Archive for November, 2012

November 26, 2012

En prélude au Forum de haut niveau sur l’eau et l’assainissement: EAA-Bénin sonne la mobilisation de la délégation béninoise

Après la première édition tenue en décembre 2011 à Ouagadougou, l’Agence intergouvernementale panafricaine Eau et Assainissement pour l’Afrique (EAA) organise du 12 au 14 décembre prochain à Dakar, la 2e édition du Forum de haut niveau sur l’eau et l’assainissement. Un rendez-vous attendu de tous les vœux par les acteurs pour accélérer les progrès et prendre de nouveaux engagements. Afin de mieux préparer la participation de la délégation béninoise, EAA-Bénin était face à la presse le mardi 20 novembre pour partager avec les acteurs du secteur et les populations, les enjeux et objectifs de ce forum.

Alain TOSSOUNON (Bénin)

Evaluer et capitaliser les succès et les engagements de la première édition, faire le point de la mise en œuvre des engagements des Etats en matière de promotion de l’accès des populations aux services d’eau et d’assainissement. Tels sont les objectifs de ce forum de haut niveau attendu pour servir de plateforme d’échanges et pour offrir un cadre de dialogue de haut niveau aux multiples acteurs qui opèrent dans les secteurs de l’eau et de l’assainissement en Afrique.
Face a la presse, le Représentant résident de EAA au Bénin, Malomon Jean Yadouléton, a précisé que le thème central des discussions pour cette 2e édition portera sur ” Les Financements et les investissements innovants pour accélérer l’accès à l’hygiène, à l’assainissement et à l’eau potable pour tous en Afrique “. Un thème dont le choix se justifie par la faiblesse des financements notée au cours de la première décennie du millénaire (2000 – 2010).
En effet, la politique de la main-tendue fondée sur «l’aide publique au développement» s’est révélée comme une approche peu durable. Et au Représentant résident d’ajouter que «malgré l’importance des financements surtout en termes de volume, le sous-secteur de l’assainissement reste largement sous financé». En référence au rapport GLAAS 2012 qui indique que seuls 9 % des pays ont déclaré disposer d’un financement adéquat pour le secteur, il souligne que la tenue de ce forum s’impose pour imaginer des financements innovants afin de faire face de façon efficace aux besoins du secteur. Surtout que, selon le Chargé de programme de EAA-Bénin, Hector Kpangon, 300 millions d’Africains n’ont pas encore accès à l’eau et 500 millions ne disposent pas d’un assainissement décent. Ainsi, pour répondre au défi majeur du sous financement du secteur, il a indiqué que le forum de Dakar permettra de définir des mécanismes innovants de financement et d’investissements au profit d’un secteur HAEP dynamique et performant, de catalyser la collaboration entre les investisseurs et les innovateurs dans le but de rendre disponible les services et produits d’HAEP aux populations sous-servies et non servies. Et enfin de traduire les engagements pris par les Etats africains en actions urgentes à travers l’institutionnalisation, la matérialisation des mécanismes de suivi des progrès et la revue des pairs.
Très ambitieux, le forum de Dakar réunira plusieurs acteurs provenant aussi bien du secteur privé que public. Ainsi, en dehors des représentants des gouvernements, des acteurs du secteur et bailleurs de fonds, le secteur privé notamment les Petites et Moyennes Entreprises sont attendus parmi les 700 participants.

Le Bénin se prépare activement
Afin de mieux se préparer, EAA-Bénin a juste après la conférence de presse invité les acteurs, institutions et structures du secteur pour non seulement partagé les enjeux du forum mais aussi les modalités de participation. Plus encore, les acteurs ont échangé sur les stratégies et dispositions indispensables pour une forte et bonne participation du Bénin.
Ainsi, pour une participation de qualité aux échanges au cours du forum, le chargé de programme a partagé avec les acteurs présents à cette séance de concertation, les initiatives innovantes de financement de l’eau et de l’assainissement mises en œuvres par différents acteurs du Bénin. Au nombre de ces initiatives, on retient l’initiative de “Crédit fonctionnement comité de gestion de latrines communautaires” de la Fondation Raoul Follereau, celles de “Crédit AGR avec épargne pour réalisation de latrines ECOSAN” et “Tontine pour latrines dans certains villages” de EAA, et les initiatives naissantes de DCAM/BETHESDA relatives au Crédit assainissement pour les structures de pré-collecte de déchets de Parakou, crédit eau et assainissement dans les Collines ou encore crédit assainissement avec mise en place des associations villageoises d’épargne et de crédit.
Face à l’importance de ce rendez-vous important de Dakar, le Représentant résident a indiqué que quatre ministres du gouvernement et trois maires ont été invités par EAA-Bénin pour porter la voix officielle des populations béninoises. Mais, il est souhaité que tous les autres acteurs (ONG, chercheurs, DGEau, DNSP, bureaux d’études…) se mobilisent pour que le Bénin constitue une forte délégation mieux que par le passé. De même, tous les acteurs devront se mobiliser pour que le Bénin anime un bon stand pour la visibilité de notre pays. Un appel a alors été lancé pour que les acteurs contribuent à l’animation de ce stand en exposant suivant les formats appropriés, les technologies innovantes d’HAEP à faible coût, les bonnes pratiques en matière d’HAEP ; les expériences de mécanisme de financement innovant de l’eau et de l’assainissement.
La rencontre a pris fin après de fructueux échanges sur les stratégies pour garantir la participation effective des ministres mais aussi des autres acteurs. Désormais, le message de la mobilisation est passé tout en espérant que le Bénin ne ratera pas le rendez-vous et aura une participation de qualité.

November 26, 2012

Le 10.7 Billion Water Project for two Districts in Sierra Leone

By Mustapha Sesay
Mustaphasesay25@yahoo.com
+232 78540108

Residents of Kailahun District and Mile 91 in the Tonkolili District are currently breathing some form of relief with the instillation of water treatment plants to access pipe born water.
The Sierra Leone Water Company (SALWACO) charged with this responsibility has completed the installation of water treatment plants and its distribution networks at Mile-91 and Kailahun for the provision of safe drinking water for residents struggling to access pipe born water.
According to the Acting Director General of the Sierra Leone Water Company Victor Hastings Spaine the water supply project for mile 91 in the Tonkolili District was funded by the Government of Sierra Leone to the tune of (Le10.7b) to ensure households access pipe born water.
He also stated that the Kailahun water supply project was funded by the EXIM Bank of India as extended a line of US $ 30 million to the government of Sierra Leone for financing rehabilitation of existing water facilities and addition of new infrastructure to supply potable water to six areas across the country geared towards enhancing improved water supply for residents.
He said the project has been completed by Angelique International an Indian based company and residents have started using the pipe born water from their taps for drinking and domestic use in their homes so as to improve the living the standards of the people aimed at achieving the millennium development goals by 2015.
Explaining further Mr. Spaine said SALWACO has constructed 11kilo meters of transmission line and 9 kilo meters of distribution line for SLAWACO with state of art technology treatment plant and laboratory with a 250 cubic meters of water reservoir.
He added that SALWACO has also constructed 2 kilo meters of transmission lines and 13 kilo meters of distribution line with a state of the art technological treatment and laboratory for a 750 cubic meters of reservoir at mile 91.

The Administrative and Finance Officer of SALWACO Mariama Jalloh implored locals to handle the taps with care so as to sustain the project for the benefit of the residents in the area.
She also told beneficiaries of the SALWACO water project at Mile -91 and Kailahun to embrace the project for the effective use of the water supply and cautioned against destruction of the taps by Locals.
Residents of Kailahun and Mile -91 expressed thanks and appreciation to the Government of Sierra Leone and the Sierra Leone Water Company for completing the project.
Residents said it took over forty years for them to get access to pipe born water in both Mile-91 and Kailahun and promised to utilize the facilities for the benefit of all the people.
kailahun picture

November 26, 2012

Amadou Lamine Dieng, Dg Onas, sur les boues de vidange : « Faire en sorte que les ménages bénéficient du biogaz et de l’éclairage »

Entretien réalisé par Idrissa Sané

Le directeur général de l’Office national de l’assainissement du Sénégal (Onas), Amadou Lamine Dieng a apporté des éclairages sur le démarrage prochain de la production de biogaz dans 3 nouvelles stations. Les Sénégalais, dit-il, seront les premiers bénéficiaires de cette source d’énergie.

L’atelier sur la production de biogaz vient de prendre fin. Que retenir d’essentiel ?
Nous sortons réconfortés de cette rencontre, parce que les communications sont de qualité. De plus, les échanges ont été enrichissants. Il ressort que les entreprises chinoises ont une bonne maîtrise du biogaz. Nous avons constaté que 75 % des habitants des quartiers utilisent les fosses septiques dans les départements de Pikine et de Guédiawaye. Dans cette zone, nous avons un projet financé par la Fondation Bill et Melinda Gates. C’est un programme de restructuration de la vidange dans la banlieue. Les fosses septiques se remplissent et posent souvent des problèmes de traitement et de transport des boues. Dans le cadre de ce projet, nous sommes en train d’organiser la collecte, le transport et la valorisation de ces déchets. Nous voulons mettre les boues de vidange au service de la production du biogaz. Aujourd’hui, avec des échanges, nous avons des perspectives très intéressantes. Cela est en phase avec les orientations du président de la République, Macky Sall. Le gouvernement du Sénégal ambitionne, en effet, de porter à 20 % la part de l’énergie renouvelable dans notre consommation énergétique. Lorsqu’on parle d’énergie renouvelable, on ne peut pas oublier le biogaz. Donc, c’est une initiative qui est en phase avec les politiques publiques. Nous pensons qu’avec le soutien des Fondations, comme Bill et Melinda Gates, nous ferons beaucoup de choses dans ce domaine.
A quand le démarrage effectif du projet ?
Nous avons d’abord obtenu le financement. L’accord de don a été signé le 6 novembre dernier par le ministre de l’Economie et des Finances pour un montant de 3,6 millions de dollars américains. Cela est un atout à ne pas négliger. Nous voulons, à travers ce financement, affiner la recherche dans la technologie et construire une usine de production de biogaz. Nous avons déjà identifié le site à Tivaoune Peul. Nous ferons en sorte que le biogaz soit utilisé pour la consommation des ménages et l’éclairage. Il y a des recherches qui sont en train d’être faites.
L’Onas est-il techniquement prêt à s’orienter vers la production du biogaz ?
Nous sommes dans un cadre qui nous permet d’évoluer vers la production du biogaz. Nous ne partons pas du néant. Faudrait-il rappeler que le Sénégal a un programme national de biogaz ? Ce programme a été présenté. Ce sont des communications très pertinentes sur la problématique. Cette production doit se faire avec les boues de vache. Aujourd’hui, il y a 371 biodigesseurs installés dans les milieux ruraux. Ils sont utilisés pour la consommation des ménages en termes d’éclairage et de source d’énergie pour la combustion. L’Onas s’inscrit dans le Programme national de biogaz.
La gestion de trois stations sera affectée à des privés. Qu’est-ce qui justifie cette décision ?
La vocation de l’Office national de l’assainissement du Sénégal (Onas) n’est pas de faire des activités commerciales. On s’est rendu compte que, dans le cadre des stations de boues de vidange qui ont été réalisées, nous avions des relations quasi commerciales avec des vidangeurs. Pour mettre en place une organisation très forte, il faut que le secteur privé soit fortement impliqué. C’est ce qui explique notre démarche d’affectation des stations au secteur privé. Nous avons préparé des cahiers de charges pour intéresser les organisations à la gestion de ces stations. Ce sont les vidangeurs qui transportent les boues. Il ne faudrait pas qu’ils soient écartés de leur gestion. Nous avons lancé un appel d’offres pour que les trois stations qui seront construites, soient totalement privatisées. Les évaluations sont en cours et, très prochainement, la gestion sera transférée au privé.

November 24, 2012

World Toilet Day

By Mustapha Sesay
Mustaphasesay25@yahoo.com
Wash media network Sierra Leone
November 19th is World Toilet Day, a day specially set aside to raise awareness on the need for access to good toilet facilities as 2.5 billion people are without access to a clean, private toilet.
Sanitation is a fundamental human right, 297 million African women and girls lack safe and adequate sanitation and of those 107 million do not have a toilet at all.
On this note, as we continue to observe this year’s World Toilet Day, there are a lot of questions that deserve consideration. Prominent among are how is the country struggling to cope with the construction of toilet in the Urban and Rural areas? What are the facilities for public toilets in the urban towns? Are houses making adequate provision for toilet facilities before their construction? And how can we stop the poor toilet facilities in our areas.
Years back, it was a laudable venture for those building houses to first put in place sanitation facilities as there were Sanitary Inspector Officers who went from place to place at different times to inspect and find defaulters. With this, most places were not only conducive for human habitation but also lack the risk of high infection.
In schools, the toilets were cleaned at regular intervals for the use of children, and teachers were encouraged to teach Health and Sanitation topics. With this, most classrooms were equipped with buckets containing water and toiletries for the washing of hand before eating or after the use of the toilet.
There were strict policies for improved sanitation in schools. Special sites were located for the dumping of waste materials that were later burnt at the end of the day. It is unfortunate that with the advent of the war, a lot of mushroom dwellings and schools erupted at various places with little regards for the health status of the children.
This trend continues today as most heads of schools are more interested in making money than the welfare of the pupils thereby using uncompleted structures to house pupils. At most of their places, children are forced to leave the school compound for neighbouring houses to ease themselves. In some instances, where dysentery affects the pupils, most are left with no option but to mess up themselves.
It is an established fact that most schools do not have special toilets for girls as the one or two toilets are meant for over five hundred to one thousand children.
This is a major detriment to school children especially the girl child. In our town, it is no surprise that in the morning hours, people have been warned not to take wrapped black plastic bags along the road side. The reason being that at night toilets are placed into these black plastic bags and late at night, thrown in the streets as more of these houses are without toilets and the little spaces left have also been converted into commercial use.
The desperate situation is compared to some settlement in the city of Monrovia where (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Journalists for West Africa) one was opportune to get firsthand experience about their poor sanitation or toilet facilities for over a million residents living along the coastal areas. For them, the use of plastic bags to defecate and later thrown in the street at night is a common practice. Despite promises from authorities, the situation continues to exist.
In the rural areas where most Non-Governmental Organizations working on Sanitation do not have access, Open defecation is the order of the day. Many hold the notion that this act helps to replenish the lost nutrients in the used agricultural land. This is another way of spreading airborne diseases as flies sit on the infested toilets and later transmit the diseases on open food.
According to research no intervention has saved more lives than the construction of decent toilets in our schools or environments.
It is alarming to note that as one travels along the major streets of our urban town and cities, it is common to hear or note that the sewage in developing countries is discharged untreated into the rivers or the sea thereby polluting then and the coastal areas. Their reason being that enough structure or policies have not been put in place for the toilet or the city utilities. It is a matter of concern that very few and unkempt public toilets exist thereby resulting in people making long lines wanting to use these restrooms. Unlike the slum areas of Monrovia, children who cannot afford to pay would openly go to the river to bath or toilet.
As we celebrate this year’s World Toilet Day, policy makers, the Councils and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation will note that the construction of decent toilets at home or in public places bring dignity to oneself, privacy, safety and curtail health risks.
With this, it was prudent to those who thought of the idea on 2001, 19th November to observe this day as an annual event so as to raise awareness, break this taboo involved around toilets and draw the attention of all to this issue of toilet facilities for all.
It is with this backdrop that the Water, and Sanitation Media Network, a sub-regional group in Sierra Leone (WASH Journalists Sierra Leone) is trying to draw the attention of policy makers, Landlords and other agencies to make more public toilets and to empower Sanitary Inspectors to take to task houses without toilet facilities in the urban areas
In a press release issued by Water Aid, every seven in ten women in sub-Sahara Africa have no access to safe toilet which is threatening their health status and also exposing them to shame, fear and violence
According to Barbara Frost, Chief Executive of WaterAid, “When women don’t have a safe, secure and private place to go to the toilet they are exposed and put in a vulnerable position and when they relieve themselves in the open they risk harassment. Women are reluctant to talk about it or complain, but the world cannot continue to ignore this.”
“Adequate sanitation, coupled with access to clean, safe water to drink, transforms lives, improving health, safety and productivity. Governments are urged to take action and invest in access to sanitation and water.”
At this point, WASH Journalist Sierra Leone joins others to call for total commitment to access decent toilets and sanitation facilities.

November 21, 2012

Faire de l’intégrité de l’eau une réalité dans la région de Ziguinchor, Casamance, au Sénégal

Posted on November 16, 2012 by Water Integrity Network

Cet article blog a été écrit par Françoise Ndoume, coordonnatrice de programme de développement des capacités et d’Afrique Francophone au Réseau d’Intégrité de l’Eau (WIN)

D’après le Rapport Mondial sur la Corruption dans le secteur de l’eau 2008, « La crise de l’eau à travers le monde est avant tout une crise de la gouvernance du secteur », mais le lien entre l’intégrité de l’eau et un accès équitable à l’eau potable n’est pas toujours évident. Il s’avère en conséquence important d’œuvrer à une meilleure gouvernance dans le secteur, si l’on veut endiguer les mauvaises pratiques qui entravent son bon fonctionnement et garantir un accès équitable à l’eau aux populations surtout les plus démunies.
Dans le cadre de leurs efforts visant à promouvoir l’intégrité de l’eau, WIN et ACRA (Organisation pour la coopération en milieu rural en Afrique et en Amérique latine) ont organisé le 8 novembre 2012 un exercice sur l’Evaluation Annotée de l’Intégrité de l’Eau (EAIE) en milieu rural dans la région de Ziguinchor en Casamance, au Sénégal. L’EAIE est un outil diagnostic qui permet d’obtenir un bref aperçu de l’intégrité du secteur d’une part; et de cibler les zones prioritaires d’action d’autre part.
Les intervenants clefs du sous-secteur de l’eau potable de la région de Ziguinchor en Casamance issus des structures gouvernementales, telles que la Préfecture, la Direction Régionale de l’Hydraulique du Ministère en charge de l’Eau ; des collectivités locales ; des Associations des Usagers de Forage (ASUFOR) ; de la société civile (CONGAD, Forum Civil, etc.), des structures privées de prestataires de services ou opérateurs privés ; des partenaires techniques et financiers (WIN, ACRA, USAID, entre autre) ont pris part aux travaux de l’atelier
L’exercice , qui a duré une journée, a démarré par des notes de bienvenue des officiels et des organisateurs. Emboitant le pas aux officiels, les facilitateurs ont tour à tour présenté la trame de fond de l’exercice, fourni une explication du concept de l’Intégrité dans le cadre de l’outil en relation avec les trois (3) piliers fondamentaux à savoir : Transparence, Redevabilité (Reddition des comptes) et Participation (TRP) dans la prestation des services liés à l’Approvisionnement en Eau Potable en milieu rural à Ziguinchor en Casamance. Selon la méthodologie de l’exercice, les participants ont procédé à l’analyse des trois piliers en relation avec cinq domaines à risques de corruption :
Politique et législation ;
Régulation ;
Projets et programmes d’investissements ;
Prestation de services ;
Législation anti-corruption.
Se refusant de faire de l’atelier un exercice dont les résultats ne seraient pas capitalisés, les participants ont défini une feuille de route visant à promouvoir l’intégrité dans le sous-secteur de l’eau potable en milieu rural dans la sous-région de Ziguinchor autour des axes principaux suivants :
la facilitation du dialogue sur l’intégrité dans le sous-secteur à travers notamment : i) l’organisation de deux restitutions des résultats de l’atelier au niveau national et à l’échelle de la région de Ziguinchor ; ii) la tenue des Conférences d’harmonisation des Interventions dans la région par le Préfet de la Région ; iii) Plaidoyer, suivi de la mise en œuvre des recommandations du dialogue et capitalisation en collaboration avec le Forum Civil
l’approfondissement de la situation de l’intégrité assortie de propositions de chantiers à activer dans le cadre du processus de relecture du Livre Bleu sur l’Eau et l’Assainissement de 2ème Génération du Sénégal, qui serait en phase de démarrage selon le Représentant du CONGAD qui a pris part à l’atelier ;
la promotion des bonnes pratiques et instrument d’intégrité au sein du sous-secteur
le renforcement des capacités des structures centrales et régionales de l’Etat pour le suivi harmonieux de la mise en œuvre des politiques et législation du sous-secteur d’une part ; et une meilleure coordination des interventions au niveau de la région ;
le renforcement des capacités des communautés et de la société civile de base tant sur les textes qui régissent la gestion du sous-secteur que sur leur participation aux processus de reddition de compte à tous les niveaux.
Si les participants à l’atelier entendent faire de l’intégrité de l’eau une réalité dans la région de Ziguinchor, ils devraient à ce stade intégrer leurs efforts dans un cadre de suivi cohérent qui permettrait de venir à bout la corruption dans le secteur de l’eau et garantir un accès équitable et durable des populations à l’eau potable dans la sous-région de Ziguinchor. WIN, ACRA et les autres acteurs impliques se doivent d’œuvrer dans ce sens.

November 21, 2012

Liberia: 82% of Liberian women lack safe toilets

Published by Berttee Forkpabio

As the Nation Observes World Toilet Day – As Liberia joins countries the world over to celebrate this year’s World Toilet Day November 19, 82% of Liberian women are said to be without a safe toilet thereby increasing their risk of illnesses, shame, harassment and violence.
Mr. Apollos Nwafor, Country Representative of WaterAid Liberia, speaking recently to the WASH Media Network of Liberia (WASH R&E)
over eight in ten women in Liberia have no access to a safe toilet, which threatening their health and exposing them to shame, fear and even being violated in the process.
According to Mr. Apollos Nwafor, 1.6 million Liberian women and girls lack safe and adequate sanitation and of those over 900 thousand don’t have a toilet at all.
The Report further said the lack of decent sanitation also affects productivity and livelihoods, which women and girls living in Liberia without toilet facilities spend 165 million hours each year finding a place to go in the open,and creating poor hygiene which is serious implications on health, causing over a thousand Liberian mothers to lose a child to diarrhoeal diseases caused by a lack of adequate sanitation and clean water every year.
The WaterAid Country Representative said when women don’t have a safe, secure and private place to go to the toilet they are exposed and put in a vulnerable position and when they relieve themselves in the open they risk harassment. Women are reluctant to talk about it or complain, but the world cannot continue to ignore this.” Mr. Nwafor asserted.
Meanwhile, Mr. Apollos Nwafor of WaterAid is joining the call of hundreds of organisations in liberia and around the world, for governments to keep the promises they have made to get adequate sanitation and safe water to the world’s poorest people.
Mr. Nwafor also said other studies from Uganda, Kenya, India and the Solomon Islands show that such experiences of fear, indignity and violence are common place wherever women lack access to safe and adequate sanitation.
He further encouraged all stakeholders to use this day (World Toilet Day) to stand up for women and girls to hold decision makers account to “Keep their promises”.
Mr Nwafor said WaterAid’s vision is a world where everyone has access to safe water and sanitation.
According to him, WaterAid as an international organisation working in 27 countries across Africa, Asia and the Pacific region to transform lives by improving access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation in some of the world’s poorest communities.
He also said Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 17.5 million people with safe water and, since 2004, 12.9 million people with sanitation.
He maintained that WaterAid prioritizes access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene because globally around 2,000 children die every day from diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation.
Mr. Nwafor further said 783 million people in the world live without safe water which is roughly one in eight of the world’s population, and that 2.5 billion people live without sanitation which is 39% of the world’s population.
Meanwhile, this year’s World Toilet Day is celebrated under the global them: “Keep Your Promises” on safe drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), with a focus on Women access to safe toilets.
In Liberia, World Toilet Day will be officially celebrated in three counties; Montserrado, Bomi and River Gee.
For Bomi and River Gee counties, there will be a grand parade throughout the principle streets of Tubmanburg and Fishtown Cities respectively, and will climax with the presentation of a Position Statement to the two County Superintendents for onward presentation to Present Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.
For Monrovia the parade will commence at eight in the morning in front of the B.W. Harris School on Broad Street and will end at the Foreign Affairs Ministry with a Position Statement to President Sirleaf, WASH Goodwill Ambassador for Africa.
A release from the WASH Reporters & Editors Network of Liberia says World Water Day celebration in Liberia is coordinated by the Liberia CSOs WASH Network, in partnership with other WASH sector actors.

November 15, 2012

Impacts of flooding on WASH in Nigeria

 
                                                                                                                  Clara Wilson, Yenagoa
 
Several states in Nigeria were flooded recently leading to the displacement of  communities and set up of refugee camps to accommodate the internally displaced citizens.
Now the floods are receding in several states, but the residents face a new challenge. Their Water supply, sanitation, and Hygiene facilities have been damaged by the floods.
Bayelsa is one of the flooded states in Nigeria;  Clara Wilson writes from Meyal village and Yenagoa the  Bayelsa state capital where the floods have ravaged the boreholes, wells, and toilets of  both communities.

Flooded schools in Bayelsa state

The recent floods that ravaged some States in Nigeria have since receded but the pains and sorrow they left in their trail may remain with the people for some time.

In Bayelsa State, Schools are still to resume as some of the schools are used as relief camps for displaced persons who must pick the pieces of their lives and belongings.  Mrs. Grace Ayam is a teacher in Community Secondary School, Meyal near Yenagoa, the State capital who confirmed that “the rumour we are hearing now is that schools may not resume until next year when the first term earlier scheduled for September will commence.
This is because school premises are used as relief camps and facilities of such schools may not be able to serve the purpose of learning and relief at the same time”, she said, adding that “though some private schools have since resumed but there are more children in government owned school”. Meyal is home to rural dwellers majority of who are peasant farmers and artisans, infrastructure is still inadequate and pipe borne water is also golden.
Although Ayam’s school could not serve as a relief camp, it is still shut all the same due to the fact that the bridge linking the school to the community collapsed during the flood.  “My school is not being used as a relief camp because it is cut off from the community as the bridge connecting it to the community was washed away by the rains that led to the flood”.  When asked whether the flood also affected drinking water in the village, she said “of course, water supply was altered and that is the most needed thing and it is already polluted”.
Meanwhile, for water to be safe for drinking in the village and surrounding towns in the State, drinking water must be treated.  Mr. Pog-Osia is a borehole engineer who has handled a lot of borehole projects in Bayelsa and neighbouring States. He is of the opinion that water in the entire State must be disinfected from oil and the rubbish washed into it during the flood.
“Getting clean water in Bayelsa State is a challenge even before the flood because it is not easy to have access to water here.  The foundation of the water is not like in other places, our water has too much iron deposit, this make us to treat borehole water to make it safe for drinking”, said Pog-Osia.

Flooded communities in Bayelsa state, Nigeria

However, the engineer agrees that human beings need iron in the body system but it must not be in excess. “This is why we need to filter the water after drawing it out from the bore hole so we don’t take in too much of iron which is abundant in our soil”, he added.

He also stated that “alternative means of getting water in the area are the rivers.  It is also cheaper and could be safer to take water from the river because with the borehole, you have to do a lot of processing to arrive at the best drinking water apart from the cost of sinking the best boreholes”.  He  noted high level corruption in the water sector.
“Sometimes government officials want to make money and they embark on water project.  They go for borehole which is more expensive despite the fact that the rivers are alternative sources of water which the people are used to processing and these rivers produce fresh water and they don’t get dry during dry season”, he said, advising  a means of taking the water in large volume for processing.
Meanwhile, a community leader and also a drilling engineer, Elder Kenneth Adukpo-Egi confirmed that the pipe borne water provided by the government in the area is not enough.
“In the entire State, I can say that government’s pipe-borne water is only about 20% and this has taught most of the communities to have their own boreholes. Though there are water pipes around but most of them have been dry for long”, he said, continuing that “the government has a good plan about water supply but it has not been well implemented.  For instance there are some satellite water projects planned to serve the interiors but they have not functioned in the past 10 years and the laid pipes are already abandoned, thus the plight of the people when it comes to government’s water is enormous.”
The little amount supplied by the government is clean but like I mentioned, it is not enough.  Elder Adukpo-Egi also confirmed the iron content of the water found in Bayelsa State. “The terrain contains a lot of iron which filters into the water making it contain high iron property but it is not so injurious to human health as we often observe the filtering process, when it is excess, the people know it and filter such away”, he explained.
Since the majority live below poverty line in the village and surviving on meager income, there is the need for the government to subsidize water supply in the entire State. While many people cannot afford drilling boreholes, they have since devised a way round the problem.
“It is necessary for the government to subsidize the cost of drilling bore hole in the area especially in poor communities where people struggle to make ends meet.  Though people are helping themselves these days, for clean water to come out of the borehole, it must be 900metres deep and this cost about a million Naira, how many people can afford that?” Pog-Osia queried, adding that “though people are thinking through the alternatives they have, they ask borehole engineers to drill only 100 metres deep and filter, whereby paying lesser”.
Meanwhile, the health implication of drinking unsafe water is better imagined than experienced. Mrs. R. Amangele is a government trained Nurse from Bayelsa State who is sending warning signals to people in the riverine communities and areas affected by the recent flood.
“I have treated a lot of people with water borne diseases and it is so pathetic”, she said.  According to her, water-borne diseases manifest in various ways. Cholera for instance could manifest in stooling and vomiting, the patient has to be hospitalized.  They are all products of intake of unsafe water and the treatment varies, depending on how long the infection has stayed in the body and what the patient is manifesting, some even urinate blood, it is still a product of intake of unclean water”, she said.  Amangele however warned that “people should stop wadding in the water whenever it rains or floods, they could contract water borne diseases through that and they should ensure intake of boiled water, they should disinfect their water before drinking”.

Residents now commute on canoes

A student in the area who simply identified herself as Mary however complained that just like what obtains in the community, clean water is not enough in her community school.
“We struggle to get clean water for our sanitation, the government should come to our aid because water is life”.  She was however excited that the flood did not wreck much havoc in her quarters. “The flood was a terrible experience but I thank God for life”, she said.
However, if Pog-Osia’s warning is anything to pay attention to, the State may be preventing an outbreak of epidemic in major parts. “Now that the flood is receding, the government should ensure the treatment of boreholes and wells because most wells and boreholes are already contaminated, some septic tanks have broken and contaminated the underground water, we need urgent attention, not just in distribution of relief materials, there must be corresponding infrastructure replacement and I think the first should not just be provision of water, but provision of uncontaminated water”, he said.
According to him, there is the need to get compressor and chlorine for the boreholes.  “The compressor is about N7,000 and the needed chlorine for each borehole is just about N500 and workmanship is about N12,000. Though most rural people here are poor and old people who cannot afford this especially when some of them are yet to recover from their losses incurred during the flood, the government should come to our aid, else it will spend more to tackle an impending epidemic”, he pleads.
November 9, 2012

Cholera epidemic looms in Ekiti, as health workers strike enters eighth week

              By Wale Ajibade

It is no longer news that members of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) in Ekiti State, South West Nigeria, embarked on an industrial action nearly eight weeks ago to compel the state government to meet some demands they have tabled before it, what is now news is the devastating effects the action is having on water, sanitation and hygiene in communities across the sixteen local government areas of the state.
One would recall that the workers went on strike over the non-payment of the  N19,300 ( about $150) new minimum wage to workers, the payment of  Consolidated Health Salary Scale (CONHESS)  and Consolidated Medical Salary Scale  (CONMESS)  to health workers in the councils among others.

The strike involves workers in the water, environment and sanitation (WES) departments in all the sixteen Local Government Areas in Ekiti state, south west Nigeria.

The sanitation officers and environmental health officers are well-trained professionals monitoring and sustaining good sanitation and neat environment in their rural communities and building the capacity of the rural dwellers on current development on water sanitation and hygiene in their domains.

It is a bad development as heaps of refuse, weedy environment  and animal faeces now litter
public places like markets, post offices, palaces, even local government secretariats are not left out.

At Ikole-Ekiti in Ekiti North Senatorial District of the  state, heaps of refuse and weedy environment are noticeable at the King’s Market and the post office area.

According to the WES Coordinator in the council, Mr. Niyi Fagbuyiro, the drainage between Oke Jebu and Methodist Hospital in Ikole has been blocked and flooding has now become the order of the day.

Mr. Fagbuyiro said the central market is now oozing out offensive odour and that market women have abandoned the market as a result of the decomposing body of a mad
person near the market, as well as dead domestic animals.

Investigation also revealed that all the markets and drainages are maintained by local government workers if not on strike.

Mrs Toyin Ojo and Mrs Bose Afolabi , who are indigenes of the area, opined that epidemic is looming in the community if the industrial dispute is not quickly resolved.

At Ilejemeje Local Government Area , overgrown weeds, which is a natural harbour for dangerous animals, has taken over the secretariat.

Cholera victim

A market woman, Kemi Adeolu, and a student, Tope Abayomi, pointed out that there is open defecation by residents, heaps of uncleared refuse among other poor sanitation behaviours among the people, and that council sanitary inspectors are no where to call the people to order.

In Ekiti South West Local government Area, the popular Banana market at Ilawe Ekiti , a trader John Aruleoba stated that “four of the traders in the market were taken to the nearby clinic recently due to strange ailments as a result of the untidy nature of the market”.

A Banana dealer from the Northern part of the country Hassan Madaki noted that “open defecation by buyers and sellers around the market could cause serious epidemic if not checked”.

At Ikole,  in Ekiti North Senatorial District, a primary school teacher Mrs Toyin Ojo argued that “epidemic is imminent if the Industrial dispute between the Local Government Workers and the State Government is not resolved”. While Mrs Bose Afolabi, a market woman who had abandoned her shop in the market due to the offensive odour from the dead body of a mad person said “people’s lives are at risk of communicable diseases if the dead body and those of domestic animals are not removed from the market”.

At Ilejemeje , a student Tope Abayomi painted the ugly situation of sanitation in the area “there is open defecation by residents and heaps of uncleared refuse among other poor sanitary behaviours are common features as a result of the strike”.

All these are noticeable in all the 16 Local Government Areas in Ekiti State as public places like the Local Government Secretariats, Post Office Areas and some King Palaces which are usually cleared by the Local Government Workers have been over grown by weeds and harboured reptiles.
The WES Coordinator, Mr. Michael Adebisi, emphasised that lack of close monitoring of water points for adequate maintenance has led to cases of water-borne diseases such as diarrhoea.

November 8, 2012

Dam Mogbanté, Secrétaire exécutif du Partenariat ouest-africain de l’eau: “Il faut que l’exploitation minière prenne en compte les différents plans de gestion intégrée des ressources en eau”

Dans un contexte de boom minier dans la sous-région, les impacts environnementaux notamment les risques de pollution des ressources en eau sont à redouter. Dans cet entretien, le Secrétaire exécutif du Partenariat ouest-africain de l’eau partage avec nous son éclairage de la problématique de l’exploitation minière et ses impacts dur les ressources naturelles. Mais avant, il aborde les risques de rareté de l’eau dans le sahel et dans la sous-région avant de présenter la Gestion intégrée des ressources en eau (Gire) comme une alternative crédible pour une meilleure gestion de nos ressources.

Est-ce que de façon globale cette ressource se raréfie ?
Assurément oui ! L’évolution des populations, l’urbanisation et l’augmentation des populations des villes sont des facteurs qui accentuent les pressions sur les réserves en eau. Donc, on peut dire qu’elle se raréfie relativement. Mais, on peut aussi dire que les changements climatiques nous conduiraient à des cas de peu de précipitations ou des cas où il y aura beaucoup d’eaux. Donc, il faut une planification pour une utilisation judicieuse de cette ressource.

Quelle est l’alternative à la rareté de l’eau pour les pays du Sahel ?

Nous avons toujours milité pour une Gestion intégrée de la ressource en eau (Gire). C’est un concept qui nous permet de planifier en conséquence et de mettre en place tous les mécanismes organisationnels et de gestion nécessaires à la compréhension de la dynamique de l’eau et à sa connaissance. Il faut connaître la ressource et les besoins pour opérer les meilleures options en pour la gestion de la ressource. Il faut une gestion intégrée de la ressource. Nous parlons de la gestion intégrée de la ressource, ce n’est pas seulement la mise en place d’un cadre nécessaire mais aussi de les suivre et de les appliquer. Lorsque nous avions parlé de l’eau et de l’exploitation minière, il est apparu que les textes sont là mais on ne les respecte pas.

Quelle est votre regard sur la prise en compte de la Gestion intégrée de la ressource en eau ?

Il y a des efforts qui sont déployés. Il y a une évolution positive. Nous sommes de ceux qui pensent qu’il faut du temps pour que certaines actions et certaines réformes d’inspiration de Gestion intégrée de la ressource en eau (Gire) pour aboutir. Et, lorsqu’on voit tous les efforts déployés par la CEDEAO, à travers le Centre de coordination des ressources en eau, et lorsqu’on voit dans les pays, la mise en place des plans Gire, et la mise en place de plan de gestion de l’environnement, et même des programmes d’adaptation aux changements climatiques, c’est un ensemble de cadres et de programmes qui permettent de maîtriser et qu’elle permettent un tant soit peu d’aller vers une gestion optimisée. Cela ne va pas aussi vite que nous le souhaitons. Il faut qu’aussi bien les bailleurs que les autorités cessent d’aller en urgence et de faire, à chaque fois, des investissements sans qu’au préalable, on y associe tous ces éléments de gestion intégrée des ressources en eau.

Est-ce qu’il y a urgence à agir par rapport aux conséquences de l’exploitation minière sur la ressource en eau ?

Il y a un boom minier qui s’est emparé de la sous-région africaine. On croise un peu partout et on essaie de rechercher de l’or et d’autres minerais. C’est vrai que c’est important pour le développement économique, puisqu’il faut des devises mais en même temps on prendra cette activité dans un contexte général de développement, et l’eau est un intrant important dans la prospection et dans l’extraction, dans la mesure qu’elle rentrent dans le process. Ce sont des quantités énormes qu’il faut dans des mines. L’eau rentre dans ce process comme aussi le récepteur final, et une certaine pollution est à prévenir et à maîtriser. Il y a un arbitrage à faire, à l’échelle locale, par rapport à l’agriculture et aux besoins des villes mais aussi pour l’environnement au sens strict du terme de préservation des forêts et des zones humides. Donc, il faut que l’exploitation minière prenne en compte les différents plans de gestion intégrée des ressources en eau.

Quels sont les risques qu’on peut enregistrer au niveau de l’eau face à l’exploitation minière ?

Naturellement si on prend l’or, une fois qu’on veut l’exploiter, on exploite d’énormes quantités de terre. Et le minerai même contient des éléments chimiques, notamment souvent l’arsenic si bien que même si on en utilisait pas pour l’exploitation, ces éléments sont déjà une source de pollution. Ensuite, il faut voir le risque d’un point de vue localisé parce que lorsqu’on développe une exploitation minière, les rejets se font à un endroit donné. Donc, c’est plus souvent à cet endroit-là que le problème se pose parce que plus loin en aval, les effets de dilution et d’autres activités qui se mènent diminuent un peu la dangerosité de ce qui est libéré. Mais, sur le coup de l’environnement immédiat des mines, les eaux peuvent se trouver tellement affectées qu’elles ne seront plus propices à l’agriculture, qu’on a du mal à faire l’élevage. Il y a aussi l’aspect des eaux souterraines. On vous dira que dans les études d’impact environnemental, les miniers font tout pour imperméabiliser le sol et faire en sorte que les rejets n’attaquent pas les eaux souterraines. Mais, il faut reconnaître que c’est toujours un risque parce qu’on n’est jamais suffisamment sûr qu’on ne pollue pas la nappe. Or, de plus en plus avec les changements climatiques, les gens vont se porter sur l’exploitation des eaux souterraines pour l’alimentation des villes et même pour l’agriculture. Donc, l’inquiétude se situe exactement à ce niveau. En conséquence, il faut voir la question surtout sur le plan local, dans les environs immédiats des mines qui y sont toujours plus dangereuses. Et si c’est à côté des villes, les risques sont encore plus élevés.

Propos receuillis par Alain TOSSOUNON

November 7, 2012

Abuja residents in search of water, good sanitation

 

                                                                                                  Marcus Fatunmole , Abuja, Nigeria

Iddo is one of Abuja’s (Nigeria’s Federal Capital’s) sprawling satellite communities with about 30,000 residents in January 2012. The village is predominantly occupied by non-indigenes. While the natives are virtually farmers and artisans, the non-natives mainly work in the city while others engage in both artisanal and business activities.

Residents in search

Located few metres opposite the new site of University of Abuja, the community exists without significant infrastructure. The road leading to the village is ramshackle. With erratic electricity supply, residents of the community are most hit by acute water shortage. There is no functional public borehole even as the population of the University students living in the community keeps increasing, daily.

However, a public primary school with a separately-built junior secondary school, including a single-room police station are the only facilities bearing government presence in the settlement.

In April 2012, many houses in the village fell under the wheels of bulldozers of the Department of Development Control of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The Development Control had listed some villages along the airport road for demolition. Reason: structures in the villages, the Department claimed, did not get approval from the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT) administration. Iddo was unfortunately one of such communities. It was a period of multiple torments for the community. First, stench, oozing malodorous smell from different sections of the village blended with dust that enveloped the community, as the bulldozers tore down the structures.

Priscilia Jonah is a resident of the community, which currently has about 20,000 occupants. He told our reporter that “For those of us remaining in this place, we are not happy with the way people are managing their wastes. You see people dispose of domestic waste in the already blocked drainages. Every rainfall in this village is a threat because we are so close to the river. You know anything can happen should the flood refuse to get out of environment where houses are closely built near one another. I have always been afraid of the attitudes of our people. Go to their houses, many of them don’t have toilet. They defecate in the open. They litter everywhere with wastes. If you try to correct them, it will lead to quarreling.”

Iddo is no doubt one of the city’s communities that are on the precipice of environmental hazards. Since the community witnessed the rage of the FCT administration through its demolition exercise, many of the hitherto manageable problems have been compounded. Some persons who had dug boreholes in their homes before the demolition exercise have moved out of the village; while they left with the water equipment. The relics of fallen buildings in the village have also further disfigured the settlement. Files of fallen bricks are everywhere in the village; making them easy habitat for snakes, scorpion and other harmful reptiles.

Meanwhile, as houses of non-natives were mostly affected in the flattening exercise, many of the remaining houses in the community do not have basic toilet facilities. Many people, especially children defecate in the open. More worrisome are the polythene products that litter everywhere. Some of these products, which have been buried for years, surface whenever flood or heavy wind blows of the sand upon them.  

Like many settlements in Abuja, domestic animals contribute to growing filth in the community. There are goats, dogs, fowls and other domestic pets that move around the village unchecked. They defecate wherever they see and most often, no one cares to attend to those wastes. On many occasions, the wastes disappear with the flood, blown away by wind or trodden by residents.

Another major environmental disaster in the village is lack of motorable roads. Major roads in the village are footpaths which residents have forced their vehicles through. At every rainy season, these car owners find it difficult to drive their vehicles into their homes. The vehicles are usually parked at considerably “secured” places; sometimes in the homes of friends or neighbours.

There is a major river that flows across the farthest end of Iddo village. The natives usually find respite in this water, especially during the dry season. While the children have free bath in the river, the adults fetch it for domestic use. Meanwhile, this water dries up during the dry season. Then comes a great water challenge for the villagers. Many of them dig the dry channel to scoop water into their basins; even when such water is not safe for human consumption.

 On the other, in very few houses where borehole water is available for sale, it takes resident more than a day to get the water. Many of the residents keep broken basins at the borehole site to help determine when it would be their turn. In most cases, they do not get the water until the following day.

Another dimension to water crisis in this village is that while young men, popularly called “Meruwa”, who sell water in their wheelbarrows in the nation’s capital sell as low as N20 during dry season, challenge of bad road makes the persons who sell water in Iddo community increase the price even above N50 per 20 litres. The situation is also worse with the very few persons who sell through private boreholes to the community. They increase their prices at will.

November 6, 2012

WASH in School in Nigeria: findings of a Journalist

 By FRANCIS UMENDU ODUPUTE        

The school is overtaken by floods

Thursday, 27th September, 2012. 10:00a.m or thereabouts. Abies (not her real name) has just been asked out of the class. She had been down with illness and has not been in school for about a week and half now. Her peasant mother said the nurses at the health centre, (not too far from the school premises) had diagnosed stubborn malaria. But it looks like there is more to it than meets the eyes.

Abies managed to show up in school today but, midway between her classes, she began to throw up. The “Arithmetic Auntie” (subject teacher) had asked the 6 year-old girl to go out of the class so as not to vomit inside the jam-packed classroom, nor possibly infect the other pupils.

She had barely reached the corridor when her bosom friend and playmate, Kate (not her real name) also in primary 2, met her in an unusual position and gestures curiously. “… your belle dey pain you?” Kate queried her friend in pidgin English, meaning “…is your belly aching?’’. But Abies was busy battling for her life. She held her stomach a second time in split seconds and resumed her vomiting. “Doe o!”

Flooded school presmises

Kate quipped in vernacular, meaning “sorry!” “Your belle dey pain you?” She asked a second time, inquisitively. “No. E dey turn me and I dey feel cold”, Abies managed to reply at last but instantly resumed the battle for her health. Just then my camera’s lenses clicked to record the ensuing drama from my (investigative) “hide out”.

There is an apparent state of emergency here!

The rains this year have refused to stop and  the daily misery, environmental /health hazards and pains borne by inhabitants and indigenes of this large community and their immediate neighbours in Egor Local Government Area, Edo State,  South South Nigeria, are now a normal ritual and culture of sorts; and if the predictions by environment and climate change experts are anything to be taken serious, next year’s rains and its resultant flooding , erosion menace and health havoc should be worse than this year’s experience – just as this year’s rains and its resultant floods have eclipsed the 2011 flood furies in this part of the state.

Alas! Here at Evbuotubu Community, the worst hit victims are school children; and unless something urgent and drastic is done now by all relevant stakeholders, the gradually submerged school buildings may soon collapse on the helpless children and their teachers. Or, at least, an imminent epidemic might break out sooner or later. Why? How?

Open urination by a pupil

Minutes earlier, I was heading to the office of the headmistress of the second arm of the school, to book an appointment. The office was in the middle of a block of four classrooms, and walking across the first two classrooms to her office was very revealing.

Dutiful teachers were busy teaching and writing on the chalk boards or marking books on their tables while enthusiastic kids- some of whom sat on the muddy wet floor for want of chairs to sit on – listened with rapt attention while others were too busy copying notes to notice a visitor’s presence by the corridor.

As I approached the door of the school head, pungent smell filled the atmosphere around me. I looked around the erosion-ravaged premises and the large pools of water around, looking for any dead animal in the flood water.

Just then I noticed at the extreme end of the building- about half a pole from the school head’s office- an abandoned school latrine overtaken by weeds and flood water; (obviously out of  use because of the erosion, the flood may have washed ashore the faeces inside the abandoned latrine onto the surface).

 “Good morning, everybody!” I politely greeted two elderly ladies chatting away in the office. “Please is this the headmistress’ office?” The fair lady seated at the far end of the room immediately responded in affirmation and reciprocated my greeting in a friendly and receptive manner, while her dark complexioned colleague seated by my right hand just kept starring at me as if  I was a tax collector or one of those “area boys”.…

“I am a journalist… and also a resident of this community. I use to have my child in this school but she has passed out…” I began introducing myself and my mission. “

More floods

I have been greatly concerned about the state of things in this school for a long time now but I decided to come and see what I can do to help draw the attention of those concerned in government to the plight of children in this school, even though I know there may have been various efforts regarding this in the past…”

Did you say your child is in this school?” the fair lady queried me. “She used to be in this school but she passed out two years ago and now she is schooling in Asoro Grammar school” I replied and continued.

“I wanted to see the Headmistress to seek the cooperation of the school authority to carry out some research and investigation on the way this yearly flooding is impacting daily on the pupils and their academics, and to ask a few questions regarding what currently the school has done or is doing to make the government speed up efforts to keep their promise…”

While her mate just kept looking at me as though waiting to cross examine me, the fair lady cut in, “oh that’s good… you’re welcome. The headmistress just left some minutes ago to their office in town but she will soon be back. You can still speak with her (pointing to the dark lady), she’s the vice. My God! The same woman who has refused to give me a welcome look or say anything to me was the very one I have to speak to! I took pluck, anyway, and eyeballed her.

“You’re a journalist, what kind of cooperation are you expecting from us?” she asked intimidating and suspiciously. “Well, I would like the school authority to permit me to observe the experiences of the school children under this heavy flooding they learn in and to take some photographs, ask you people a few questions – like how is the daily flooding of the school premises affecting the children and teachers academically and health – wise; are mosquitoes and other insects affecting the pupils and teachers in the classes as a result of the flooding, is the situation affecting the attitude and input of teachers to work as well as their health? All these will help me in my report about what is going on here in this school”. I explained.

Have you been in this community or you just came newly?” the Vice Headmistress queried me again. I was yet to answer when she dropped a bombshell, “you see that I have been very reluctant to talk all this while, because it’s like you’re a stranger here. You see, I’m somebody that doesn’t like wasting my time in what will never work”. At this point I became confused and curious. Is she implying I’m on a futile mission?

“Madam, how do you mean?” I politely asked. Then she opened up: “If you are old in this community you will know that the main problem of this school is the community and their leaders. In all my 33 years as a teacher I have been transferred to several communities. I have never seen a community that hates to develop.

Here you have a problem that has deteriorated for several years, and yet you couldn’t do anything about it as a community, instead you are adding to the problems. All they are good and fast at is recklessly selling lands without considering the impacts on the land. They keep selling off lands indiscriminately…”

She continued, “Anywhere in the world whenever you want to sell community lands, you first of all consider three basic things: you consider school, market and hospital – these basic essential needs of the people. But here, the community leaders and the people don’t care about all of these provided they get money.

And you were asking me you want to find out if mosquitoes bite pupils and if teachers are comfortable working under this condition. I think such a question should not arise at all. From my little knowledge of elementary science, we were taught the various reproduction stages of mosquitoes breeding and multiplying and we were taught that pools of standing water is the breeding ground for mosquitoes, how much more this river and lake of erosion that has taken over the entire school compound for several years.

“So, I’m surprised that such a question is coming from an enlightened person like you, a journalist for that matter. You also talked about how it is affecting teachers … you can see me now, I’m sitting here with hands folded. Because I’m feeling cold and you don’t have to be told that a major part of the reason is because the whole premises are filled with water. What do you expect? Anyway, we are willing to give you the cooperation you asked for but the headmistress, as you have been told, is not a round now. Except you wait or come back another time”.

 

The Deputy school head may be right – as I later got to discover, the flooding situation at the Evbuotubu Primary School has entered its 12thyear, but there is nothing to show that help is in sight for these children. Year after year they learn under mosquitoe-infested environment. Their entire school premises have been overtaken by flood and bushes. The school buildings are gradually submerged in flood water.

School latrine overtaken by weeds and flood water

More embarrassing is the fact that without a single rebuke from any teacher or school head, these children daily urinate freely on the flood water and everywhere around the few plain spots of land that show up on the school compound once the flood water wanes a little; and they in turn swim in the infected water, eat food and snacks that fell on the infected ground, and  inhale all the stench and putrid odors emanating from the accumulated urine (and excreta) all around the smelly environment.

They have no access to drinking water, no functional latrine and no playing field for recreation. And because children MUST play, they have turned private properties in adjoining streets/ roads and people’s compounds around the community  to their playing fields  and gadgets without any checks from the  school authorities.

Obviously out of the view and control of the school authorities, many of these pupils get injured in the process,  ill-influenced and some times even bullied or abused by some bad elements in the community with  much impunity.

The negative impact of the situation on the health, psychology, self esteem of these children at Evbuotubu primary school in Egor Local Government Area of Edo state, Nigeria,  and indeed the overall academic output and effectiveness of both teachers and pupils are underscored by the recurrent cases of  pupils’ absenteeism  truancy, illnesses like malaria and other water-related diseases such as that which  Abies and many other children in the school daily have to contend with. Alas! Who really cares?

And how am I sure I’m not already embarking on yet another “fruitless” exercise, as the deputy school head has predicted?

The story is published under the pro poor WASH stories project implemented by the Water and Sanitation Media Network Nigeria, with the support of West Africa WASH Media Network, WaterAid, and Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council.

November 6, 2012

Water scarcity may hit ekiti state, Nigeria

Adesina Wahab, Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria

Despite the promise by the Ekiti State Government  in South West Nigeria to lay 20 kilometres of water pipes in Ado-Ekiti this year to boost water supply in the state capital and having budgeted N1.2 billion for the water sector this year, most residents of the town and other major towns in the state are still faced with acute water supply and are afraid that the situation could worsen in the coming dry season.

The fear of the residents is coming against the fact that the state has seven major dams, most of which are in deplorable condition.

The promise by the government early in the year to lay 20 kilometres of water pipes in Ado-Ekiti, investigation has revealed, is still in the work less than two months to the end of the year.

Late January this year, the Special Adviser on Infrastructure and Public Utilities to the Governor, Mr. Kayode Jegede, told newsmen at a public forum that the state government would spend N18 million on consultancy and N12 on logistics in its bid to find a lasting solution to water shortage in the state.

Ekiti state Governor, Kayode fAYEMI

He had promised then that the new water pipes to be laid before the end of the year would help in getting water to more homes in the town.

However, nothing is happening as residents of most areas of Ado-Ekiti namely Adebayo, Iworoko Road, Basiri, Oke-Ila, Ajilosun among others have to rely on wells, boreholes and other sources to get their daily water supply.

Badly hit by the inadequate water supply are towns in Ekiti South and Central Senatorial Districts of which Ado-Ekiti is number one.

Ado-Ekiti, which is supposed to be served by, water from Ureje Dam, is still battling with inadequate water supply and the few public fetching points are as dry as ever.

At Ureje Water Works in Ado-Ekiti, officials of the Water Corporation are blaming the situation on paucity of funds, inadequate supply of electricity, lack of boosters to make water flow to designated areas, old water pipes that do burst frequently etc as factors hindering their performance.

Findings showed  that it is only Ero Dam, located in Ewu-Ekiti, Ekiti North Senatorial District, that is producing at nearly half its capacity, thereby able to supply water intermittently to few town in the zone.

However, the residents of the state were taken aback last week when the state government said it would start to install meters in public water fetching points before the end of the year to regulateusage of pipe-borne water in the state

The Special Adviser to the Governor, Kayode Jegede, said the metering system would commence in Igogo and Ikosu communities in Moba Local Government Area of the state as pilots for the programmes.

The two towns are served by Ero Dam.

The governor’s aide said Ekiti State would benefit from the European Union (E.U) financing of water projects in 2013 alongside Plateau and Adamawa states.

Commenting on the development, a community leader in Ado-Ekiti, Mr. Femi Omolusi, described the water situation in the state as shocking.

According to him, “it is unimaginable that the state which has seven dams is still experiencing water shortage and people are living in the fear of water-borne diseases. Remember that only a couple of months ago, the state government raised the alarm of cholera outbreak in some towns and when the dry season sets in, where will people have access to water.”

 

The story is published under the pro poor WASH stories project implemented by the Water and Sanitation Media Network Nigeria, with the support of West Africa WASH Media Network, WaterAid, and Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council.

November 2, 2012

Unsafe water, root cause of most diseases- Medical Doctor

 

By Dayo Emmanuel

Dayo Emmanuel recently visited two blighted peri urban  communities along the boundaries of Lagos and Ogun states in South West, and discovered the near absence of conventional  safe water supplies.  Residents are forced to rely on unimproved sources of water supplies, which a Medical Doctor attributes to be the cause of several diseases in the several communities in Nigeria

“Water has no enemy”, sang the late Afro Beat King, Fela AnikulapoKuti in one of his ever green titles, but with the residents of  Ajuwom-Akute  drinking water may have since chosen its friends and enemies.

Ajuwon-Akute is populated by low income earners, artisans, commercial cyclists, drivers and people who have found cheaper landed properties and accommodation away from neighbouring “highbrow” Lagos.  Quite a lot of these houses are bungalows and in some cases one or two storey buildings some of which are practically begging for renovation.

With a population of about 150,000 people, Ajuwon-Akute communities located in Ifo Local Government Area of Ogun State are no doubt over ripe for total development.

The two communities bordering Lagos State share cultural identities with the people of Iju-Agege axis of Nigeria’s former capital city.

Despite their proximity to Lagos, the twin communities are still far behind in terms of infrastructure.  Such amenities like good road network, public libraries, housing scheme, regular power supply and pipe borne water are still largely absent in the communities which have continued to grow due to their proximity to the nation’s commercial nerve centre.  As a matter of fact, more than 40% of the residents in these communities have daily contact with Lagos where they earn their living.

The two communities no doubt qualify for rural areas based on the type of houses and lack of basic infrastructure.  Major parts of the only tarred road connecting the communities initially fixed by the Lagos State government have already failed while there are no other tarred roads within the area.

“There is a little government presence in this locality as you can see, the local health centre, the post office and this Local Government Area office are only what we can point to for now. There is also a branch of a commercial bank (Zenith Bank) over there”, said Mr. Adewale, an officer at the Local Government Area Office who decried the poor state of the road linking the communities to Lagos State.

“This road is used mainly by Lagos people and we want them to fix it, because they caused the major damage”, Adewale complained, adding that “you will not notice that there is a gas pipeline which convey gas to Lagos State under this failing road, there are water pipes also from the Iju Water Works few kilometres away but we in this community do not benefit from both the gas or water, the water pipes are dry and are of no benefit to us despite the fact that the mega water works is located at our backyard.  We are so close to the water works but it supplies water largely to Lagos area”.

Pipe borne water is absent while the population survives on wells, though some privileged few could afford sinking boreholes. Power supply is grossly inadequate which makes the cost of running the boreholes a bit on the high side.

Power supply here can be described as erratic because sometimes the lights may be off for four days in a row while the remaining three days are not certain.  Some other times, we may have the supply again for two or three days with interruptions in- between, we can’t plan with it”, said Femi Adesanya, a resident of Ajuwon. “Erratic power supply is one of the pains of a densely populated rural area.

In Akute, we have about three hours of power supply between midnight and 4 AM”, said James Dureke, a landlord in Akute who added that “I have a borehole in my house for my residence from which I supply my neighbours water for free, there are two other bore hole operators who sell water in the area, but I don’t sell because most people here are not as buoyant.

When asked how clean the water from his bore hole is, Dureke said “though it is clean, I don’t drink it, I buy water for drinking but the neighbours drink it”.

Dureke, a business man who recently moved into the area narrated how he spends about N250 on drinking water on a daily basis which translates to about N7,500 monthly.

Despite the challenges in these communities, the area is dotted with various private schools providing education for the growing student population in the neighbourhood.  However, many parents in the area often find it more expensive and time consuming conveying their wards to schools in Lagos. Doland International Secondary School is perhaps one of the largest schools in Akute. The school, perhaps due to its size could afford a borehole which supplies water for the staff and students.

Water is not only a challenge for residents of Ajuwon-Akute as the various schools operating in the communities also spend extra to provide water for their pupils. A student of Fortuneland school who simply identified herself as Morayo said “we have borehole in my school which we use for our sanitation but most of the students buy sachet water during break to drink.” A sachet of water containing 50cl of pure water costs N10 and an average student may consume two or more before the school closes by 4pm.

Some local schools are not so fortunate to have the luxury of a borehole; most local schools can only afford wells which supply water for sanitation purpose.

Dr. Alori Dare a volunteer on a rural medical mission in some villages in Ogun State confirms that lack of clean water supply is the cause of many water borne disease in rural areas in Ogun State. “With my experience in Igbesa, I found that lack of pipe borne water is the root cause of a lot of ailments”, he however enjoined local residents to ensure they take clean water to avoid water borne diseases.

Alori who is the Medical Director of Hope Alive Clinic, Abesan Estate, Ipaja, Lagos added that “the goal of my trip to rural areas and Igbesa particularly is to see to the medical needs of rural people who ordinarily could not afford medical services, my trip has also motivated some of the youths who now aspire to study hard to become medical doctors in future”.  He however tasked the government on provision of clean water for rural people if the nation must stem the increase of waterborne disease.

“waterborne diseases are caused by microorganisms like bacterial, protozoan, nematode etc. which are intestinal parasites commonly transmitted via contaminated fresh water”, said Dr. Bayo, a Lagos based medical doctor who expatiated further that “intake of contaminated water eventually results to diarrhea, cholera, typhoid and  hepatitis A”.

He however enlightened on the precautions of these waterborne diseases.  “These diseases are preventable by washing of hands and intake of clean water sanitation should not be compromised at any time as I have treated so many of these water borne diseases at various times in my career”, Dr. Bayo said, urging people in rural communities and areas inhabited by poor people to protect themselves by observing personal hygiene and taking heed about the food they eat in order to prevent water borne diseases.

 

 

The story is published under the pro poor WASH stories project implemented by the Water and Sanitation Media Network Nigeria, with the support of West Africa WASH Media Network, WaterAid, and Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council.

November 2, 2012

Laaniba: where residents defecate, bath, and drink in River Ajibode

 

                                                                              By ‘Fisayo Soyombo

The sight of roaming goats depicted a typical village setting.The muddy houses, the types found in the remotest of villages possible, lent an air of rurality to the locality, too, their openings for wooden windows intercepting the even splash of mud on the walls. Many of the houses were roofed with iron sheets that had caved in to pressure from several years of overuse, and their decolorized frames were fragmentizing and falling off the walls they were supposed to protect.

In the heat of the ruthless descent of the scorching sun, two ladies tiredly slowed their steps as they approached their huts,bending down to lower the water pots on their heads and wiping their haggard faces with a piece of lace cloth that had previously served as a handkerchief. Those two were just some of the unlucky lot who regularly trekked long distance to fetch water at a river outside the community, in the absence of a single public tap bearing pipe-borne water.

Ordinarily, the people of Laaniba, under Akinyele Local Government in Ibadan, Oyo State, ought to be too developed to be grappling with water, housing, and electricity challenges, considering the community’s proximity to the University of Ibadan, Nigeria’s premier university. In fact, the Ajibode River is its only real separation from the varsity, the rest being a long, straight stretch of road.

Pa Joshua Olatunji, head of the community whose age was said to be in excess of 100 years, spoke on the problems of the people. “Our road is very useless even though it is better than it was some years back. Whenever it rains, bicycle and motorcycle riders will have a hard time navigating it while cars many times get stuck for days,” he said, removing his cap in a move that amplified the smallness of his body frame.

Replacing his cap, he continued, “We do not have potable water. We drink from the river, and we know it is not hygienic. We know that we will live a healthier lifestyle if we had potable water.”

Although Pa Olatunji offered directions to a river where majority of the community fetch water, he had left out the more important details of other activities at the same river. It is, for example, inside the same river that many inhabitants of Laaniba have their baths — that much was confirmed with the sight of two half-dressed women bathing at the river right in broad daylight.

In the dead of the night or the early mornings, it is unlikely that the bathing population at the river would be restricted to just two people. And it is unlikely, too, that the same river is not the people’s favourite defecation spot. The result s a chain of diseases that Pa Olatunji’s traditional roots may not recognize, but which exist all the same, as implicitly confirmed by John Joseph, a secondary school student in his early twenties.

We need a hospital in Laaniba, and it is very important, especially because of the kind of water we drink” Joseph pleaded. “When our people fall sick, our closest option is the clinic at Ajibode. Sometimes, the doctors are unavailable; at other times, it is the drugs that are not available, which leaves us with the difficult challenge of rushing sick people to town. You will agree with me that not all sick people will have the grace to endure such long trips to town without giving up the ghost on the way. That is why I said the provision of a hospital is very important.”

He also made a case for a secondary school in the town, saying, “I attend Ajibode Grammar School because all we have here is a primary school. Youths here do not attend school; so many of them just learn trades. And there are no jobs for them even at the end of their apprenticeships, so almost all of them resort to motorcycle riding. Somehow, I do not think that this is all that youths should be dissipating their energy and vigour into. But do they have a choice?”

Joseph’s claims were corroborated by Alhaji Ahmed Laaniba, another member of the Laaniba clan, who lamented the lack of government presence in the area for at least two decades.

Laaniba is supposed to be a town and not a village,” he lamented. “So, how is it possible that a town has no single source of pipe-borne water? I was born here and I am already over 70 years; the last time Akinyele Local Government did anything for us was more than 20 years ago. If the government will give us just potable water and stable electricity, we will be a happy people.”

At an earlier visit to the only primary school in Laaniba, not much was happening in the waterlogged classrooms in the single building, which itself only slightly bettered a typical abandoned building. A second adjoining buildingcollapsed several years ago, and there has been no effort from the government to raise it. The few pupils at the school cut a pitiable picture, many of them playing around while some fidgeted with their notebooks.

In the absence of the principal who was “away on an official assignment,” a teacher, Mrs. H. A. Abraham, conveyed the frustrations of the students and teachers with the run-down state of the school.

“This is a perfect example of how not to run a school,” she quipped. “There are no books, no instructional materials and no facilities. The classrooms are few so you cannot even talk of a toilet or source of potable water. There is a poor attitude among inhabitants towards education. The pupils do not understand English and I have to teach other subjects in Yoruba Language. The consequence is the production of pupils who graduate to secondary schools yet lack what it takes to compete with the rest of the world.”

The solution to the educational woes of the people of Laaniba, she noted, is to first develop the social amenities base of the community, and then watch the ripple effect on other areas of life.

“Without bringing development to Laaniba, these little children will have nothing to show for all the years in this primary school,” she said chillingly. “Without water, without electricity, without urban housing, without hospital, everything happening in the school will simply end up some nasty joke.”

 

 

The story is published under the pro poor WASH stories project implemented by the Water and Sanitation Media Network Nigeria, with the support of West Africa WASH Media Network, WaterAid, and Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council.

November 2, 2012

Jos: urine polluted water turns to ‘burkutu’ beer

In Tudun Wada area of Jos, Plateau state capital, residents urinate and defecate in a stream, and use the same stream water to prepare ‘burukutu’, a local beer.

 The problem of portable water scarcity in developing countries especially in sub-Sahara Africa has been a source of concern for government, private organization and even international bodies such as the United Nations (UN).

In Nigeria like in other African countries, the same can be said of the scarcity of this essential component of human existence.  With the attendant consequent s of disease and other socio-economic setbacks associated with the want of portable water for both domestic and industrial consumption hardly would one surmise that this problem in Nigeria is one that could be tackle head-on by respective governments alone.  In other words, for this fight to be won in Nigeria, it requires the collaboration of all stakeholders to evolve an effective means of providing portable water to the ever increasing population especially in urban slums or inner cities.

For instance, in Plateau State where  there seems to be emergence of new settlements within the capital, Jos, the need or demand for portable water especially in households is  continually  on the increase.

In spite of the recent efforts by the present administration in the state to rehabilitate the treatment plants and dams in the state, a lot is desired to meet the growing demand for portable water in the city.

In Hwolshe area of Jos north Local Government Area, the picture of the water scarcity there paints a grotesque scenario of a people living on a precipice of an outbreak water bone diseases due to lack of portable water, the only source of water in the community, a stream, is obviously polluted by the refuse dumped in the vicinity of the stream.

The area which is densely populated relies on the stream as its only source of water.  In the same vein, Tudun Wada Area also depends on that same stream for its source of water especially during the dry season.  However, most worrisome is the fact that along the stream, the people resident in the area have erected makeshift structures which they use in rearing pigs and other domestic animals.

Similarly, toilets have been built along the streams while the households that do not have such facilities have consummated the habit of defecating in the open space along the bank of the stream.

Sadly, despite these unhealthy human activities which take place there, residents in both Hwolshe and Tudun

Residents defecate in this stream and fetch the water to brew a local beer

Wada use the water from the stream for domestic consumption particularly in the brewing of the local beer popularly called ‘BURKUTU.’

Investigations revealed that the people have resorted to the use of the water either due to ignorance or the perennial acute water scarcity in the area.  This has posed a serious health threat to the people.

Be that as it may, urban slums in Jos have similar sad tales to relay when it comes to the issue of water scarcity.  And except an enduring solution to the water scarcity in Hwolshe, Tudun Wada and other similar slums with Jos and environs is put in place, the health hazards associated with this problem would continue to be on the increase.

The story is published under the pro poor WASH stories project implemented by the Water and Sanitation Media Network Nigeria, with the support of West Africa WASH Media Network, WaterAid, and Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council.

November 2, 2012

Gangare community, where the only option is open defecation

Plateau State, in Northern Nigeria is a cosmopolitan society said to accommodate over three million people, is highly endowed with immense natural resources needed for human existence.

Amongst the natural resources is water.  Though available, many communities in the State are yet to access portable water, sanitation and hygiene.

In this report, our correspondent examines the availability of this essential commodity in Gangare, Jos North Local Government Area of the State. Listen

The story is published under the pro poor WASH stories project implemented by the Water and Sanitation Media Network Nigeria, with the support of West Africa WASH Media Network, WaterAid, and Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 875 other followers