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Country Story: Kenya, Sector Strengthening in Contexts of Decentralization

22 Dec 2017

The SWA Country Stories capture good practices from partners around the world. They include country experiences in using the SWA partnership to advance the case of water, sanitation and hygiene. See Uganda, Liberia.


Download Country Story: Kenya


In 2014, the Ministry of Health and the Water & Sanitation Program of the World Bank collaborated to produce 47 County Sanitation Profiles. The profiles curated county-level sanitation information into an accessible format. The set of 47 county fact sheets gave coverage rates, information on impacts and costs of poor sanitation for the counties as well as the baseline scores for the enabling environment. The profiles were designed to fill an identified gap in county-specific data available for evidence-based decision-making and advocacy. These fact sheets have been used by counties to not only share the status of sanitation in the county, but to advocate for more resources from the county executive team for health (CEC) and from the members of the county assembly. In addition, the profiles also served as a benchmarking exercise for future progress.

When the 2014 profiles were published in the daily newspapers, a county assembly (Busia) was furious to see the amount that is lost due to poor sanitation. Busia then decided to increase the budget for the subsequent year.

Before this exercise, the country had made efforts to align global and regional commitments with National processes. The country took advantage of the AMCOW/ AfricaSan / SWA commitments tracking processes.

2017 County Sanitation Profiles

The Ministry of Health with support from the World Bank and UNICEF conducted the second-round of benchmarking. In addition to developing sanitation profiles in the counties, the 2017 exercise considered the rate at which the counties were progressing towards the achievement of sanitation targets based on the 2014 exercise. Other areas of focus include counties’ strategies for cholera preparedness and response as well as mechanisms for climate change responses.


To determine the sanitation status of counties and use the available data for advocacy and decision making


The main source of primary of data was relevant health officials (county public health and M&E officers) at the county level Secondary data sources included: Basic Education Statistical Booklet Ministry of Education, 2014, Commission on Revenue Authority (CRA) reports, Kenya Demographic and Health Survey Datasets, 2014 and the urban sewerage coverage reports, Water Services Regulatory Board (WASREB), 2016

After obtaining the data from counties, regional workshops were conducted with the county officials to facilitate data validation before final analysis. Finally, the data was cleaned, analyzed and presented in an agreed format. Final approval and endorsement was obtained from the National level before printing.

Alignment to the 2016 collaborative Behaviours




It is well noted that Kenya had put in place some of the Collaborative Behaviours before the 2016 Addis Ababa SWA Sector Ministers’ Meeting (SMM) where the Behaviours were endorsed. The Collaborative Behaviours were broadly part of what we referred to as the enabling environment for strengthening and scaling up sanitation & hygiene in Kenya. After the SMM, Kenya made an action Plan for the National government which was disseminated to partners and counties through the quarterly inter-agency coordinating committee.

Benchmarking was one of the ways of raising advocacy on how to put in place critical sector Building Blocks that are necessary to improve the enabling environment. The county governments committed to analyzing their situation and agree to take steps which strengthen their Building Blocks. They also agreed to reinforce the Collaborative Behaviours together with their partners. This commitment was evident at our National 2017 Sanitation & Hygiene conference and water conferences. The 2017 profiles will therefore have a much stronger alignment with the Building Blocks and Collaborative Behaviours.

Example of part of a profile from Kitui County which reflects their commitment at county level.


The outcome of this benchmarking exercise has seen some counties such as Nakuru County develop Sanitation and Hygiene legislation. Other counties have increased funding to address sanitation & hygiene, e.g. Kitui, Nakuru and Busia. Some of the county specific profiles can be found here: