Adoption and use of self-sanitizing biodegradable toilet bags in Kibera slums, Nairobi County, Kenya
Nderitu, Faith Wanjiku
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The problem of how to dispose human waste has remained a global challenge in a world that is increasingly bound by constraints of resources population growth, rapid urbanization and corresponding levels of poverty and disease, the pressure for appropriate and sustainable solutions is mounting. Despite continued efforts to promote sanitation, a significant number of the world‟s population is still without basic sanitation. Kibera slums suffer from lack of improved sanitation facilities, including toilet, showers and sewage disposal. With few toilets and pit latrines, this has resulted in growth of “flying toilets” due to inaccessibility of toilet facilities during late hours owing to lack of even distribution and lack of convenience unresolved to insecurity. The purpose of this study was to investigate the adoption and use of self- sanitizing biodegradable toilet bags in Kibera slums, Nairobi County. Specific objectives focused on: community perception on adoption; level of awareness of the use and socio-economic and environment impact of adopting single use self-sanitizing biodegradable toilet bags. The findings may provide information to national policy makers, civil society and research organization in making informed decisions on relevant interventions on sanitation to communities living in informal settlements. The study adopted a descriptive research design using survey criteria. The study focused on the descriptions, which had a capacity to gather more information. The study was carried out in Kibera Slums, Nairobi County in two villages Silanga and Laini Saba. The study employed a number of sampling techniques including simple random and purposive sampling targeting key informants. The target population comprised 7363 and 8182 community residents‟ in both Silanga and Laini Saba respectively. Determination of the sample size was done using Fischer et al., (1998) formula. A sample of 376 was considered appropriate for the study as supported by Cresswell (2005). Data was collected by use of questionnaires, observation list and focus group discussions. The data collected in this study was entered, edited and analyzed by use of descriptive statistics. The study found that people are not entirely comfortable being seen handling the bags. Educating the community, advertising the toilet bags more aggressively, door to door campaigns among other strategies can help inform more people and encourage others to begin using the bags. The study revealed that users had to contend with poor hygiene, insecurity especially at night for women and girls, overcrowding in public toilets, inaccessibility of toilets, the high cost of using toilets and difficulty disposing human waste. The study concluded that toilet bags indeed have a positive socioeconomic and environmental impact on the community; evidenced by new sustainable ways to handle waste. The study identified gaps in community level of awareness of the use of single use self-sanitizing biodegradable toilet bags. The study recommended the Peepoo management in partnership with the government and other NGOs to enhance continuous community hygiene education awareness programs along with physical access to water supply and sanitation to positively influence change in hygiene behaviour and decrease the prevalence of risks associated with poor hygiene conditions. The study recommended an investigation on gender and sanitation programs in order to evaluate integrating gender into community sanitation programs and the perception challenges.