The Ikotoilet is an innovative solution to the growing environmental sanitation problem in Africa. It is based on an enterprise model by a company named Ecotact, which includes both sanitation facilities in urban and low income settlements. Operating on a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) basis, this initiative extends from offering sanitation services to a range of complimentary business services such as kiosks and barber shops. These income generating activities provide employment and create healthier surroundings for the people of Kenya.
As a whole, Kenya has experienced a rapid population increase since 1950 from 6.07 million to 41.07 million in 2011. In Nairobi, 65% of the urban population resides in slums, occupying barely 5% of the city’s residential land. This reflects the added pressure on a set of already scarce resources, especially those regarding basic services. Investment by the government in public sanitation facilities in Nairobi has been almost inexistent for the past 30 years and as a result, toilets have been characterized by overcrowding and poor maintenance, with low lighting, inaccessible and unhygienic conditions and a general lack of privacy and security.These problems were not being addressed by neither local governments, municipalities nor even NGOs and as a consequence, adequate resources were not assigned to the sector. In some areas such as the Mathare slum, bush and outcrop as well as pronounced slopes provided favourable conditions for open defecation and due to the absence of better alternatives; this was seen to be a prominent practice among slum residents. Since waste collection services were lacking in the area, land and water contamination posed a hazard to public health.
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