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Kenya Sanitation Conference 2019 Communique


We, the stakeholders of the sanitation and hygiene sector in Kenya made up of political decision makers and sanitation sector institutions, academics, civil society, development partners and the private sector at the Kenya Sanitation Conference organized by the Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Irrigation at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre 28 – 31 October 2019:

Building upon the Sharm el Sheik declaration of African Heads of State on accelerating the achievement of water and sanitation goals in Africa (Assembly/AU/Decl.1(XI));

Recognizing that some key institutional reforms have been made in the sanitation and hygiene subsector in Kenya by the creation of the Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Irrigation;

Further Recognizing the devolution of sanitation and hygiene service delivery to the County Governments;

Recalling the AfricaSan Ngor declaration with a vision to, “Achieve universal access to adequate and sustainable sanitation and hygiene services and eliminate open defecation by 2030”;

Further recalling the AfricaSan 2019 Camissa multi-stakeholder statement on achieving safely managed sanitation and hygiene for all;

Cognisant of the SDGs 6.2 which aims to by 2030, achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all, and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations;

Recognizing the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation for all as enshrined in the Constitution of Kenya 2010, Art. 43 under the bill of rights;

Further recognizing the ambition of achieving universal sanitation services in the Kenya Vision 2030;

Cognisant of the role of sanitation as a driver for achieving the government’s big 4 agenda – universal health care; food security; affordable housing and manufacturing;

Mindful that an estimated 80% of Kenyans do not have access to safely managed sanitation, 75% do not even have access to basic sanitation and 12.5% defecate in the open (GoK 2017);

Noting that the lack of access to basic sanitation together with poor hygiene practices results in a severe burden of disease and associated economic costs of about 27 billion Kenyan shillings, as well as immense human, social and environmental costs for the people of Kenya;

Therefore, acknowledging that the lack of adequate sanitation services to the Kenyan people causes socio-ecological damages this country can no longer afford.

Hereby commit to the following:

In the short term (3 months):

  • Addressing governance bottlenecks by clearly defining roles and responsibilities of various government institutions at national and county level and stakeholders; and establishing a multi-stakeholder coordination mechanism under leadership of the Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Irrigation to initiate development of policies, laws and strategies for integrated sanitation planning, investments and service delivery;
  • Work collaboratively to create public awareness and implementation of a paradigm shift to accelerate access to adequate and sustainable sanitation and hygiene through cost effective and innovative approaches;
  • Engage with National Treasury for increasing the sanitation budget and establishing a separate budget line for sanitation;

In the medium term (6 months):

  1. Consolidate and strengthen monitoring and evaluation systems at national and county level with special focus on data quality, credibility and disaggregation, as well as data sharing, to ensure adequate information for decision making targeted at reaching vulnerable groups, and accountability;
  2. Take action to amend existing policy, legal, regulatory and institutional frameworks, incorporating non-sewered sanitation issues in existing institutions and ensuring transparency and accountability in how sanitation services are delivered and resources are managed;
  3. Advocate with National Treasury and Parliament to review provisions of the PPP Act and to provide economic incentives and opportunities for County governments and utilities to partner with private sector actors in sewered and non-sewered service provision;
  4. Engage with county governments to establish coherent service delivery models for sewered and non-sewered sanitation services, including expanding the legal mandate and names of water service providers to water and sanitation companies;

In the long term (12 months):

  1. Work closely with the Ministries of Education and Health, and relevant stakeholders to enhance appropriate sanitation and hygiene practice in all schools;
  2. Support County and National Governments to develop sanitation masterplans;
  3. Prioritizing sanitation in terms of programmes and financing.

Taking leadership on these commitments, the Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Irrigation will:

  • Work closely with the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders to initiate the mentioned multi-stakeholder coordination platform for sanitation policy, legal and strategy development;
  • Immediately initiate the process of establishing a Sanitation Department in the Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Irrigation;
  • Establish and monitor a road map for implementation of these commitments;
  • Initiate ring-fencing part of the revenue collected by water service providers to finance sanitation programmes;
  • Initiate implementation of the directives given by H.E. the President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Hon. Simon Chelugui,
Cabinet Secretary for Water, Sanitation and Irrigation

About Kaburu Mugambi

Kaburu Mugambi is a veteran of business reporting having worked with two national newspapers in Kenya. He is a graduate of economics from Kenyatta University. He started his journalism career in 2000 with The People Daily as a business reporter before becoming a business sub-editor. He joined Daily Nation in 2004 as a business writer. He holds a post-graduate diploma in mass communication from University of Nairobi's School of Journalism and an MBA in marketing from the same university. In 2016, he founded Water Tower, a media firm focused on water, energy and climate. Its content cuts across water, energy and climate with emphasis on adaptation and sustainability.

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