Schools in urban slums often have very few toilets, if any. They are difficult to clean and costly to empty, which results in dirty and full toilets. Each year, children lose 272 million school days due to diarrhoea and other diseases caused by lack of water, sanitation and hygiene. Girls often do not attend school during menstruation, or they drop out at puberty due to the lack of clean and private sanitation facilities.

In Kibera, the second-largest urban slum in Africa, the schools together with Peepoople have taken action and are changing the situation for their children. Teachers, parents, and children are working together for a cleaner, safer and healthier community.

Read their stories here:

Rahab Mbochi, Peepoople Kenya

Rahab Mbochi is a 24-year-old Kenyan woman who was brought up in the Kibera slum, outside of Nairobi. She attended both primary and secondary school in Kibera. Now she is the head of Research and School Projects at Peepoole Kenya.

As she has experienced first-hand, very few schools in Kibera have sufficient sanitation solutions. In reponse to this, Peepoople began to sell Peepoos to schools. As of the beginning of 2012, more than a dozen schools and day-care centres with an estimate of more than 2,000 students in total are served with toilets on a daily basis.

Working with the Peepoo solution means a lot to Rahab. “I personally think that Peepoo is a solution that has helped impact many people’s lives either directly or indirectly. It’s a solution that helps the sick, the elderly, people with disabilities, children and has also considered both sexes, old and young people. It’s an innovative idea that can be implemented anywhere.”

Rahab is, as is everybody engaged in Peepoople, very passionate. “My interest in community work mainly lies in people’s empowerment. Women empowerment is especially at my heart, helping them understand why to save their money to achieve financial independence. Also, not forgetting to empower young girls to understand the need for education, so as to help them vie for top jobs, which in return help in the eradication of poverty. It is helping them understand their human rights and how to advocate and lobby for their right to sanitation, right to education and proper housing among other things.”


Anne Wambui, Anwa Academy

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In early March we visited Anwa Academy, a primary school situated in Kibera slum in Nairobi, and we met with headmaster Ann Wambui.

To reach Anwa Academy we walk through narrow alleys far into Kibera, Africas second largest slum. The houses all look the same; very small and made of mud or tin sheets. An average family has a one-room shack of around 12 square meters. Kibera resembles a labyrinth to an outsider, and we would never have found the way on our own.

As we walk down a small path between mud walls, a door of metal sheet suddenly swings open, and behind the high walls another world appears; A world of laughter, colour and freedom, a child’s world.

Anwa Academy’s schoolyard is small, but the creativity at this school is visual everywhere. Children’s drawings cover the walls and the colourful decorations around the yard shows that this is a space for and by children. Headmaster Ann shows the way into her little office next to one of the larger classrooms.

Ann is full of life and her joyful attitude directly wares off on all of us. With a big smile she says; “You need to be creative when you run a school in the slum. Because we have no money. The school should be a place for kids to be kids, where they can be safe and comfortable. Life is so difficult in the slum, but school – that should be their free space.”

Ann pulls out a large notebook from one of the unstable shelves behind her. She shows a long list of children’s names, only about 25% of them has an amount written next to them. Ann explains; “I have a school fee, but only about a quarter of the children pay, and not even half of the fee. But I will never throw a child out from the school, because then I will see them on the streets and they will have no where to go during the day, and they will get into trouble. All children are welcome here. We have to put the interest of the children first. The children’s life depend on what we can give them here, today, in our school.”

But the lack of hygienic sanitation in Kibera previously made it hard for Ann to secure a clean and safe school environment for her pupils; “Before we had pit latrines. But they were hard to keep clean and we had bad smell and flies everywhere. And our teachers had to spend their time on cleaning the pit latrines instead of teaching.”

We walk out from the office and Ann starts talking about the Peepoo programme; “You know, since we got Peepoo, the cases of illness have disappeared. The kids used to have such bad stomach-ache, and then it is very hard for the small ones to focus in class. The school is now clean and safe, and the teachers can spend all their time in the classroom, teaching. We are so happy.”

We ask if the parents have had any concerns regarding the Peepoo programme and Ann answers with another smile; “At first the parents were opposing the Peepoo. But we invited them together with the Peepoople team and we had a meeting. We told them about our problems and how Peepoo is helping the children. And now even the school enrolment has gone up. Some parents also buy Peepoo for their home.”

We say our good byes, and our hearts are overwhelmed by all the compassion this woman has for the children of the slum. Kibera is a tough place, but it is also filled with a lot of love and gratitude.

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Josiah Mwania Munyuti, Headmaster

St John is a primary school that is situated in Silanga, in Kibera, and was started back in 2002 by the strong and passionately engaged Josiah Mwania. Today, the school has a population of more than 1,000 students. All are between the ages of three and 16. The school has a total of 19 teachers and Josiah works at the school as its headmaster.

Joasiah speaks proudly about his school. “I was lucky enough to know about the Peepoople project. My school is now using the Peepoo toilet. Many children are interested and demand to use the Peepoo toilet. Sometimes when an attendant goes to look for water, they come to ask for Peepoo at my office.”

The school purchases Peepoos from Peepoople, who is also supporting the school with educational programs as well as initially helping to monitor the children when they are using the Peepoo toilets. Josiah as already seen the results. “I have seen improvement in our school compound and it has also reduced the cost of emptying the full toilet. My advice to many schools within Kibera is to start using the Peepoo toilet, since there is no place to build a toilet for our students. Now the work is easy for teachers. There is a great difference in terms of hygiene and children are no longer affected by diseases.”


Kennedy Amiru, Bethel School

Peepoople took an interest in Bethel School in Gatwekera, in the spring of 2011, when looking for a school setting that was suitable for testing the Peepoo solution. Previously, the school had only two latrines. These were shared by all of the teachers and students. The school had difficulties in keeping the latrines clean and gladly accepted the offer from Peepoople to test the Peepoo solution in Bethel School. The test proved to be successful and the Peepoo solution has stayed on. It is now supported by the school itself.

As part of the test, bag gardens were put up at Bethel school and Peepoo was used as fertiliser. Because the school has a meal program, the kale and spinach that are harvested are served for lunch at the school. The teachers also harvest and cook for their families.

Bethel School has day care, pre-unit and primary section, and approximately 200 students in total. One of them is Kennedy Amiru, 8 years old, who with a giggle tells us about his first encounter with Peepoo. “I used to hate Peepoo toilet and I had never wanted to use it, even though the other children like me were using it. One day I got diarrhoea in school. I had no choice but to use the Peepoo toilet. It really helped me a lot and since that day I am always the first person to use the Peepoo toilet in our school. Peepoople Kenya lives forever because you have really saved lives.”


Mohammed Abdulai, Organic Farming

Mohammed Abdulai Muhammad’s life is typical of many young boys growing up in the world’s urban slums where one way of surviving is by being engaged in criminal activities. For Mohammed, his life took a different turn. “I am now 32-years-old. Before joining Peepoople, I was dealing with criminals. The group was not good.“

As the result of a tragic outcome from a gang confrontation, Mohammed made a crucial decision. “The idea came from seven group members who sat together and saw the importance of not stealing from people after we lost 30 members in our group. We decided together with youth in the community how they could change their behaviour and attitude. It was difficult, but slowly they accepted. From there we came up with many projects to keep them busy and to give them confidence and to bring togetherness in the community, the group and even the administration.”

Mohammed’s group started by clearing a dumpsite in the slum and setting up a horticultural garden called Organic Farming, which has been very successful and Mohammed could move on to new challenges.

“Peepoo project has now employed me and many friends from Silanga. I live in Kambi Muru in Kibera. I was introduced to Peepoo through a friend called Suu Kahumbu. Then we started to use Peepoos in our bag garden. From there we started to change and our group was reformed. The group is called Youth Reform Self Help Group.”

At Peepoople, Mohammed is in charge of developing the ways to best increase yields in bag gardens, backyard gardens and school gardens. “Peepoos are really a fertiliser and can be used to make the green vegetables to grow healthy. In our bag gardens it works, but we came to realise that when you put too much of it, the plants start to burn.”