Kenya - Women, girls and water: Gender sensitivity in SSHE project in Kisumu District

Updated - Monday 22 August 2016

Snel, Marielle and Adongo, Alfred O. (2004)

In Kisumu, SANA obtained funding from the French Government to assist two peri-urban areas: Manyatta ‘B’ and the eastern side of Kogony Sublocation. From each, one school was selected for SSHE: these were Wandiege and Nawa Primary Schools. SANA, in planning SSHE, drew on its experiences in seven school-based Water and Sanitation projects funded by SIMAVI in Kochieng’ East Location, which neighbours the Manyatta Sublocation.

This initial review of the roles of women and girls in and outside SSHE schools has revealed how much more there is to study and understand. The SSHE schools in Kisumu have made two major achievements:

1.They have made the schools more girl-friendly places – where girls are more likely to complete their education and enter adulthood with some strengths;

2.They have created a culture in which boys share with girls the duties of the School Health Clubs – cleaning latrines, sweeping the classrooms and compounds, providing water to the latrines etc. Normally boys do not do such tasks in school and even after SSHE they do not as yet continue the practices back at home.

The possible negative side is that the girls are seen as the main agents of change; given the enormous burdens they carry already, the workers in SSHE need to start considering the overall results of what they ask.

The needs of orphaned girls are many but a priority that should be quickly addressed is their need for sex education. This could be integrated into SSHE.

To help adult women – and these girls will be adult soon enough – all Water and Sanitation projects need to provide training and structures to enable women to take management roles and acquire some power over the process of sourcing, pricing and quality-controlling the water they all need.

The case study was abstracted from: Snel, M. (2004), "THE WORTH OF SCHOOL SANITATION AND HYGIENE EDUCATION (SSHE)", IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre, Delft, the Netherlands

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