Posts tagged ‘wash-jn’

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.

March 19, 2013

African Development Bank hosts meeting on rural WASH in Tunis

                                                                                                               Babatope Babalobi

The African Development Bank (AFDB) will launch a new initiative to facilitate improved coordination and sector learning among partners and Stakeholders towards the achievement of the Bank’s Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative (RWSSI), next week in Tunisia.

Known as  the ‘Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative’s  Regional Coordination Committee (RCC)’,  the event will hold on March 26 and 27 at the Tunis head quarters of the Bank and will be attended by 150 – 200 experts representing all countries in Africa, as well as RWSSI stakeholders.

The Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative (RWSSI), a joint programme coordinated by the AfDB but financed by many donors, other partners and Regional Member Countries (RMCs), was first launched in 2003 by the African Development Bank with an overall goal of achieving universal access to water supply and sanitation services for the rural populations by 2025 with an intermediate target of 80% coverage by 2015 in a sustainable way.

The Initiative seeks to help mobilize as well as facilitate the flow of available and potential resources to accelerate investment in Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (RWSS) in Africa, with goal to reach 80 percent coverage by the year 2015. The Initiative supports the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the reduction of poverty.

RWSSI was adopted in 2005 by AfDB’s main international development partners and African governments as a common framework, at the first International Conference on the RWSSI held in Paris April 1st, 2005.

The focus areas of the RWSSI include water supply, sanitation, hygiene, sector policy and strategy, capacity building and funds mobilization for Rural Water Supply and Sanitation sub-sector; and the Initiative targets about 280 million people living in rural Africa with access to new and rehabilitated water supply and sanitation (WSS) facilities.

According to an Internal Assessment of the AfDB’s water supply and sanitation initiative, “28 RWSS programs in 22 African countries have been approved, of which 16 have started to deliver water and provide sanitation services. The additional people served with access to water supply through the RWSS program rose from 1.15 million people at the end of 2007, to 32.63 million people at the end of 2010, while for sanitation it increased from 0.58 million to 20.09 million people, over the same period”

The overall objective of next week’s meeting in Tunis is to launch the platform that will facilitate improved coordination and sector learning among Partners and Stakeholders towards the achievement of RWSSI’s goals and targets.

The specific objectives of the meeting are: appraising stakeholders on RWSSI progress, achievements, challenges and plans leading to 2015. This will also include a discussion on some of the key issues affecting sector progress (sector monitoring and performance reporting; sub-sector financing; sustainability; sector coordination) and how Africa should address them; sharing country and field experiences in co-ordination to inform the way forward for RWSSI;  obtaining partner and stakeholder inputs towards identifying opportunities and addressing co-ordination challenges to achieve Africa’s rural water supply and sanitation targets; reviewing the draft terms of reference and membership of the RCC, and proposing undertakings for the first year (including modalities for their achievement); and, launching the RCC.

The meeting is expected to result in an enhanced understanding of the role, impact and contribution of RWSSI towards the achievement of Africa’s water and sanitation targets in rural and small town communities; greater awareness of key issues affecting sector progress and that are central to the mandate of the RCC.

These include sector performance monitoring and reporting, resource mobilization and sustainability of rural water supply and sanitation services, national level coordination, etc. climate change and adaptation, and how the RWSSI and the region is/should be addressing them;  and a better understanding of the need for co-ordination and a commitment to enhance this at regional and national levels.

March 15, 2013

Intégrité dans le secteur de l’eau, ACRA et WIN mettent en application de l’outil de diagnostic « Evaluation Annotée de l’Intégrité de l’Eau (EAIE) » dans la zone sud du Sénégal

L’ONG italienne ACRA (Cooperazione Rurale in Africa e America Latina), la Communauté Urbaine de Cherbourg Octeville et le Réseau International pour l’Intégrité de l’Eau (WIN) ont organisé, ce 6 mars 2013, un atelier de restitution des résultats de l’évaluation annotée de l’intégrité de l’eau. L’exercice a été conduit en novembre 2012 à Ziguinchor, en Casamance, notamment dans l’arrondissement de Tenghory et dans le cadre du Programme d’Eau Potable et d’Assainissement du Millénaire du Sénégal (PEPAM).

 

Quasiment, l’ensemble des acteurs du secteur de l’eau au Sénégal, en général et en Casamance, en particulier ont pris part à la rencontre d’échanges et de validation des résultats de l’évaluation. Présidant la cérémonie d’ouverture, M. Amadou Diallo, Coordonnateur du PEPAM a souligné que « la délivrance du service de l’eau requiert non seulement une mobilisation plus accrue de moyens pour améliorer les conditions d’accès des populations à une eau potable et à des services adéquats d’assainissement, la promotion d’une approche durable à travers le recours à la gestion intégrée des ressources en eau mais également et surtout la définition d’un cadre et des instruments adaptés pour une gouvernance vertueuse du secteur associant les différentes parties prenantes ». Le Sénégal, par exemple, a réalisé beaucoup d’investissements en milieux urbain et rural pour améliorer l’accès à l’eau potable et à l’assainissement des populations. Et des résultats importants ont été atteints en vue de l’atteinte des objectifs du Millénaire pour le Développement. Seulement, le contrôle des performances dans la délivrance du service, d’appui-conseil aux différents acteurs et de régulation, entre autres nécessitent plus d’implication et de rigueur.

« Dans cette perspective, l’étude réalisée par ACRA en collaboration avec Water Integrity Network est une initiative consistante et pertinente qu’il s’agit d’élever au rang d’instrument de référence que les pouvoirs publics, les autorités sectorielles notamment, devront promouvoir et surtout prendre en compte dans le cadre de l’élaboration de la Nouvelle Lettre de Politique Sectorielle dont le processus sera lancé prochainement en vue de la définition d’une vision à l’horizon 2025 » conclut M. Diallo.

Dans son mot de bienvenu, Monsieur Armand HOUANYE de WIN, a constaté, pour s’en désoler, que malgré les efforts consentis ici et là, « l’accès à l’eau potable et à un assainissement amélioré reste pour une grande partie de la population des pays dits en développement un défi majeur qu’il convient de relever. Au nombre des causes entravant cet accès, l’on peut citer entre autres la mauvaise gouvernance et la corruption qui font que les plus nécessiteux et les plus pauvres ne puissent pas jouir pleinement de ce droit ».  D’où l’ambition de WIN de développer, promouvoir et disséminer, avec ses partenaires, des outils et méthodologies visant à promouvoir l’intégrité de l’eau. L’un de ces outils et pas des moindres est l’« Evaluation Annotée de l’Intégrité de l’Eau (EAIE) » qui a été appliqué dans ce projet Pepam/ Acra à Tenghory, dans le sud du Sénégal. L’outil EAIE, présentée par Monsieur Demba Diallo de WIN,  fait une révision des règles et des mécanismes qui gouvernent le secteur. Elle se base sur l’analyse de 3 piliers d’intégrité que sont la Transparence, la Reddition des comptes et la Participation et cela, dans 5 domaines essentiels: Politique et Législation, Régulation, Projets et Programme d’Investissement, Prestation de Services et Législation Anti-corruption.

Le rapport a montré que de gros efforts ont été faits en matière d’intégrité et de gestion dans le projet mais que le chemin est encore long. Les interventions et autres échanges devront permettre de « peaufiner les activités de suivi et l’intégration des actions prioritaires dans les différents agendas et processus afin de faire de l’intégrité de l’eau, un levier de l’amélioration de l’accès à l’eau  potable dans la région de Ziguinchor et au Sénégal ». Tout un programme !

 

                                                                                                    Racine Kane

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 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

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.

October 29, 2012

Ewohimi: where residents are expecting ‘Gods intervention’ to access safe water

                                                                                                   By Eric Ojo 

The last time residents of Ewohimi town in Esan South East Local Government Area of Edo State, South south Nigeria, fetched potable water from the dispensing pumps installed in strategic locations across the community by the state-owned Water Board, was over a decade ago.

Ewohimi: the taps stopped running a decade ago

Ewohimi, an ancient town with a population of over 25,000 people, is the largest town in Esan South  East Local Government Area. Geographically, the town lies approximately 60 kilometers West of the River Niger from Asaba and about 200 kilometers South of the Niger from Lokoja axis.

Interestingly, the community which is also second to Uromi in population and size amongst the entities that constitutes the area of the state popularly referred to as Esanland, once had a functional pipe-borne water scheme that was rated as one of best in the area in terms of efficiency, water quality and service delivery to the people.

Unfortunately, the town’s golden era could not be sustained as water supply gradually plummeted till it went completely comatose. Consequently, relics of the facilities which visibly adorn the streets in their rusty and dilapidated forms, are all that is left for first-time visitors and the children born and raised in the community within the last ten years to relate to presently.

Meanwhile, residents who were old enough and privileged to witness the development then, have never stopped relishing the experience nostalgically. They proudly tell whoever cares to listen about the ‘good old days’ but the reality today is that the people have all along, suffered the indignities resulting from relying on water from not too hygienic sources as alternative for their drinking and domestic uses since things fell apart.

A cross section of the residents who spoke in an interview, disclosed that the public water supply has been grounded completely in Ewohimi since 1999 after functioning epileptically for some time. They however added that successive administrations in the state have made faint-hearted attempts to rehabilitate it but all to no avail.

Worse still, there is presently no functional bore hole as an alternative source of water supply in the entire community. Against this backdrop, majority of the residents resort to drinking ill-treated sachet water popularly called ‘pure water’ or buy water in jerry cans and buckets from those who sell from cemented wells in their compounds while some go through the Herculean  hassle of fetching clean water from pockets of rivers and streams located several miles away.

While bearing her mind on the development, Mrs. Veronica Udo, a mother of six, lamented that the perennial scarcity of water in the community was causing additional economic hardship in most households, adding that an average family now spends between N500 to N1000 weekly on water for drinking and domestic uses.

Also speaking in the same vein, Mr. Henry Itama, a resident who is retiree, observed that what they are going in Ewohimi can be likened to the proverbial ‘Paradise lost’ because quite unlike many communities in Esanland which never had the good fortune of assessing reliable supply of pipe-borne water, they never witnessed water problem until the system collapsed due to poor management by the authorities.

Ewohimi, according to him, had the best well treated water in the 1970s, 1980s as well as the greater part of 1990s, adding that easy and regular assess to potable water inadvertently brought about healthy and hygienic living standard in the whole community.

“It is very pathetic that we have retrogressed badly in this town. It is incredible that people now drink water from sources that are any thing but potable. Some of us cannot afford to even have a good bathe after a hard day’s job in the farm, especially during dry the season here”, he said.

He also noted that the lack of potable water is taking its toll on the health of the residents, adding that water-related diseases have been on the increase lately in the community which, he said, also suffers from the absence of a well equipped primary health care centres.

Lending credence to this, Rev. Patrick Ulinkhifun, an opinion leader and native of the town, said the protracted Ewohimi water project saga which has assumed a worrisome and nauseating dimension, particularly when viewed against the background of its adverse effect on the wellbeing of the residents, who, according to him, have been suffering in silence, over the years.

Rev. Ulinkhifun observed that the indifference and apathy so far displayed by the authorities in charge of the project, has not only compounded the problem but makes it appear insurmountable in terms of what it will cost it to revamp it completely when all the facilities seems to have decayed beyond repair.

“The problem looks mysterious to me because I can not comprehend why those who are supposed to fix it are idling away doing nothing about it.  We need a miracle to turn things around here. God’s intervention seems to be the only way out of this problem”, he added.

He also attributed the problem to bad leadership at both the local and state levels, adding that there is no where societal problems can be redressed when those in authority are corrupt, greedy, selfish, wicked and morally bankrupt.

“The last time we saw sincere efforts to address the problem was when a prominent politician from Ewohimi, the late Hon. David Aimenbelomon served as caretaker chairman at the local government council. He tried to revive it but the water ran in some parts of the town for a while before it stopped and we lost it again till today”, he further disclosed.

Corroborating this, Chief Robert Enoselease, a ranking palace chief, attributed the lingering problem of resuscitating the water supply in the community to what he described as the lackadaisical attitude and neglect on the part of government to redress the situation.

Chief Enoselease, who is the Ihaza of Ewohimi kingdom, noted that the desired interventions from the government geared towards solving the problem over the years, have not been too encouraging in terms genuine and unflinching commitment to fix it and manage the facilities in a sustainable manner in the interest of the people.

The Ihaza who represents Idumijie community at the palace of the Enogie of Ewohimi kingdom, His Royal Highness, Lord Peter Ogiefoh Usifoh II, also stated that residents of the community have been very desirous, supportive and committed to making it work efficiently and effectively.

“At a point, residents had to task themselves through the collection of levies in order  to collectively contribute funds for the purchase of gas to power the pumping plant here in the Water Board office for a period of about four years just to keep it running”, he stressed.

He however expressed optimism that the present efforts by the Governor Adams Oshiomole’s administration to fast-track the rehabilitation of the Ewohimi Iyagun Water Supply Scheme may turn things around for good and put smile on the faces of the residents once again.

“As you can see, the new contractor handling the project is presently digging up the old pipes and replacing them with plastic ones but let us keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best”, he further assured.

 

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

Ekiti state: Open defecation in Governor’s office!

      Adesina Wahab, Ado-Ekiti

Adesina Wahab, a correspondent with Compass Newspaper reports that the sanitary crises in Ado Ekiti, the capital town of Ekiti state,  South west Nigeria has reached alarming trend.

Most houses and offices do not have toilets and people urinate around the premises. Even in the Old Governor’s offices, along barracks Road, Ado-Ekiti, there are no toilets, and visitors have to walk across the road to defecate in the bush close to the Nigeria Union of Journalists secretariat or rush to a fast food joint located about a kilometre away.

Ekiti State Governor: Dr Kayode Fayemi

Poor sanitary conditions in some parts of Ekiti State, especially Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, is raising fear of a possible outbreak of water based diseases, investigations by our correspondent has revealed.

It will be recalled that the Ekiti State Government recently reported cholera outbreak in two towns, namely Igbara-Odo in Ekiti South-West Local Government Area and Ikere-Ekiti in Ikere Local Government Area.

The cholera outbreak in Igbara-Odo, according to the Ministry of Health, claimed two lives, while that of Ikere-Ekiti affected some people but left no casualty.

When the epidemic broke out in the two communities, the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Sola Fasubaa, advised the people of the state to observe and imbibe sound hygienic habits.

However, despite the call by the Commissioner, the situation in some areas in Ado-Ekiti is still pitiable as far as hygiene is concerned.

In Atikankan, Irona, Okeyinmi and many areas of the state capital, people still defecate in open places.

The storm water drainage in Atikankan area serves as the toilet, as most of the houses located there have no toilet facilities.

At any time of the day, people (both young and old) could be seen defecating in the drainage or pouring human waste there, despite the closeness of houses and food sellers of different sorts.

At Okeyinmi, the popular ‘Okuta n gbe okuta leri’ (rock) is serving as the toilet for hundreds of people leaving in the area, in spite of the fact that the rock is right in the centre of the town.

Findings also show that most houses in Oke-Ila, Okesa, Ojumose and others do not have toilet facilities, leaving residents to dump wastes in streams and drainages.

The situation is not different in most of the towns across the state and interestingly, some government offices are not better of, as they lack adequate toilet facilities.

For instance, the Old Governor’s Office, Barracks Road, Ado-Ekiti has become an eyesore, as the compound is left unkempt, because the Governor and Deputy governor have moved to new sites. Some of the offices also do not have toilets and people urinate around the premises.

For a visitor to the Old Governor’s offices, defecating may require going to the bush close to the Nigeria Union of Journalists secretariat or rushing to a fast food joint located about a kilometre away.

The indiscriminate dumping of refuse is also compounding the poor sanitary condition, as people are fond of dumping their refuse in  gutters, and this always lead to blocked drains whenever it rains.

The boss of the Ekiti State Waste Management Board, Mr. Adebayo Morakinyo, recently lamented the misuse of the waste bins placed in some places in the town.

He told journalists at a forum that some people go as afar as dumping human waste in the bins.

Ado Ekiti: The rock besides Governor’s office has turned to an open toilet

He also decried the poor response of people and even some corporate bodies to the use of bins put in their premises by private public participants in the waste management scheme of the state government.

Some people are resisting paying the token the operators are charging on a monthly basis, preferring to dump their wastes in open spaces and gutters.

The story is contributed by Adesina Wahab, 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.

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.

February 23, 2012

Millions lack access to WASH services in Liberia, Sierra Leone


                                                     By MUSTAPHA SESAY Mustaphasesay25@yahoo.com

What will the World be in the not too distant future if modalities are not put in place by World Leaders, Policy Makers, and Agencies towards  the deteriorating  situations of millions of deprived communities affected by lack of access to quality and affordable water, sanitation and hygiene?

As the adage goes, ‘when I see, I feel the plight of the situation, when I hear, I recall and when I touch, I am moved by the reality on the ground.’ This is exactly the situation of most slum communities and urban areas where the population exceeds the basic social amenities.

Taking a closer look at two post war countries; Sierra Leone and Liberia, one is bound to compare and contrast the deplorable slum situation between the two countries.

POOR SANITATION AT KROO BAY

One common feature is that Kroo Bay in Sierra Leone and West Point in Monrovia were places that housed thousands of internally displaced that fled the rural areas for the cities during the civil wars that ravaged the two countries. It was during that period that population explosion took place in urban areas there by ruining most of the facilities. After the war, most of the youths refused going back to their original places as some took up petty trading and established make shift structures as they had nothing to go back to.

MAKE SHIFT TOILETS AT WEST POINT

Despite promises by Governments of these countries to relocate these slum dwellers to safer and conducive places, yet this has not been feasible due to economic and political reasons.

Speaking to some elders and politicians, some of the factors responsible for the halting of such venture is that it is difficult to relocate a population of over thirty thousand to a site as the cost involved is so exorbitant as huge funds are needed for the relocated site to have basic facilities to prevent the people returning to their previous places.

Further more funds are not always available to ensure that the empty spaces left behind are utilized for developmental purposes. As a result, the criminals will utilize such places as their hide out that will pose security threat to the society.

Another worrisome issue discussed by most of the people in these slum communities is that most have stayed in those localities with children going to schools, so it becomes very difficult to move over to a new site.

Notwithstanding some of these views,  It is becoming clear that life in these two communities are plagued with diseases, pollution, environmental hazards as a result of the lack of water, sanitation and hygiene for the growing population.

On the area of sanitation, Kroo Bay has a stream flowing into the Atlantic Ocean, most of the house hold waste, and toilets are thrown into this stream. During the day children and pigs are seeing washing in the stream thus water born diseases are easily contracted

In the rainy season, the whole area is flooded as the water from the city is emptied into this area before getting into the ocean.  With this, there has been reported cases of flooding and loss of life and properties

Crime rate is high in this community simply because there is no proper building planning making it prone to fire disaster.

Unlike West Point   located on a peninsula  on the  Atlantic Ocean between the Mesurado and Saint Paul rivers that is resided by people from 14 West African countries .It is worth noting that this area is the main source of fish  but it is disheartening to see the deplorable nature of the community with a high rate illiteracy and without basic sanitation and health facilities. To worsen the situation, the community cannot boast of a single government clinic and a school to educate the children of basic hygiene and sanitation.

As a way of getting the view of the Commissioner of the area Sylvester Larno, WASH facilities in the town is one of the worst in the capital of Liberia.

Dilating on sanitation issue, Kroo Bay in Sierra Leone is far better than as compared to West Point, the reason being that some of the houses have toilets and there is a public toilet that is decent unlike West Point with a few make shift toilets. And even with that, only those who can afford money will have to make use of the structures while the poor practice open defecation to the disadvantage of the population. There are times youths do clean their areas and the major street making it accessible to most of the social facilities in the city.

Pure drinking water is accessible as tap water and wells could be visible, while at West point, it is the opposite as residents have to walk miles, buy plastic water or drink the unhygienic water that is closer to defecation centres.

SCRAMBLE  FOR WATER IN SLUM COMMUNITY

Some common features about slum communities are that they characteristic of overcrowding that are prone to epidemic diseases. This in return will affect the health status of the population. There is no privacy and most of the children grow up with bad attitudes in life. During the rains, flooding is the order of the day in these areas closer to the sea.

Notwithstanding these menace, improving sanitation, water and hygienic facilities will curtail the spread of diseases. There is need for regular sanitization and awareness programmes on these issues. Some of the youths should be provided with skill training jobs so that with livelihood, they can look out for decent places to stay.

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 17, 2012

Residents of Clara town cry for help

“We are dying of diarrhea and cholera. We are also dysentery and malaria. We appeal to government agencies, charities and civil society organizations to come to our aid”.

Clara town located on Bushrod Island, a suburb of Monrovia, Liberia became famous for being the birthplace of Liberian football star George Oppong Weah Clara town. In recent years, the community is attracting global attention for its poor, inadequate and over stretched sanitation facilities, unsafe drinking water supply, decrepit drainages, and poor hygiene practices.

Clara Town has a population of 48,000 with 967 fully built up houses (and another 967 unfinished houses) inhabited by 12,335 women and 11,730 men, people, according to a community census exercise.
Access to water, sanitation, and hygiene services is generally poor in Liberia including its capital city Monrovia.
Facilities have generally old and deteriorated no thanks to a 14 year old civil war.

Statistics are also unreliable, but a 2009 story by Allwestafrica.com http://www.allwestafrica.com/241120092550.html reports that “just one-third of Monrovia’s 1.5 million residents have access to clean toilets, and 20 to 30 cholera cases are reported weekly; in 2008 there were 888 suspected cases, 98 percent of them in Monrovia’s overcrowded shantytowns such as West Point, Buzzi Quarter, Clara Town, and Sawmill”

February 16, 2012

“We are dying of Cholera”: residents of Clara town cry for help

                                                                        By Babatope Babalobi, in Monrovia

Clara town located on Bushrod Island, a suburb of Monrovia, Liberia became famous for being the birthplace of Liberian football star George Oppong Weah.

Clara town, founded by a Methodist missionary 40 years ago, is attracting global attention in recent years, as its inhabitants are burdened by the  effects of poor, inadequate and over stretched sanitation facilities, unsafe drinking water supply, decrepit drainages, and poor hygiene practices.

The Clara community  has a population of 48,000 with 967 fully built up houses (and another 67 unfinished houses) inhabited by 12,335 women and 11,730 men, people, according to a community census exercise. Its residents face huge challenges in accessing improved water supply, safe sanitation and hygiene services.

Access to water, sanitation, and hygiene services is generally poor in Liberia including its capital city Monrovia. Facilities have generally old and deteriorated no thanks to a 14 year old civil war.

Statistics are also unreliable, but a 2009 story by Allwestafrica.com reports that “just one-third of Monrovia’s 1.5 million residents

Non functional Water supply facility

have access to clean toilets, and 20 to 30 cholera cases are reported weekly; in 2008 there were 888 suspected cases, 98 percent of them in Monrovia’s overcrowded shantytowns such as West Point, Buzzi Quarter, Clara Town, and Sawmill”

Open defecation

Raymond is a 45 year old male resident in Clara town, who admits to practicing open defecation because basic sanitation facilities are inadequate, unaffordable, and over stretched. He narrates his experience,

When you go to the toilet, you stay in line, sometimes 100 people can be outside, and sometimes 50 people can be on the queue waiting to use the toilet.  You may pou-pou (defecate) on yourself if you have running stomach”

Veronica: I 'toilet' in the open

Another resident, Veronica a 9th grade female  student of Saint Mary’s Catholic School in Clara Town, says some of her colleagues often contact water borne diseases due to the poor WASH services.  “One of my friends had got cholera after drinking “.  As a way out the school pupils resort to buying packaged water in plastic bags: “In the school, we buy us spent $5 Liberian dollars to buy Mineral water”

Though there is a toilet in her school, there are no soap and hand towels for her to ensure personal hygiene after using the toilet facilities. If lack of hand washing items is only her headache in the school, it would have been better. 15 year old Veronica faces challenges in maintaining personal menstrual hygiene due to lack of safe water and sanitation facilities in the school, saying some of her colleagues including at times excuse themselves from class work in order to cater for their mistral needs: “If the menses of any of the female students start in school, then you will tell the Teacher, and you will come home. We often miss classes and lessons because of this.”

Open drainages is a common sight

The situation is not better in her residence. There are virtually no household’s toilet facilities in Clara Town and residents depend wholly on the public toilets built 18 years ago. The toilets are not only inadequate but also expensive.  According to Veronica: “there is no toilet in my house, and you have to spend $5 Liberian dollars each time you use the public toilets. If you use the toilets three times, you pay $15.”  What happens when she does not have this fee? “Sometimes I toilet in the open, Sometimes, If you don’t have money, when you beg them, they will allow you to use the toilet”.

Lamenting on the poor and inadequate WASH facilities in the town, David Jacobs, Chair of Clara Town Community Council said: “We want our government to come to our aid”, with hands raised to the sky in helplessness.

“There is only one dump site in this town and only eleven public toilets which were built in 1984”, now grossly inadequate to meet the needs of  members of the community  to use. As a result, several residents still defecate in the open by the beach. “People toilet in the plastics and throw it into the oceans”, said Jacobs.

David Jacobs : “We are dying"

We are dying of diarrhea and cholera. We are also dying of dysentery and malaria. We appeal to government agencies, charities and civil society organizations to come to our aid”.

When asked of efforts made by the community to address these challenges through self help projects,  C. Donyeroreh, the Vice Chairman of the Clara Town Community Council: “ it is difficult getting individual households to construct toilets because “ people are almost living below poverty level. They do not have not have money to construct toilets or boreholes.  They cannot afford it.

Most of the houses are also congested, so there is no space” The construction of wells is also not encouraged because the groundwater is salty as a result of the nearness of the community to the Atlantic Ocean.

This position is however, countered by a resident Raymond who said that it is possible for households to construct toilets. “Some houses have toilets and every landlord  should be encouraged to construct toilets”, said Raymond.

Omarley Yeabah, a former adviser to the Ministry of health environmental planning unit, in Liberia, who is in charge of ensuring water quality and promoting public hygiene awareness, said government resources were thin. “The challenges are enormous – our lack of capacity, a lack of vehicles, just a few people working on this in each county.” Nevertheless, “The situation is not terrible, considering the war we just had.”

 

February 15, 2012

Deuxième Assemblée Générale Du Wash-Jn A Monrovia

Depuis Mins De Ce Lundi 13 Févier 2012 Ce Tien Dans La Salle De Conférence De Mamba Point Hotel De Monrovia Capitale Du Liberia, La Deuxième Assemblée Générale Du Réseau De Journalistes Ouest-Africains Pour L’eau Potable L’hygiène Et L’assainissement.

 

Plus De 13 Pays Y Sont Présentés Dont La Côte D’ivoire En La Personne De Kanzli Mideh Coordinatrice De Wash-Jnci.

Les Objectifs De Cette Ag Sont :
-Bilan Des Activités 2012
-Perspectives
-Présentation De D’activités, Projets Et Besoins De Chaque Réseau National
-Réflexion Sur Le Budget Qui Sera Alloue A Chaque Réseau National Pour Mener A Bien Cette Mission

February 3, 2012

The current water situation in Brong-Ahafo Region in Ghan

The surest way to improve the quality of life of the people is improving access to quality water especially in rural communities.

Clean water is essential to health.

Though Ghana has signed up to achieving the targets set under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which cuts across all sectors of the country’s development agenda, access to potable drinking water is still a daunting problem in some communities in Brong-Ahafo.

Under the MDGs target for water, it is expected that Ghana will have provided access to 78 percent of the population with improved water by the year 2015.

By the end of 2010, about 62 percent of the more than 22 million of Ghana’s population had access to improved drinking water supply.The provisional figures from the 2010 population census put Brong-Ahafo at 2,282,128. The implication is that the population is steadily increasing but water resources cannot support the increase in the region throughout the year.

The borehole success rate of 52 percent is also relatively low. Access to potable water in rural areas in the region is 53.61 percent.

This unfortunately is below the national average of 62 percent. This is why Brong-Ahafo must be one of the government’s focal areas for improvement.

Research has shown that the region requires more than 2,243 new boreholes in communities with population within the range of 75 to 2000 people. To achieve this objective requires dedication and tenacity of purpose.

It is therefore incumbent on development partners, NGOs, Water and Sanitation practitioners and indeed every body to religiously apply him/herself to ensure that all the people in the region gain access to potable water.

This is because water is everybody’s business.

January 18, 2012

Poor Sanitation and its consequences

Poor Sanitation and its consequence

By Mustapha Sesay

Sierra Leone

e-mail mustaphasesay2007@yahoo.com

Poor sanitation which has always been associated with Africa, has significant negative effects on the national economy and that 49% of all reported sickness and injuries in Sierra Leone is related to poor sanitation. Lack of adequate sanitation is a major threat to the environment which includes the degradation of the urban environment by the indiscriminate disposal of solid and liquid waste and the pollution of fresh water and lakes by untreated human waste, the result being smaller, contaminated fish catches.

The cost of environmental damage includes discouragement of the tourist trade, reduced overseas markets and revenue for fish products, reduced production from fisheries and increased purchase costs for chemical and mechanical clean-up operations. The cause of this are all sanitation-related, either from poor lake water quality or poor hygiene during the catching process. In the 90s down to 2000, there were more government aided primary schools for students; of these schools, 44.5% had water supply

Many schools, particularly rural schools had no latrines at all and of those with latrines most did not have separate latrine facilities for girls and boys. Lack of latrines especially separate latrines for girls was identified as the worst school experience for girls. This illustrates that the issue of poor sanitation is one of the special conditions which prevent girls from fuller participation and achievement in schools and to an extent force them out of school.

January 18, 2012

Jon Lane appelle à davantage d’investissements dans l’assainissement

Jon Lane, Directeur exécutif du Conseil de concertation pour l’approvisionnement en eau et l’assainissement (WSSCC):  « Le chemin pour attirer plus de fonds vers l’assainissement, c’est d’être capable d’expliquer aux chefs d’Etats, que le financement de l’assainissement est un investissement économique important»

Pour la première fois au monde, un forum a été exclusivement consacré aux questions d’hygiène et d’assainissement. Rencontré à ce forum qui s’est tenu du 9 au 14 octobre 2011 à Mumbai, en Inde, le Directeur exécutif du Conseil de concertation pour l’approvisionnement en eau et l’assainissement (WSSCC), cheville ouvrière de la tenue de ce forum, revient sur les enjeux de ce rendez-vous historique, la stratégie pour faire de l’hygiène et de l’assainissement une priorité dans nos Etats et enfin, il insiste sur la nécessité de promouvoir le partage d’expériences et de savoir-faire entre les acteurs de ce secteur.

 Est-ce qu’il était vraiment nécessaire de consacrer un forum exclusivement à l’hygiène et l’assainissement?

Il y a eu beaucoup de réunions et conférences sur l’eau et l’assainissement mais le problème c’est que pendant ces réunions tout le monde parle de l’eau mais pas de l’assainissement. Donc, nous avions pensé qu’il était très important de consacrer cette réunion spécialement à l’assainissement et à l’hygiène, de sorte qu’on puisse se concentrer essentiellement sur ces deux sujets.

Aujourd’hui, que répondez-vous à ceux qui pensent qu’un forum, c’est une longue suite de discours  et qu’à la fin on n’a rien de concret ? Est-ce que vous pensez qu’on va sortir avec des propositions  concrètes ?

Souvent, on dit des réunions globales qu’il ne ressort pas des actions concrètes. Mais le WSSCC a organisé ce forum spécialement pour des buts pratiques au profit des professionnels qui travaillent vraiment dans des programmes d’assainissement afin de leur permettrede se rencontrer, de communiquer entre eux et d’apprendre des expériences pratiques des uns et des autres. Vous n’allez pas entendre au cours de cette conférenceun discours politique, des déclarations ou opinions officielles qui ne tiennent pas compte de cette réalité. Nous avons axé ce Forum sur la rencontre entre les équipes des projets afin qu’elles apprennent de leur travail respectif.

Nous avons suivi des gens magnifiques qui sont passionnés quand ils parlent de l’assainissement et qui ont fait beaucoup de choses merveilleuses. Comment votre organisation compte faire pour créer une dynamique de partage d’expériences et d’énergie surtout ?

Le WSSCC est une organisation d’adhésion. Donc, nous encourageons tous ceux qui viennent aux réunions à devenir membre, l’une des composantes de la grande famille du WSSCC. Aussi, nous avons un grand nombre de mécanismes pour maintenir le contact entre les rencontres. Par exemple, notre site web a une page consacrée à nos membres, où ils peuvent avoir des discussions, poster des commentaires, des documents et d’autres entre eux. Nous encourageons aussi les gens à former des groupes, pas seulement dans leur pays, mais aussi entre différents pays. Par exemple, des professionnels du Bénin peuvent s’associer avec ceux d’autres pays pour développer un sujet spécifique. Ainsi, nous pourrons les aider à maintenir le dialogue par mail ou par téléphone au niveau du site web. Cela leur permettra de continuer à dialoguer et à discuter entre eux sur ce sujet. Ils n’ont pas besoin de se rencontrer en personne. Mais, grâce à ces mécanismes de communication, ils pourront continuer leur dialogue.

Le plus grand défi aujourd’hui pour les acteurs qui travaillent dans le secteur de l’hygiène

December 7, 2011

Forum de Haut Niveau sur le secteur de l’Eau et de l’Assainissement

Forum de Haut Niveau sur le secteur de l’Eau et de l’Assainissement à Ouagadougou.

Prévue pour quatre jours, ce forum est organisé par le CREPA (Centre Africain pour l’Eau Potable et l’Assainissement). Cette rencontre d’échanges de haut niveau réunit une multitude d’acteurs et des décideurs du secteur  sans oublier les partenaires au développement et les ministres  ou encore les officiels de part le continent. Ce rendez vous sera  marqué par la tenue d’un atelier Africain  sur la tarification des services d’eau et d’assainissement, un dialogue ministériel, une table ronde des bailleurs de fonds et le lancement d’un Forum Africain sur les solutions locales innovantes dans le secteur  de l’Eau, l’Hygiène et l’assainissement.

Soulignons que cette réunion se tient en prélude aux évènements majeurs notamment le forum mondial de l’eau à Marseille et la réunion des Ministres des finances et de l’eau à Washington et cette réunion va également aider à harmoniser la position de l’Afrique en direction de ces évènements  mondiaux.

Au total vingt quatre pays sont représentés à cette rencontre. Parmi ceux-ci, on note la présence des états de l’Afrique Centrale et des Grands lacs. L’on peut citer le Caméroun, le Gabon, le Congo Brazzaville, la République Centrafricaine, le Rwanda, le Burundi et le Tchad.

L’Afrique de l’Ouest est aussi fortement représentée. A l’Exception de la Gambie et du Cap Vert, tous les pays sont présents : Bénin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinée Bissau, Ghana, Guinée Conacry, Libéria, Mali, Mauritanie, Sénégal, Sierra Léone et Togo.

Le Mozambique et Madagascar représentent l’Afrique Australe. Au niveau de l’Afrique du Nord, seule  l’Algérie est présente.

François Koami

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