Expanding safe fecal sludge management in Kisumu, Kenya: an experimental comparison of latrine pit-emptying services

Countries: Kenya

Sanitation conditions are of increasing concern for rapidly growing cities of the developing world.

In Kisumu, Kenya, most residents use latrines constructed over basic pits or attached to more durable concrete vaults and septic tanks. However, only one-third of the fecal sludge generated in the city is safely collected and treated.

Efforts to improve fecal sludge management among low-income households in Kisumu include the development of formal manual emptying organizations that are recognized by local authorities, employ safety procedures and equipment, and transport fecal sludge to the municipal treatment site.

This study compares the financial structures of these formal manual emptying organisations with those of vacuum trucks that primarily serve wealthier households to determine the feasibility of expanding safe fecal sludge services to low-income areas in Kisumu.

We employed an incentives-based strategy to compare pit-emptying service provision in a low-income area by three different groups, which include vacuum trucks and formal manual emptiers. We determined that vacuum trucks were more cost-effective than the formal manual emptying organization, and the Association of VTOs was most efficient in providing emptying services to poor households.