Articles

CALL OF NATURE IN NAIROBI SLUMS? WOE UNTO YOU…

BY CAROLINE BOYANI

Among the basic human amenities is access to clean water and restrooms. Despite that, they are a luxury to most communities residing in informal settlements. From Mathare to Kibera, Mukuru to Viwandani, the residents seemingly have grown immune to their own suffering.

Linda, a resident of Viwandani ward which comprises of Mukuru slums narrates how over the years the state of her village has worsened.” In 2010 when I moved to my current village, there were seven community toilets and a few pay- per- service toilets that served up to 50 households but today there is only one community toilet remaining.” she narrates.

The one toilet that was meant to serve less than twenty households is serving more, which makes it hard to keep its environment clean. If ignored this situation can contribute disease breakout. The stench makes it worse and undesirable to conduct one’s business.

Other toilets were demolished after the party responsible for their cleaning failed on his job. ” There used to be a man that was employed to clean the toilets regularly but over time he stopped showing up to work” Linda explains. ” We tried asking the village elders (Nyumba kumi) but there was no coherent response and so people finally gave up and decided to survive with the remaining toilet” she adds.

Despite the availability of pay- per-service toilets the harsh economic conditions make it hard for a household to set aside a budget just for restrooms. ” There are toilets that you can pay Ksh 200 per month but with the current economic condition even getting that money is a hustle.” Linda elaborates.

This is partly a responsibility of the residents and leaders such as village heads and village admin to ensure the amenities in the community are in good condition and enough to serve all the residents. These are some of the issues that communities need to raise in barazas and ensure the leaders elected and nominated deliver and serve them appropriately.

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