Helping Schoolchildren When Nature Calls

Peris Wanjiku, a 32-year-old Kenyan woman, runs an early childhood development nursery in Karagita, a slum outside of Naivasha. At some point every day, each of the 20 children in her care must use the toilet. For most teachers, this is not something to worry about. In Peris’ situation, however, it is a top concern.

A Hazardous Journey

The nursery operates out of a one-room structure with an unfinished cement floor and a tin roof overhead. Because there is no toilet on the property, the children must go outside the premises to use a shared latrine in the compound across a street with moving cars. For Peris, this is concerning on multiple levels.

First, it is dangerous for three- to six-year-olds to be crossing a street by themselves. But Peris cannot accompany one student to the toilet and leave 19 others unattended in the classroom. Second, the children themselves are afraid of pit latrines, scared that they may fall into the seemingly bottomless pit. After all, it wouldn’t be the first time an accident like that happened. Third, sending children into a compound filled with strangers and asking them to share a toilet with adults leaves kids vulnerable to predatory behavior. For Peris, this situation cannot stand.

Peris Walking Kids across Street

Blue Box to the Rescue

Thankfully, things changed after Peris received an unexpected visit from Naomi Chege, a Toilet Service Junior Officer with Sanivation, a FINCA Ventures partner. Naomi shared information on Blue Box, an indoor container-based toilet.

One day, as if an answer to my prayers, Naomi visited us to see if we might benefit from Blue Box. Obviously, I signed up right away.

Peris erected a privacy screen in the back corner of the classroom where she placed the Blue Box. This instantly made the children feel more comfortable.

“My children no longer view the toilet as something to fear,” said Peris. “They used to be afraid to even come to the nursery because of the toilet situation.”

Child on a Blue Box

Affordable Convenience

Peris and her students aren’t the only ones pleased with the new arrangement. The students’ parents are also quite happy knowing that Blue Box positively impacts their children’s health and safety. Thanks to word-of-mouth, some of the elderly in the area have also learned about Blue Box and have signed-up.

Such enormous gains in quality of life are made possible with a payment of just 200 Kenyan Shillings (about $2) per month, all facilitated using a mobile money service.

The people at Sanivation are so good, so creative and so caring about our lives.