Providing safe sanitation in the developing world is still a major hurdle to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with 61% of the global population lacking safely managed sanitation services, and hence not resilient to future changes. In low income countries, people’s sanitation needs are often served by onsite, with 5 billion people expected to be served by onsite sanitation by 2030. The existing forms of onsite sanitation such as pit latrines lack resilience to future shocks, as they are often prone to flooding, are difficult to empty in areas with a high water table and the practice of filling in a latrine and digging a new one becomes less viable with increasing urbanization. Whereas aspirations for improved sanitation from low income countries focus on sewer systems, the combination of high capital expense, high operational cost, high demand for water and installation difficulties in dense urban areas make this an unviable option for the near future. Thus the insufficiency of both existing onsite and sewer-based systems raises the need for new resilient ways of managing waste in low income cities.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) envisage integrated effects of each of the seventeen (17) goals and encompassing everyone towards global peace and prosperity by the year 2030. Among the most critical goal in the Global South is water and sanitation captured in SDG 6. SDG 6.2 specifically seeks to achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations.
Meru University of Science and Technology (MUST) is committed to addressing sanitation issues and has established a Sanitation Research Institute (SRI). The Centre is dedicated to research in Sanitation and is headed by Eng. Dr. Joy Riungu. Additionally, it is the only one of its kind in Kenya and the region. The University through the SRI is undertaking postgraduate professional training which is one of the key elements towards realization of the SDG6. On 20th May, 2021, fifty-three (53) participants were awarded Certificates after successfully completing a Short Course dubbed Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in Emergencies. The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Romanus Odhiambo, graced the Award Ceremony which was held virtually. Prof. Odhiambo congratulated the participants for this achievement and noted that the skills acquired through this training would play a critical role in building sustainable homes, cities as well as economies. The Vice-Chancellor encouraged the awardees to be sanitation problem solvers, change agents and go for excellence in Sanitation matters. During the ceremony the Vice-Chancellor also launched a Short Course in Public Health and Sanitation.