Posts tagged ‘sanitation’

June 6, 2013

Benin: Poor access to drinking water

April 3, 2013

WASH Journalists hold AGM in Senegal

The 3rd annual general meeting of the  West Africa Water and Sanitation Journalists (WASH-JN) holds in Senegal, April 8-10, 2013.

About twenty eight Journalists reporting water supply and sanitation issues for Radio, Television, Newspapers and online media in 14 West Africa Countries will be attending the meeting organized with the support of WaterAid in West Africa and the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC)

The meeting will deliberate on in country activities of Institutional members of the WASH-JN-  the national Water and Sanitation Media Networks, progress reports on grant projects implemented by the member countries, as well as election of new officers  for the regional WASH media network.

Participating Journalists will also use the opportunity to some slum communities in Senegal to report on state of access to water supply and sanitation services.

December 3, 2012

Water related diseases ravage Taraba town

Ayodele Samuel +2348074420617, gtms06@yahoo.com

In Karim,  up to ten people are may be diagnosed of water related diseases daily, while A Medical Doctor says between two- five people die weekly of

Villagers scavenging water  from a 'stream'

Villagers scavenging water from a ‘stream’

diseases, Ayodele Samuel Ayokunle, Journalist and  blogger at www.ayodelenews.blogspot.com writes

My encounter on the road to Karim Village wasn’t a palatable experience for me, the Village had just been ravaged by the deadly flood that swept across the country, bad roads, fear of transportation on water coupled with visible angry flooded villagers. At last I landed in ‘Snake Island’. Karim Village, headquarters of  Karim- Lamido  Local Government  in  Taraba state, North East Nigeria.

It takes about  seven hours by road from Jalingo  the state capital, due to bad  roads and the  vastness of the land, but I  took less than 3hours  taking waterways using local boat from  River Lau, to  River Benue to  Jen and motorcycle  to Karim town.

Thou the people of karim Lamido are still battling the effects of flood that ravaged the rustic community, Typhoid and other water related diseases remains another nightmare.

Karim village known among visitors mostly Corps Members (a Nigeria government youth scheme for fresh graduates) as Snake Inland due to heavy presence of reptiles.

The town   is surrounded by water and thick grasses, which makes snakes a common sight , about four  different tribes (Karim jo , Jenjo, Bachama, Bambur) made up of the undeveloped Agrarian land with people majorly dealing in rice farming and fishing as source of livelihood.

Faced with lack of safe water despite surrounded by River Benue and Lau River, lack of toilets, the people of Karim despite their many problems, has its own uniqueness of peace and harmony  among its more than  195,844(2006 census)  Christians and Muslims who co-exist peacefully.
Water related disease affects the young and the old in Karim  because of their nomadic nature,  they tend to move from place to place in search of greener pastures for their immediate family, leaving behind available water source .

Major sources of water include rivers, ponds, and open wells which the inhabitants use for their domestic activities and every other water related activity.

Available boreholes are: a private owned borehole operated by RABI waters,that sells water especially to water vendors(mai-ruwa)  and one at the emirs palace are the only source of water to the people

Most Government sunk boreholes and the recently sunk ones under the Millennium Development Goals MDGs are no longer functioning due to what residents describe as “poor execution of the projects.”

A resident , Alhaji Abdullahi Umar said that sources of portable water were all blocked and most government boreholes are all dried, “we find it very difficult to have clean water for consumption and domestic use because most government water has dried up, so we drink from the ponds ”

However little or no assistance is available on the issue of healthcare, the community is armed with an unequipped primary health care center   to abate the water crisis facing the community.

According to, the Principal Community Health Officer(PCHO) of only Primary Health Centre, Karim Dr. Isa Nayin ,  typhoid and other gastro intestinal diseases like dysentery and diarrhea are prevalent in the locality. He said that these diseases is commonly reported from  remote areas which includes Karim- Mondi, Ruwan Fulani, Kwanchi and Mutum Daya, the villages about two hours motorcycle ride from the center.

Sighting the disease of the F’s (Faeces-Flies-Food-Finger) as the major vector of the disease,  Dr Isa stressed  that these diseases occur because there is no reliable source of water within the locality.

He estimated that 5-10 persons are daily diagnosis of water related cases in the hospital, while 2-5 died weekly of same illness, “ because the people still believe in traditional medicine so they usually don’t like visiting the hospital because of the cost and distance.”

Another problem facing the community is ‘Color change in water’  mostly especially in  the rural areas where different activities take place within the village ponds or rivers,  pigs are allowed to go play in drinking ponds thereby causing a dramatic change in the color of water  changing to red.

While a health worker Bumanda Andrew express fear considering the increasing casualties of water related diseases appealed to both local and state Government authorities to come to the aid of the community residents.

Government need to compliment  efforts of United Nations in providing social amenities to the less privileged, people here needs help on water and many other social problems”

Commenting on the water problem, Government official, the vice- chairman of Karim Lamido Local Government,   Alhaji Ahmad Umar Karim admitted that Government is  aware of the peoples plights but assures that efforts are made to reduce their hardship.

The government has done their best in terms of provision of portable water, citing example of a tap water pipe which were laid by the present Government across the local Government headquarters but which were suddenly vandalized by hoodlums without anybody reporting to the relevant authorities.”

Hand dug holes for  sourcing un safe water

Hand dug holes for sourcing un safe water

He said the people should complement Government efforts by protecting Government properties sited in their domain

The people of Karim are still hopeless on safe water, basic healthcare among other social amenities, where will respite come their way?

 

 

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 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.

October 23, 2012

In Jalingo: safe water is scarce like petrol, and expensive as gold

 

By Ayodele Samuel, gtms06@yahoo.com

Residents of Jalingo, Taraba State capital in Northern Nigeria, are groaning over the unending scarcity of portable water, writes AYODELE SAMUEL, a blogger at www.ayodelenews.blogspot.com reports.

“Water, they say is life”, and the human body constitute of 70% of this liquid substance, as such water tops the priority list of the demand of mankind. 80% of diseases plaguing humanity are due to use or consumption of unsafe water.

It is generally believed that the accessibility of sufficient quantities of  portable water and safe sanitation facilities to a household determines the quality of life of the people and potential for poverty alleviation. This leads to the welfare improvement and is generally linked to a decrease in infant and maternal mortality, increase nutritional values and environmental hygiene.

In Jalingo, accessing portable water by residents remains a major battle forcing residents of the city to rely on local vendor popularly called Mai ruwa and few streams for water, while public water supply remained exclusive for the rich in the state.

Children at a bole hole n Jalingo

Wurom Musa, is a one of the slum communities in Jalingo, and is inhabited mainly by farmers and traders. Here the only source of water for domestic consumption is a local stream about 7 killometers  away. away. What would have served as a safer source of water supply- a two  hand-pump boreholes donated to the community 5 years ago,  had collapsed

In another slum community, Barade ward, there are tales of woes and anguish  whenever the Lamorde River, the only source of water in the area,  dries up, typically  during dry season. When this occurs, residents of the  community are left with no other option than to buy from ‘Mai Ruwa’ water vendors, whose source of water is unknown.

In another community, Agangagwasa, a resident, ,  Julian Bala narrated that getting water for domestic use is a major challenge.

“because here is a new area with plenty people, water is our problem, when the wells in the area  are dried up, it’s a difficult  to get water because, we trek long distance searching for water as if you are looking for petrol, its saddening because water board is not here”

Another resident, Mrs. Franca Osita told me that  she starts her day by searching for water, “I  have to wake up early and walk to   the stream to get water, or else buy from the water vendors and then prepare the children for school before resuming business, this is usually difficult for me”

She called on the government to show more concern to the untold suffering water scarcity has brought upon the people, by making provision for more boreholes and making sure that the taps are running again.

The Ward head of Mayo-Gwoi Village, in peri urban Jalingo, Mr. Aliyu Jassa, said the lack of access to portable water in the city is harming their health.

Due to lack of water from the taps, some of us depend largely on  Mai ruwa, and those who cannot afford to buy, have to depend on the river. Unfortunately we’ve had cases of cholera that have resulted to the loss of lives, especially pregnant women and children, I almost lost my children too, but thank God for quick intervention”

Hamman Yakubu a retired bank official, on his part lamented the hike in price of water by local vendors.  “Me and my family consume not less than three trucks a day at N200 per a truck of ten jerry-cans each, but we are at the mercy of the water vendors, who sometimes hike the price of the water at will,” adding that  it’s  too expensive for an average citizen in the state who earns less than N18, 000 per month, considering  other family expenses like sending the children to school.

Mr. Yakubu also noted that though there are pipes laid down for distribution to homes, but too expensive to embark upon, as it will cost N60,000 for the installation per home; adding  that the pipes have rusted due to non-usage resulting to  health hazard for the few consumers.

Other residents across the city bemoan the recurrent shortage of water andoverdependence for water supply on Mai ruwa whom sources of water is not known to the consumer.

Chairman of Taraba state water vendors, Mr. Muhamadu Ahmed said “there are over 20,000 members of the association scattered in various location of Jalingo”

Danlami Musa a water vendor said, he  sells as much as fifteen trucks a day and due to the high demand of the product he often have to go in search of water from the stream, stating that sometimes the water from the borehole is not sufficient to go round.

Secretary of the Association of water vendors in Jalingo, Mr. Iliya Jacob who had been in the business for more than 14 years said his service is an alternative to government.

“ I have been providing water for this entire area for 13 years, people troop in from distances to come here for water, sometimes we have to give them for free, as a humanitarian service, we see the untold hardship on our people, we regard our services as an alternative to the government, because most people cannot afford to buy trucks of water per day, there is no other option for getting portable water”  he added.

He identify causes of water scarcity in city as “dryness of well and stream majorly during dry season and well water  changing color during raining seasons, and sometimes due to the activity of the pumping machine, it drains water from the ground which often cause some temporal water shortage from the ground, and leads to dry wells.”

The Area Manager of Taraba Water Supply Board, Jalingo district,  Mr. Bitrus Bambur admitted to ravaging  water shortage in the city:

the product don’t seems to be available, however the government is doing its best to meet up with the challenges.“ The Government is doing its best, the Taraba water supply board is operational on a daily basis, but coverage is not much, due to the growing population of the city, the coverage area is presently at 32%,”

Some of the challenges facing the State Water Board according to investigation includes obsolete machines that needs renovation and replacements,  inadequate funding , deficiency in human resource development, and manpower that has reduced from 600 to 324 since the creation of the state.

Children searching for water on the streets of Jalingo

Other challenges according to Mr. Mambur, is the need to upgrade the facilities  for water distribution, stating that  only six out of the fourteen boreholes  in the Board are functional. Calling on the  the government to subsidize water supply, in the state  rather than putting  more money  in providing drugs, Mr Mambur said the proper funding of the Board and efficient supply of safe water will help prevent diseases.

A government official who does not want his name in print confirmed that that the State Government recently  accessed a loan from the African Development Bank, to enable it upgrade the water supply  coverage in the state from 32% to 75% .

The story is contributed by Ayodele Samuel, and 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.

August 23, 2012

Dry toilet conference kicks off in Finland

How could sanitation services be provided for residents of coastal communities where the high water table impedes construction of pit latrines?

In the same vein, how do we provide safe toilet facilities to residents of rocky or mountainous areas where excavation of top or sub soil (rock) is difficult or almost impossible?

These and similar posers are being discussed at the 4th International Dry Toilet Conference http://drytoilet.org/dt2012/

Read full story: http://assemblyonline.info/?p=16214

April 10, 2012

Report: FAME 2012 and the World Water Forum 2012

           By Babatope Babalobi who was in Marseilles

 

France’s second largest city- Marseilles, coordinates 43° 17′ 47.04″ N, 5° 22′ 12,   last month hosted two week long global meetings to discuss the challenges in the water and sanitation sector; specifically to identify management options that breeds inequity and crisis in water resource allocation and sanitation service delivery, and proffer solutions to prevent water related issues from causing a prophetic third world war.

Officially, what was supposed to be held in Marseille between March 11th and 17th    2012, was the World Water Forum (WWF), the sixth. Previous WWFs were held in Morocco 1997, Netherlands 2000, Japan 2003, Mexico 2006, and Turkey 2009.

The WWF is organised every three years by the World Water Council (WWC) which describes itself as a an international multi-stakeholder platform, established in 1996 “to promote awareness, build political commitment and trigger action on critical water issues at all levels, including the highest decision-making level, to facilitate the efficient conservation, protection, development, planning, management and use of water in all its dimensions on an environmentally sustainable basis for the benefit of all life on earth”.

Read more: http://assemblyonline.info/?p=16025

March 22, 2012

Photo competition for water and sanitation journalists

3rd Water Integrity photo competition-Integrity in water for food and food security

Water and food are key to human life and both encourage good health, economic growth and social development. However, both water and food faced scarcity and access to either is becoming more difficult and problematic. Corruption can arise throughout many instances of the food production chain, even more so for water for food production as this adds to the complexities and different types of stakeholders involved.

Photography is a great way to raise awareness on crucial issues that affect everyone. It allows for a different manner to approach and understand the topic.

This photo competition seeks to explore the relationship between water and food, with a specific focus on integrity or corruption risks. We ask contestants to send us photographs that represent or conceptualise the damaging effect of corruption in water for food or that highlights transparency, integrity, participation and/or accountability to avoid corruption in water for food. All submitted photos must be associated to the issue of water for food or water and food security linked to integrity, which must be explained through the caption or a short description. 

February 22, 2012

Rural Women and Children struggle for safe clean drinking water

                                      By Ishmael Kindama Dumbuya, Sierra Leone

Climate change or the unfriendly activities of human beings on earth and the environment may be the result of acute shortage of clean and safe drinking water in Sierra Leone and other parts of the continent, causing millions of people including children and women suffer on a daily basis.

The situation of acute shortage of clean water has been experienced in the city and the provincial areas where less concentration is normally given to communities on the part of water and other social basic amenities. In Sierra Leone, the problemImages of acute shortage of clean and safe drinking water are not only occurring in the deprived communities in the provinces but those communities in the outskirt of the city as well.

Water is an essential commodity and the international community is putting more efforts to it to ensure human beings access safe and clean drinking water.

On September 30th 2010, the UN Human Rights Council adopted by consensus Resolution 64/292 the human right to water and sanitation affirming that water and sanitation are human rights. During this historic meeting in Geneva, the UN affirmed by consensus that the right to water and sanitation is derived from the right to an adequate standard of living, which is contained in several international human rights treaties.
Standard times environmental reporter, Ishmael Kindama Dumbuya travels to communities surrounding the capital city of Freetown and those in the Kambia District and get a first hand information on how the urban, rural and children are struggling to get safe and clean drinking water for their families.
I first travel to Kambia District, a distance of about 150 miles. From Kambia Town, I proceed to rural communities in a village called 15 Mile in the Tonkoh Limba Chiefdom, exactly 15 miles distance from Kambia Town. The village stretches northwards of the chiefdom and it is about 3 miles from the beginning of the Chiefdom. Over 1000 people live here.
There is no community center in this village in case there is a need for social activities or community meetings and gatherings. I spend a night in here and electricity is not something to think about in the village. When a vehicle passes through the village at night, children and adults normally glad when they see the brightness of the vehicle. Absolutely, there is no development here and parents who love their children to attend school send them to other villages like Mile 14 and Sella Kafta before they can get basic primary education.

Like in other communities in the Tonkoh Limba Chiefdom and other parts of the country, there is no water borne pipes or dug water well in the village. The over one thousand people in this village (children, youths and women) must walk two and half miles to fetch water for their daily use. In the morning after a stressful night in a strange village, I proceeded to the community only source of water called Kamaworni with Madam Mabinty Kamara and a class nine year old school pupil.
The water well of about 50 metres round is surrounded by trees and the water level is low and one must go very close to fetch a bucket of water and be careful not to fell into the well. In normal cases, clean and safe drinking water is usually colourless, but this is not the situation here in Kamaworni water site. The community drinking water is colorful and if you are a stranger, you will not have the audacity to take a bucket of water and wash your feet. But the community people who are used to this because of no alternative will do that and drink with confidence.

The clayed water is a host to toads, snakes and other water animals. If you are not used to see these things, you will be scared seeing snakes, toads and other animals dancing and playing in the water while children and women trying to fetch buckets of water for the day’s use. I saw stinky mud which was producing unfavorable smell from the water.
Mabinty Kamara who is married to a husband of this village and now 20 years since she came into the 15 Mile community said they have been facing with such situation of fetching filthy water for their homes. Madam Mabinty knows the water is filthy and not suitable for human beings to drink and do other domestic works. She said there is no alternative for them and “either we fetch clay water and allow it to sentiment for use or we do not get water for our homes at all costs”.
The drinking of the filthy water normally result to sicknesses for the community people and Madam Mabinty said “we do normally sick and because the God almighty is with us, some of these sicknesses are cured by the clay water after persistent drinking”.
Pa Ceray Sorie Kamara is one of the elders of the 15 Mile community.

He also reflected on the past how they have been suffering from the village without clean and safe drinking water for themselves and their children. Pa Kamara said “we have been drinking this water for some time now and we are use to this. We will continue to use to the sad situation if there is no assistance from NGOs, the government of Sierra Leone or any philanthropist individual or institution”.
Pa Sorie is not in favour of his community being left from development by NGOs and the government especially on development concerning water and sanitation. He said “the NGOs like Action Aid in the past ignore them and pass through their community to go and dig community dug-water well taps in other villages.

Pa Sorie adds “they pass us here as if we don’t want water wells. I don’t know if it is because the village is small and even the fact is the village is small, we are still people who need basic needs and clean water”.
After a stressful journey in 15 Mile Village in Kambia, I boarded a vehicle and back in Freetown for another assignment in the Tree Planting community in Leicester Road. The Tree Planting community is overlooking the capital city of Freetown. Madam Adama Fatima in the Tree Planting community in Freetown shares the same experience with Madam Mabinty Kamara who lives in the 15 Mile village.
Madam Adama also don’t use pipe-borne water for her home but will always take her bucket and looks towards a filthy water stream to fetch water for her children and for domestic purposes. She said they have been suffering at the community with no taps to easily fetch water and added that “any day I and my children must come to this filthy and static stream to fetch water.”
The Leicester Road community closer to the Western Area Peninsular Forest is also suffering from acute shortage of water. The watersheds which are the main sources for supplying water to the community and other parts of the city are dry-off because of massive cutting down of trees for settlement.

About two years ago, the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA) dished out funds over one hundred and fifty thousand Leones for community gravity water taps but these proposed taps never worked for the community. Probably, some of the community elders shared the money among themselves leaving a host of residents to continue struggling for the clean and safe drinking water.
Although there are no known plans set by Non-Governmental Organizations and possibly the government of Sierra Leone to undertake pipe-borne or dug water taps in various parts of the communities overlooking the city and the provincial communities, the Minister of Energy and Water Resources while planting trees recently at the Moku Hills in the Western Area Peninsular Forests Reserve said they recognize that people are suffering to get clean and safe drinking water.

The Minister said as a responsible government, they will ensure they provide water for people in the country.
The only time the communities both in the provinces and some parts of the city can make use of clean and safe drinking water is during the mid of the raining season and if this situation is not corrected and assistance provided, communities in the provinces especially 15 Mile will continue to suffer and struggle to get clean and safe drinking water for their various uses.

February 22, 2012

Babalobi Babatope, Secretary General WASH-JN, speaks during the General Assembly 2012 in Monrovia, Liberia, on the role of the network and individual journalists to bring about change in WASH services delivery and access

February 15, 2012

Updates on Global Sanitation Fund in Nigeria

Audio Interview  

January 18, 2012

Gouvernance des secteurs de l’eau et de l’assainissement au Bénin : Le 2e Forum national de l’eau pour

A l’instar du Burkina-Faso ou du Togo, le Bénin organise son forum national consacré exclusivement aux secteurs de l’eau et de l’assainissement du 26 au 28 janvier. Un grand événement attendu de tous les vœux par les acteurs des deux secteurs pour donner un nouveau coup de fouet aux réformes en cours. Mais surtout, pour préparer le prochain forum mondial de l’eau de Marseille.

Il n’y a plus de doute. Après le premier forum de janvier 2001, le Bénin tiendra son deuxième le 26 prochain. Avec pour thème « Eau pour tous et pour tout : réalités, effectivités, responsabilités et priorités d’action », le 2e Forum national de l’eau (FONAE II), vise essentiellement, à établir un bilan national des politiques et contributions du secteur eau et assainissement pour le développement socioéconomique du Bénin dans un environnement de gestion décentralisée et, à dégager des approches et modalités spécifiques pour des services eau et assainissement performants en soutien au développement durable.
Au total, plus de 200 acteurs de toutes les catégories socioprofessionnelles sont attendues à ce rendez-vous de l’espoir pour une gouvernance améliorée des deux secteurs. En dehors des ministères sectoriels impliqués dans la gestion de l’eau et de l’assainissement (Eau, Energie, Agriculture, Elevage, Pêche, Environnement, Habitat, Urbanisme, Santé, Décentralisation, Aménagement du Territoire) avec leurs services centraux et déconcentrés ; les collectivités locales (élus locaux, ANCB) seront bien représentées.

Mais, surtout les usagers, bénéficiaires des services d’eau et d’assainissement regroupant les associations d’usagers sont invités aux échanges. Les distributeurs et fournisseurs privés des services de l’eau (SONEB, etc.), comme les organisations de la société civile (ONGs nationale et internationales ; associations de développement, organisations socioprofessionnelles) intervenant dans les secteurs de l’eau et de l’assainissement et les Partenaires Techniques et Financiers qui accompagnent et appuient les deux secteurs seront au rendez-vous.

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