Give street kids free access to toilets

You will agree with me when I say that you can never be too careful when using the sidewalks in our urban centers, partly to avoid tripping over someone’s foot or because you never know what your foot may land on.

You could also be just walking, enjoying the cool wind after a long day at the office, when your nostrils suddenly get attacked by the acrid stench of urine from the sidewalks. Sanitation is an important issue in creating healthy and thriving communities.

In Nairobi, like many other counties, the presence of street people who lack access to proper sanitation facilities poses a significant challenge to public health. This is because they often lack access to clean and safe toilets forcing them to resort to open defecation or unsanitary alternatives.

Moreover, street people also face social stigma and discrimination making it difficult for them to access the existing public toilets. Also, one requires money to access this services. This is also a challenge as most of the street people cannot afford to make the payments most of the time. This exclusion further marginalizes them and perpetuates a cycle of unsanitary practices.

Therefore, providing free access to public toilets will empower the street people by acknowledging their basic human rights and promoting dignity. It will help contain the spread of diseases and maintain overall public health. It will also help break down the social barriers and reduce stigmatization associated with being homeless.

Maintenance of public toilets

However, to implement this initiative effectively, the government will have to collaborate with non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) and local authorities. The NGO’s can provide support through funding, infrastructure development and outreach programs, while the local authorities can facilitate the establishment and maintenance of public toilets.

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Other than just providing the free public toilets, the government could also incorporate the use of educational campaigns to promote proper hygiene practices among street people. This initiatives can be workshops about how to access the free toilets, proper waste disposal and the importance of maintaining clean surroundings.

Furthermore, raising awareness about the challenges faced by street people and the need to provide them with access to free public toilets is essential. This sensitization can elicit empathy, combat stereotypes and encourage communities to support and participate in initiatives aimed at improving the sanitation conditions of street dwellers for common good of society.

Regular cleaning, maintenance checks and restocking of necessary supplies should be part of a comprehensive plan to maintain the facilities because ensuring the upkeep and cleanliness of the public toilets is vital to promote sustained use.

Besides, engaging local communities, businesses and residents in the maintenance and management of public toilets can foster a sense of ownership and responsibility which will help ensure the long-term sustainability of the initiative.

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