Kiini Community Health Volunteers group have committed and dedicated their lives to serving their community in Kitui County. The group, whose ultimate goal is to improve sanitation in their community and financially empower women, started in 2019 with 17 women and five men.
The group has a makiga machine that they use to make bricks and sell them for profit.
“We began selling the interlocking bricks after training by FINISH on how to make them. The proceeds got from this are then put into table banking where we can take loans for personal development and later repay with interest. In addition, the group members also get annual dividends from table banking.” Says Joyce, the group treasurer.
A makiga brick costs Ksh 20 and you only need 320 bricks to construct a one-door improved latrine. This is affordable in the sense that you not only save on cost since you don’t need to use cement but also sand, unlike normal construction.
The group has now started passing on the skills to a youth group from the nearby child development centre. “We have taught the group about making the makiga bricks and construction of the FINISH toilets in order for the legacy to carry on,” says Joyce.
Even with the commitment and success of the community group, one major challenge is the accessibility and distance to the customers who purchase the makiga bricks making some sales non-profitable.
To combat the issue, FINISH Mondial Kenya trained members of the group on business management including record keeping skills and the development of business plans for financing.
The sanitation programme has been a great success largely because of the dedication of the community health workers such as Kiini makiga group who have vowed to ensure every household has a durable toilet and that it is used properly.
Kitui County was the second county in Kenya to achieve Open Defecation Free (ODF) status in 2018, meaning every household has a restroom and a handwashing system. The county has now embarked on post ODF activities, maintaining sanitation standards and improving latrines from basic toilets through the FINISH toilet Model.
FINISH Mondial’s main role is to create awareness of the need for safe, durable toilets and to strengthen local sanitation businesses.
100 entrepreneurs, mainly young people, have been trained to establish sanitation businesses including construction services. They are working with new toilets and improving existing ones, starting up mini hardware businesses for stocking and supplying construction materials, manufacturing hygiene and maintenance products, such as detergents, disinfectants and soap, as well as running other water, sanitation and hygiene-related businesses.