Strengthening the Handwashing Component in Community-Led Total Sanitation during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Lessons Learned from Kenya
• In 2020, two in five Kenyans did not have a place in their homes to wash their hands with water and soap (JMP, 2021). The lack of basic handwashing facilities put these households at risk of contracting WASH-related diseases and COVID-19. • In response to these issues, UNICEF and the Ministry of Health have strengthened the handwashing component in pre-existing community-led total sanitation (CLTS) programmes in Baringo, Homa Bay, Kilifi, Kwale, Marsabit, Narok, Samburu, Turkana and West Pokot counties. • Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of people using handwashing facilities has steadily increased. 2.6 million people were educated on sanitation and hygiene practices, including handwashing with soap. • Supporting local innovation in sanitation and hygiene is critical to ensuring that handwashing facilities can be accessible and sustainable in communities. • Local radio stations, community leaders, sanitation champions and children have been identified as key drivers of change in their communities. These actors were found to play an important role in raising awareness about sanitation and hygiene. • While significant improvements in handwashing uptake have been seen in Baringo, Homa Bay, Kilifi, Kwale, Marsabit, Narok, Samburu, Turkana and West Pokot counties, challenges remain.