While Kenya is the most developed of African countries, a study by the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) on behalf of Kenya’s Ministry of Public Health found that handwashing with soap is still rare in Kenya. The specifics of the study found:
- Handwashing with soap in school is almost nonexistent – only 1% washed hands with soap and 28% washed hands in some way
- 77% of primary school children do not wash hands with soap especially in schools, leaving them vulnerable to suffering from diarrhea.
- Handwashing with soap takes low priority at the household level. It comes after bathing, doing laundry and washing dishes. The research noted that Kenyans wash their hands with soap after leaving the toilet and but not before handling food. It seems that few people understand the relationship between the lack of washing hands and diseases.
- The study recommended that any handwashing messages should mainly target women since they are the key decision makers on soap usage at the household level.
Keeping these finds in mind, GSP USA has actively engaged in WASH education in schools and well as targeted women’s groups for WASH training. The goal is to change behavior so handwashing with soap becomes a habit.