From: Kazeem Biriowo, Abuja
Hope Spring Water Charity Foundation in partnership with WaterAid Nigeria took to the street of the Federal Capital Territory to sensitize residents on the dangers of open defeacation.
The public education which was tagged “Vote for WASH” was carried out to support the State of Emergency declared by Federal government on Nigeria’s Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Sector.
Speaking with Agronature Nigeria in an interview Country Director, Hope Spring Water Charity Foundation, Temple Oraeki said the awareness became necessary due to poor public knowledge about water, sanitation and good hygiene (WASH).
His words: “We are sensitizing people on danger of open defecation and we believe this is the best time to do that.
“This is the best period to get it done because first, election is coming up next year and as an NGO, we are inforning citizens to hold the aspirants accountable, that is why we came up with the idea of “Vote for Wash”.
Oraeki also made it clear that “Vote for WASH” is a campaign initiative and do not have anything to do with politics.
He emphasised that when the political aspirants come to ask for votes during campaigns, citizen must also demand that WASH should be given priority.
He further described the campaign as part of activities to promote and commemorate the World Toilet Day coming up on the November 19th.
In his remark, the Coordinator, Policy and Sector Capacity, WaterAid Nigeria, Mr Saheed Mustafa said the organisation is committed to improve access to water and sanitation as it is the key to proper healthy living.
“Event such as this is an opportunity for us to raise awareness on issues Nigerians are facing when it comes to access to Water and Sanitation Hygiene.”
“This is an opportunity for us to further deepen the work we are doing in the country and across so many states we have worked,” he added.
The Chief Scientific Officer, Ministry of Water Resources, Mrs Kogbara Ayaba called on the private sector to invest in WASH sector, especially in the area of building public toilets in strategic areas of need in the city centers and surburb to stamp out the menace of open defecation.
She disclosed that government has launched open defecation free campaign to sensitize the Nigerians on the ill effect of open defecation in the country and to work together to end it.
Sustainable Africa Waste Initiative (SAWI) Operation Manager, Adesuwa Obasuyi during the event described the WASH sector as very important to the environment and a clean environment is what her organisation champions at SAWI.
She said, “when there is a poor waste management system, surface and ground water can get polluted, this in turn makes safe hygiene & sanitation impossible.”
“While tackling the issues in the sector, waste management should also be considered majorly in trying to make a headway out of the current state of emergency declared on WASH in Nigeria.
“As an NGO working towards the attainment of the SDGs, we will continue to play our part in advocating for a working waste management system and reducing the environmental impact of waste in Nigeria.” She added.