Increasing access to improved sanitation in Kakuma Refugee Camp and Kalobeyei Integrated Settlement

Creating health and social value for more than 5,000 refugees
Good Practices

Increasing access to improved sanitation in Kakuma Refugee Camp and Kalobeyei Integrated Settlement

Creating health and social value for more than 5,000 refugees

"My neighbours used to go to the bush to defecate because most of the toilets in my community were dirty and the odour from toilets was awful. We also hesitated to eat our meals outside because of the bad smell in the entire community. Frequent diarrhoea of children was one of the concerns of their mothers and caregivers. Nowadays, the community members use toilets always, take care of them as we don’t worry much about the children’s stomachs. We can eat our meals outside because we don’t have bad smells anymore. I myself purchased and installed a SATO stool for my elderly mother who has weak legs. Not only her, but also other family members enjoy it because it’s hygienic and comfortable!"

- (Orach, Hygiene promoter, Kalobeyei Village 3)

The project in brief

The project was implemented by Peace Winds Japan and SATO (part of LIXIL) in Kenya. It was carried out in 2020.

SATO and Peace Winds have combined to improve sanitation in Kenya’s Kakuma refugee camp and Kalobeyei settlement through market-based sanitation approaches. Together, they developed and launched seven one-stop sanitation shops called Duka-Safi in Kiswahili, training 56 local marketers who have so far marketed and sold over 1,000 reliable and accessible SATO Pans and Stools. Duka-Safi also sell various sanitation and hygiene products including menstrual pads, child potty, and soap.

Peace Winds had discovered that refugees in Kalobeyei Integrated Settlement and Kakuma refugee camp were heavily dependent on humanitarian aid for sanitation and open defecation was pervasive within the camps. The poor conditions created unhygienic and unpleasant toilet experiences for residents of the camp – and disproportionately impacted women, the elderly and the disabled - health, social and ecological challenges occurred. The goal of the project was to provide sustainable and resilient community-driven and market-based sanitation and hygiene solutions that would support households’ initiatives to improve sanitation and hygiene as well as their wellbeing.

Main activities of the Good Practice

In Kakuma and Kalobeyei, two of Kenya’s largest informal settlements, Peace Winds has made significant sanitation progress. Leveraging community-led total sanitation and market-based sanitation approaches, it has evolved the community’s view on sanitation. Through the efforts of community engagement and a strong commitment from local people, Kalobeyei was officially declared open-defecation-free (ODF) in 2021, while 75% of residents live ODF in Kakuma.

To empower the community with the skills and solutions they need to continue upgrading their sanitation, PEACE WINDS worked in partnership with the Ministry for Health and received 2,000 award-winning products from SATO. PEACE WINDS trained locals to become community champions, driving engagement at a grassroots level. Community champions then visited Kakuma and Kalobeyei and trained refugees in literacy, financial literacy, and marketing.

Through this initiative, 56 refugees were trained and established seven Duka-Safi – first-of-their-kind, one-stop sanitation shops selling SATO’s innovative products - within the settlements. Inkomonko offered financial services and loans for shops to stock products. All 56 marketers (most of them male; male engagement in sanitation was previously almost 0%) are still involved and continue to create a dialogue about sanitation in the community, inspiring community members to upgrade to improve their wellbeing. This demonstrates the power of market-based approaches to sanitation.

1070 units of SATO’s sanitation products have been installed to date. The programme created an organic and self-sustaining sanitation market and supply chain within the settlements, meaning no external funding has been required from Peace Winds Japan to support the project since 2021.

Two women holding one of the sanitation objects and smiling at the camera. The object is a sort of plastic funnel, with the top shaped somewhat like a toilet

Elements which helped facilitate the implementation of the good practice

Peace Winds in partnership with the Ministry of Health has adopted and implemented Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) in Kalobeyei Integrated Settlement since 2019 and in Kakuma Camp since 2020. Through the efforts of community engagement and strong commitment from the community, Kalobeyei Integrated Settlement was officially declared an open defecation-free zone in 2021. In Kakuma as well, 75% of the population live in open defecation-free space as of November 2023.

The momentum created through CLTS created a desire and demand among people for better toilets, creating new norms and behavioral changes on sanitation. Cash-Based Intervention to enable refugee households to construct permanent shelter and household toilets in Kalobeyei also facilitated many households to attain better sanitation as they were able to purchase SATO Pan or Stool when they constructed their family toilets.

Training support from SATO helped Peace Winds engage local sanitation champions such as hygiene promoters, 56 of whom were introduced to sanitation marketing, instalment of SATO Pan and Stools, soap making skills, business skills and financial literacy. Financial contributions from UNHCR, Japan Platform, and UNICEF allowed Peace Winds Japan to continue the project, as well as product contributions from SATO, part of LIXIL.

SATO’s affordable, water-saving sanitation products, manufactured locally in Kenya, provided the foundation for the market-based solutions.

Partners involved

What challenges were encountered in delivering the project and how were they overcome?


Traditionally, sanitation and hygiene has not been prioritised within refugee camps and settlements by refugees themselves. Reflecting on this, we had found that many refugees expect that these facilities be provided by aid agencies, humanitarian organisations, or local government organisations, causing sanitation to be further de-prioritised by individuals.

To start, securing funding was a challenge due to scepticism towards the programme’s viability. Economic and inflationary challenges within Kenya meant that the price of products have risen from 1,400KES to around 1,800KES since 2018, with community purchasing power generally remaining quite low.

There were also narratives within camps that open defecation was the fault of particular ethnic groups and communities. This was false and unproductive, and finger pointing meant that unravelling these narratives and producing a collective, community-minded attitude towards tackling open defecation was a challenge that needed to be overcome.

How they were overcome

Engaging community members on the benefits of hygiene generally, including disinfectants and cleaning products, considerably boosted uptake.

Community meetings run by trainers allowed local stakeholders and leaders to voice their concerns and collectively produce community action plans, which could be implemented. These action plans were instrumental to unravelling the narrative of particular groups being responsible for the open defecation problem, while they often resulted in the identification of particular households which could benefit from improved sanitation or lacked a toilet entirely.

Lines of credit have been established for some community members with limited purchasing power for them to purchase SATO Pans, increasing financial accessibility. Meanwhile, the teaching of financial literacy by community trainers improved the success chances of credit systems.

A child pouring cleaning fluid into one of the toilets, smiling up at the camera

Results of the Good Practice

  • Over 1,070 SATO units installed to date including SATO Stools, which are accessible for children and elderly people. Impacting 5,850 (based on average household / use of 5.5x per latrine)
  • A reduction in open defecation significantly improved quality of life and reduced disease.
  • Promoting men as stakeholders in hygiene and sanitation alleviated pressures on women and spread awareness.
  • 56 people educated in literacy and numeracy to become marketers.
  • Sanitation is now seen as an important goal by community members, with many newlywed couples choosing to make a SATO pan one of their first joint purchases.

In what way does the good practice meet one or more of the four objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees?

Objective 2: Enhance refugee self-reliance

By building up accessibility to sanitation products among the refugees, such as the SATO Pan and SATO Stool, the project has fostered a greater sense of self-reliance among refugees’ sanitation and hygiene solutions.

Many refugees no longer need to rely on unstable, unsafe or inaccessible toilets, open pit latrines, and can now rely on SATO products, which are award-winning, reliable, and easy to maintain.

We have also worked to build up a self-sustaining and reliable local sanitation and hygiene economy within the refugee camps, using our ‘Training of Trainers’ (ToT) programme to grow expertise among local tradespeople and our one-stop-shops to implement single go-to sanitation shops for refugees’ sanitation and hygiene needs.

Meanwhile, our community engagement efforts have successfully spread awareness of best practices around sanitation and health among communities, giving them the knowledge and tools to be self-reliant.

This approach creates a future in which local people have the skills, knowledge and supply chain to serve community members, while community members have increased awareness of SATO products and the benefits of improved sanitation. This helps create a self-sustaining market that delivers significant value for the community.

Next steps

Going forward, we will support the existing Duka-Safi to include more members and expand the business by launching new sanitation shops across the camps. This will require more marketers, more products and units, and more resources. Furthermore, scaling up the market for SATO pans by making units available to marketers for demonstration will help to increase the market and heighten the chances of community uptake. We are also hoping to implement these programmes in Dadaab camp and host communities and create an integrated health provision programme that ultimately promotes self-reliance of these communities.

Additionally, we plan to support the sanitation businesses as they become registered cooperatives or SMEs in Kenya. This will help the shops gain access to funding and scale, accordingly, creating new jobs, health, and social value for local people. This also has the knock-on effect of facilitating the establishment of a self-reliant and self-sustaining local sanitation and hygiene economy, ensuring long-term impact.

Are there areas in which support would be required to continue and/or scale up your good practice?

With high populations in these camps, we are looking at engaging new partners over the coming year to drive further growth through training more marketers and community champions.

Pricing also remains a challenge and a barrier to many. Creating strong and productive links with local manufacturers as well as offering financing solutions will be important going into the future to bring down costs and increase availability to more people in more settlements.

We are also looking into the possibility of grants that PEACE WINDS can link Duka-Safis to local financing organisations to promote financial independence and stabilizing and expanding their business.

Submitted by

Andrew Richards, Client Director at Hudson Sandler - SATO's communications agency

Contact the project

[email protected]