Kara in partnership with the UN Habitat, Japan’s Ministry of Environment, Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) and the Kenya Association of Waste Recyclers,

launched establishment of permanent hand washing facilities on 26th February 2021, at the Dandora dumpsite as part of efforts to reduce waste pickers exposure to Covid19 risks. During the launch, the first complete hand washing facility at the dumpsite was official opened for public use by the County Director, Water and Sanitation Services, Nairobi Metropolitan Services, Mr. Mario Kainga.

Speaking during the launch, Mr. Kainga welcomed the partnership and support from KARA and its partners to enhance the safety and healthcare of waste workers at the dumpsite. He said that the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) is committed to the safety and public health of all residents in Nairobi County. He stated that NMS as part of its Covid-19 mitigation efforts has dug boreholes in various estates across the city to enable residents have access to clean and safe water. He also appreciated the previous collaboration between the Japan Embassy and Nairobi County Government through JICA, to develop the Integrated Solid Waste Master Plan which has assisted the county government to come up with systems to address solid waste management concerns across the city. He noted that the National Government has also developed the Sustainable Solid Waste Management Policy and Bill which will assist in addressing the waste management challenges currently being experienced in the city. He added that besides the establishment of the permanent hand washing facilities, NMS will also construct ablution blocks at the dumpsite to be used by the waste pickers to enhance their hygiene and sanitation.

Kara CEO Mr. Henry Ochieng stated that KARA and its partners had earlier in January distributed personal protective equipment (Face Masks and Hand gloves) to waste pickers working at the dandora dumpsite to reduce their risk against Covid19 infections. He noted that the five hand washing facilities to be established at the dumpsite will enable waste pickers have access to water and soap for washing their hands regularly as well as safe clean drinking water. He pointed out that besides the establishment of the hand washing facilities, the partners will also carry out a risk assessment study on current waste picking activities in the Dandora dumpsite, to support in generating data on the risks faced by waste pickers in Dandora dumpsite area, and developing mitigation measures. He also stated that Hygiene awareness program will also be established for the waste pickers, and called for the up scaling of the initiative to other areas across the Country.

Mr. Daisuke Nagaosa from Embassy of Japan, stated that the Government of Japan was committed to support Kenya on environmental friendly waste management practices. He noted that the Government of Japan was willing to continue its international cooperation initiatives in strengthening the capacity of waste management in African countries through the network of African Clean Cities Platform that was established in collaboration with UN Habitat. He added that Japan through the Ministry of Environment has been supporting Covid19 mitigation initiatives such as distribution of Personal Protective Equipment and establishment of hand washing facilities through partnerships with various organizations. He stated that Japan will continue to support Kenya Government in promoting sustainable waste management practices.

Mr. Richard Kainika, Chairman, Kenya Association of Waste Recyclers, expressed his appreciation on behalf of waste recyclers on the efforts made towards the establishment of the handwashing facilities. He noted that the Association played a key role in identification of potential sites for installation of the handwashing facilities within the dandora dumpsite. He added that current legislations on waste management did not recognize the role of waste pickers; he however noted that the National Government through the Sustainable Waste Management Policy and Bill had recognized their important role in the waste value chain. He noted that the policy and legislation will also promote establishment of effective waste management systems in Kenya