Kericho, Kenya, 3 September 2014: UN-Habitat has conducted a three-day regional workshop in Kericho focused on best practices in faecal sludge management in Africa, including case studies of Dakar, Accra and Kampala. The workshop was attended by 50 senior management and technical personnel drawn from the five East African Countries who are beneficiaries of the Lake Victoria Water supply and sanitation phase II programme; Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi, Uganda and Kenya.

With most households in sub-Saharan Africa dependent on non-sewered sanitation, the effective management of faecal sludge is essential for healthy, sustainable cities and small towns. In the Lake Victoria Basin, where sewerage systems can only be found in a few towns, untreated faecal sludge, from pit latrines and septic tanks, is a major cause of public health problems and environmental pollution. Much of the faecal sludge being generated ends up polluting Lake Victoria.

To address this growing problem, UN-Habitat, under the Lake Victoria Water and Sanitation Programme, is working with the Lake Victoria Basin Commission to build the capacity of 15 towns within Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi, Uganda and Tanzania to improve faecal sludge management.

Participants at the workshop were exposed to best practices in faecal sludge management through a field visit and assessment of waste water management in Kericho town as a means of highlighting the lessons from addressing faecal sludge management in small towns. Alternative Business Models and management approaches to faecal sludge management were also examined and each participating town developed a draft business plan to implement a faecal sludge management system in their respective towns.

A discussion took place on sanitation and gender issues, and participants shared experiences on the importance of involving both women and men in the different stages of sludge management. Participants were also assisted in preparing action plans to implement improved faecal sludge management practices in their towns. These systems will be in place by the end of 2015.

The workshop was officially opened by Paul Chepkwony, Governor for Kericho County in Kenya. In his remarks, he expressed the need for countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to change their perception towards human waste by seeing the potential for waste to be converted to raw material for agricultural production and energy generation.

Robert Goodwin, UN-Habitat representative, added that strong institutional arrangement, good marketing strategies, value addition and stakeholder and community involvement are the key ingredients for a successful faecal sludge management system. 

Lake Victoria Water supply and sanitation phase II programme targets 15 secondary towns in the five East African Countries and covers the following investments in water supply, environmental sanitation, urban drainage and capacity building aimed at achieving the millennium development goals  for water and sanitation and contributing to the reversal of pollution of Lake Victoria.

The second phase is being funded by a grant from the African Development Bank of approximately US$110 million. A portion of the grant has been allocated for training and capacity building activities to be implemented by UN-Habitat.