Stories of Change

Everlyn stands near her newly constructed latrine.

More than a third of the world's population - an estimated 2.5 million people - don't have access to improved sanitation like latrines.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Leading by example in Kenya

Everlyn Kemei lives in the Kimnyan community in Baringo County, Kenya. The population in Kimnyan has increased rapidly recently because water is conveniently available here. A CWS-supported sand dam in the area means that community members no longer have to walk long distances for clean water. Not only that, but Everlyn has set up a posho mill near the sand dam that has enabled community members to mill their flour as they draw water. They no longer have to walk 5.5 miles to a market to get maize flour. 

After clean, safe water is available in a region, the next priority often becomes hygiene and sanitation. A big part of sanitation is ending the practice of open defecation – which leads to disease and thus lost wages and medical expenses – and instead promoting the use of sanitary latrines.  

Everlyn is on the water management committee in Kimnyan, and she was elected by the rest of her community to attend a CWS Training of Trainers workshop for community health providers. Everlyn and the rest of the trainers learned how to construct simple latrines using locally-available materials. As a community-elected trainer, it was Everlyn’s task to spread the information she had learned to her friends and neighbors so that they could replicate the same latrine construction. She started with her husband; she explained the importance of sanitation and hygiene and brought him on board with the idea of constructing a latrine at their house. With the help of their extended family, they built a pit latrine. 

Following her example and because of her efforts to engage her community, four of Everlyn’s neighbors have also constructed and are using pit latrines. Everlyn remains committed to working with more of her neighbors to spread the word on the importance of sanitation and hygiene. She believes that over time, the whole community will learn to construct their own pit latrines and will implement better hygiene practices.  

In Everlyn’s words, “I thank CWS for the training, which was my first time to be trained on hygiene and sanitation. With the water in place, I will soon establish a kitchen garden to plant vegetables for my family, while the surplus I intend to sell to customers at a nearby market.”