least 20 pit-emptiers. This will enable them to respond to the increased demand for latrine construction and servicing. Increasing awareness of their critical role in the city will help them to gain increased recognition by the authorities and lead to an increase in income
  • Key to the project's success is the training programme for artisans who can provide these facilties and the pit emptiers who will remove the waste and dispose of it safely.   Good hygiene promotion in schools is an important feature of the work and women and girls will also be offered information and support on menstrual hygiene.

Look how far your money can go

“We teach people how to wash their hands properly before and after eating to avoid communicable diseases.  I'm passionate about sanitation. I was born and grew up here and want to change it. That is why I volunteer.  We must do something to help.” – Maurice Ongawo, Community Health Champion, Kisumu, Kenya



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Evelyn has lived in Nyalenda B all her life. She is 26 years old and has five children. Her first husband and father of the two oldest children left her to marry someone else, but the father of her other children gives her some support. Evelyn lives with her mother and children and most of...

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