Monday, November 10, 2014

Improving Access: Sanitation and Stoves for Kibera Police Officers

 We were recently lucky enough to speak with the Kibera District Administration Police Commandant Grace Mbinda about Kibera Internal Security’s partnership with Umande Trust. Upon her arrival to Kibera, Commandant Mbinda found the state of sanitation for the officers to be very poor. She began to pursue an alternative to the shallow, dirty pit latrines the officers were using, and in August of 2013 she found a solution in the form of a partnership with Umande. 
TOP III biocenter, left, and cooking room, right


TOP III biocenter interior
The officers, whose numbers are now around 130, are able to use Umande’s TOP III biocenter free of charge. Previously, these officers had to use their own money every week to have their latrines cleaned out, which was quite costly and a burden for them. Now, says Mbinda, they don’t have to worry about spending that money on sanitation in their workplace and can instead use it in their personal lives and for their homes and families. Additionally, the TOP III biocenter is significantly cleaner and more sanitary than the pit latrines they currently used, which has improved upon the officers’ health and well-being. Furthermore, Commandant Mbinda notes that overall sanitation in the area has improved thanks to the TOP III biocenter—she has seen fewer cases of sicknesses like diarrhea, especially among children.

Cooking room interior
The officers are also able to use the biocenter’s biogas stoves, again with no personal cost. They mainly use the stoves for cooking and for boiling water while they are at work. Mbinda hopes in the future that the officers will be able to use bottled biogas, so that they may cook with it in their private homes in addition to at the community cookers. Mbinda expressed gratitude and satisfaction with her and her officers’ partnership with Umande, calling it “perfect.” She described the improvements to the officers’ access to sanitary bathrooms as “tremendous,” and hopes in the future to see Umande partner with other groups in Kibera with similar needs.


Written by Rachel Powers

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