Reckitt Benckiser, Sanergy partner to improve sanitation in slums

Reckitt Benckiser and Sanergy have formed a strategic partnership to help thousands of Mukuru Kwa Njenga and Mathare residents gain access to safe, hygienic and sustainable Fresh Life Toilet sanitation solutions.

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The partnership will map out and develop effective campaigns to boost awareness on the urgent need of adopting sustainable sanitation solutions across the country as they seek to lift up ten thousand Kenyans currently still living without access to safely managed sanitation.

Reckitt Benckiser General Manager East Africa Sachin Varma said improving Kenya’s state of sanitation requires more inclusive approaches and partnerships to save the country’s poorest, most remote, and the most marginalized populations living in rapidly expanding peri-urban areas.

“Africa’s cities are growing at an unprecedented rate.  In Kenya alone, the urban population is well over 10 million and this is definitely going further up with an accelerated rate of rural to urban migration. This rapid urbanization has huge implications for waste management in the country’s cities, which already face pressing water and sanitation demands,’’ said Varma.

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He spoke during a pre-event to mark the World Toilet Day 2020 celebrations in Nairobi.

The World Toilet Day is marked every 19th of November all across the globe.

This year’s event runs under the theme; Sustainable Sanitation and Climate Change, advocating for equal access to sustainable sanitation that can withstand climate change and keep communities healthy and functioning.

“The challenge of urban sanitation is particularly acute as it requires changing mind-sets towards a balanced mix of sewered and non-sewered solutions, creating new institutional arrangements at the interface between counties, utilities and private providers while also inducing behavior change at the household level,” he added.

UNICEF ranks Kenya as the 3rd largest country in terms of number of people drinking water from contaminated sources in Sub-Saharan Africa, with more than 9.4 million Kenyans reportedly drinking directly from contaminated water sources.

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Consequently, the economy loses an estimated Sh. 27 billion annually with more than 36,000 deaths recorded every year due to poor sanitation.

“This rapid growth of urban areas in Kenya has grown with low-income areas characterized by overcrowding and largely strained basic infrastructure. It is projected that urban population with inadequate housing and basic services is could double to 2 billion by 2030. Therefore, now is the time to address the sanitation crisis sustainably. Sanergy is building bold solutions for these cities – aiming to build healthy and prosperous communities,” said Sanergy co-founder David Auerbach.

The social enterprise has developed a circular economy approach to delivering safe sanitation services.

They design, build and distribute sanitation products and services to urban residents via a monthly subscription.

On a regular basis, they professionally remove the waste generated and transports it to their Organics Recycling Factory, where it is treated and upcycled into high quality agricultural inputs and clean energy.

“Our partnership with Reckitt Benckiser through Harpic brand is very timely. RB’s cleaning and disinfecting products will go a long way in ensuring that our customers have access to safe facilities for them and their households,” said Auerbach.

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