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ECD Afya! Improving sanitary conditions and promoting health of ECD children from the informal settlement of Mathare in Nairobi

People living in the slums since the times of colonialism have been exposed to systemic discrimination in their access to decent living conditions, sanitary infrastructure, medical care and education. In Mathare, an informal district of Nairobi, 83% of the population lives in rented dwellings, usually in shanties made of corrugated metal. Most homes have no access to proper sanitary facilities.

Healthy and hygienic conditions cannot be ensured by the educational institutions either, with their lack or inadequate quantity of toilet facilities. This situation has a particularly adverse effect on the comfort and safety of the youngest children. In the preschool centres operating next to primary schools there are no toilets adapted to the height of preschoolers who are forced to use the same toilets as the older children. They also have no way of washing their hands after using the toilet.

The kindergartens share kitchens and dining halls with the schools. This makes it difficult to adjust meals to the needs of preschoolers who are served food that is too hard to digest for them. The guardians and teachers, on the other hand, do not have adequate knowledge on nutrition and how to help children of preschool age to develop properly.

It is also a challenge to create conditions for the youngest children to learn through play. Most kindergartens do not have playgrounds where the youngest children could play while improving their psychomotor and social skills.

ECD Afya! Improving sanitary conditions and promoting health of ECD children from the informal settlement of Mathare in Nairobi

The main aim of the project is to improve the water and sanitary conditions in kindergartens operating in the Mathare slums in Nairobi and to promote the health of children of preschool age. The project will cover facilities in Kiboro, Daima, Salama, Huruma, Ndururuno, Valley Bridge and Mathare, contributing to changes in health, hygiene and nutrition habits of preschool children, their parents and teachers.

In the project, 18 toilets and 15 points with access to water will be built, improving sanitation for 450 children. In every kindergarten a system for collecting rainwater will be set up. Two kindergartens will be furnished with separate kitchens and dining halls, to ensure balanced meals for 350 of the youngest children. In four kindergartens new playgrounds will be built.

The infrastructure undertakings will be followed by educational initiatives. Project actions will include training for 18 preschool teachers in hygiene and nutrition for a small child and their involvement in the health education programme prepared during the course. The workshops conducted in kindergartens and other health promoting initiatives will encompass 700 preschoolers. At least 300 parents will take part in seminars on health, hygiene and proper nutrition for their children.