Painted in Blue: Transformative Initiatives for Kitui County’s Future

By Jason Cardosi, Leader, Partnerships

At SATO, we continuously work to combine the strengths of the public and private sectors to scale up sanitation and hygiene solutions for people everywhere. When executed effectively, these partnerships drive impact from government at all levels. Take the case of Kitui County, Kenya.

In 2016 UNICEF and the Kitui County Government joined forces to improve investment in and management of water and sanitation services. Kitui is a semi-arid area and suffered from periodic outbreaks of cholera leading the government to prioritise sanitation and hygiene. LIXIL, which makes pioneering water and housing products through its leading brands including SATO, joined the collaboration in a global research and development capacity. When combined with UNICEF’s renowned worldwide reach, the potential to create an impact in Kitui – and beyond – was clear. The partners considered how to accelerate market testing and entry for affordable and appealing products such as SATO to break down barriers and grow local sanitation economies.

SATO offered a solution to some of the challenges facing Kitui County. With an award-winning design, the SATO Pan’s water-sealing technology uses significantly less water than traditional pour-flush systems and prevents flies and other insects from entering and escaping pits. SATO Pans also eliminate unpleasant odours. This improves the experience of using a latrine, especially for young children. Our suite of products, ranging from the SATO Pan to the SATO Stool offered those in Kitui County the option to improve their sanitation systems to a safer and more pleasant toilet.

Kitui County was declared Open Defecation Free (ODF) in 2018. To date 26,000 SATO Pans, SATO Flexes, and SATO Stools have been installed in Kitui County, reaching 156,000 people.

If we want to implement long-lasting solutions to widespread barriers to sanitation, the public and private sectors must continue to work together. Our work with the Kitui County government and UNICEF achieved this and made lives better. As Faith Kanini Mutinda, Deputy Director of Public Health, Kitui County, Kenya, put it, “We want to paint our county blue by 2025 by having 70% of our households have installed SATO products.”

Because of this local leadership, Kitui County is in a better place than it was seven years ago. The responses and feedback from Kitui residents were a game changer for us. They provided invaluable feedback and insight, encouraging new ways and solutions to better serve our customers, while the partnership model we employed subsequently led to the establishment of the global UNICEF-LIXIL Make a Splash! Partnership, which has so far impacted 5.8 million people across six different countries in Africa and Asia.

We will continue to grow our partnerships alongside our solutions and change lives, every day.

UNICEF does not endorse any brand, company, product or service.

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