Peninah Wangithi Wanjohi, Dagoretti Market Bio-Latrine Water Kiosk

With a limited renewable water supply, Kenya is classified as a water scarce country. Lack of access to clean water and improper sanitation methods lead to illnesses such as kidney failure, one of the leading causes of hospitalization and death in the country. In the poorer communities of Nairobi, people are left to suffer with the effects of contaminated water, affecting all aspects of their daily lives.

Twenty three year old Peninah Wangithi Wanjohi has dedicated her life to the pursuit of clean, sustainable, and economically viable solutions for her community. Growing up with limited financial resources, Peninah was not able to pursue a college education, which motivated her and a group of her peers to create Community Action for Change, a local women’s group that educates and empowers youth through economic and environmental initiatives.

Initially, the team began their work by cleaning up the Dagoreti Market, which is home to many small businesses and is used as a public meeting space. Building on that work, they are now collaborating with the local government to bring water to the market. Installing pipes from the Kabuthi Water Scheme, they will construct and operate a biogas latrine block and water kiosk at the Dagoretti Market. With an electronic metering and payment system, they will provide clean water at an affordable price, while young people from the community will staff and run the kiosk, providing much needed jobs.

Peninah and her colleagues do not plan to stop there. After seeing the impact of projects that combine environmental, social, and economic benefits, the biogas latrine and water kiosk are just the beginning for the revitalization for Dagoretti market. There are plans to offer laundry services and have a shoe shine parlor for workers and visitors to the market, which will bring more jobs to the area. While the market will also serve as demonstration center for the benefits of renewable energy and conservation, promoting the spread of a green economy that provides opportunities for women and young people to benefit economically and socially.

Youth Environmental Grantmaking Team Leader, Beth Koigi, awarded this project a flow fund grant of $1000 as she sees them as a valuable model for a youth driven, economically viable solution to the water problems facing Kenya and other nations. She will be working closely to support them in their work and to discover how this model can be applied in other communities. The grant will allow them to purchase the materials needed to complete the installation of their water supply.