Approaches For Sanitation Access In Pastoralist Areas within the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands of Kenya Final Report


Community-led total sanitation has been widely used and adapted as a strategy for reducing open defecation. The Government of Kenya has adopted CLTS as a core strategy, but standard methods have been difficult to implement and have achieved limited success among pastoralist groups in low-density, water-scarce regions. Pastoralists’ lives often involve movement to find water and pasture for livestock, potentially decreasing the value of stationary sanitation infrastructure, while other contextual constraints (e.g., soil conditions and durability of local materials in arid regions) may also hinder sanitation implementation. Therefore, this research examined the underlying factors and constraints affecting sanitation adoption among pastoralists and identified strategies to achieve greater levels of improved sanitation coverage.

Across three counties (Samburu, Turkana, Kitui) in the arid and semi-arid lands of Kenya with varying contexts of sanitation and pastoralism, the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Partnerships and Learning for Sustainability Project (WASHPaLS) conducted qualitative research in 17 pastoral communities. In total, the team completed 34 focus group discussions and 154 interviews with household members, community leaders, government officials, and implementing partners, which they then analyzed via the Integrated Behavior Model for Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (IBM-WASH).

The three core research questions are:

  1. What are the underlying factors and constraints affecting sanitation adoption in the semi-arid lands?
  2. What are acceptable standards for sanitation in pastoralist communities, with regard to both user experience and public health?
  3. What potential adaptations to community-led total sanitation will address the challenges associated with sanitation among pastoral communities in the semi-arid lands?
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