Posts tagged ‘WASH’

March 10, 2014

Ndèye Dagué Gueye sur la situation des femmes handicapées en matière d’accès aux toilettes: « Parfois, nous sommes obligées de ramper…c’est dur »

Ndèye Dagué Gueye, Fédération sénégalaise des Associations des personnes handicapées

Ndèye Dagué Gueye, Fédération sénégalaise des Associations des personnes handicapées

Le monde a célébré comme tous les 8 mars de chaque année, la Journée internationale de la femme. Une fois encore, la situation des femmes et de leurs droits a été largement évoquée dans tous les pays. Mais, comme dans les autres secteurs, les femmes handicapées restent encore vulnérables et vivent dans le silence des discriminations en matière d’accès aux toilettes. Nous publions ici le témoignage de dame Ndèye Dagué Gueye, Présidente nationale du Comité des femmes de la Fédération sénégalaise des Associations des personnes handicapées  sur le calvaire que vivent les femmes handicapées en matière d’accès aux toilettes. La non prise en compte de l’équité et de l’inclusion dans le secteur WASH est tout simplement une  injustice sociale à corriger.

Selon vous, quelles sont les difficultés que les personnes handicapées éprouvent en matière d’accès aux toilettes ?

La question de l’équité et de l’inclusion dans le secteur WASH est pertinente et importante pour nous, personnes handicapées. Les gens considèrent le problème de l’accès des personnes handicapées aux toilettes comme des détails. Alors que, en tant que femmes handicapées, l’accès aux toilettes est assez difficile. En général, les bâtiments ne sont pas accessibles. C’est le cas d’une femme handicapée sur chaise roulante qui doit entrer dans une toilette avec une porte étroit. Elle est obligée de descendre et de ramper. Maintenant, une fois dans les toilettes, il n’y a pas l’aménagement nécessaire, ni de support. Parfois, les toilettes sont assez isolées…  Et au niveau des toilettes, une femme qui rampe, c’est dur. Il y a des risques d’infections. Le dernier élément, c’est que parfois comme il y a souvent de l’eau qui traine, on a des femmes qui tombent et se retrouvent avec des fractures. Nous lançons un appel pour qu’en matière d’assainissement, ces situations soient prises en compte.

Est-ce que vous avez le soutien de l’Etat sénégalais par rapport aux difficultés que vous soulevez ?

Concernant la situation des personnes handicapées, le Sénégal dispose d’une loi d’orientation sociale votée en 2010 avec un décret d’application. Le Sénégal est allez loin. Il reste l’application et c’est à ce niveau que nous faisons notre plaidoyer. Il y a une volonté politique. Il y a par exemple, au niveau de certains nouveaux bâtiments, une volonté de les rendre accessibles.

Est-ce que la loi dans son application prend en compte la question des facilités d’accès des personnes handicapées aux toilettes ?

Il faut dire que nous avons une loi révolutionnaire au Sénégal. Nous y avons beaucoup travaillé pendant plusieurs années sur tout ce qui concerne les femmes, les enfants, les personnes handicapées… dans les différents domaines (Education, santé, emploi…). On n’a occulté aucune question. L’accès aux toilettes rentre dans le champ de l’accessibilité et la loi a consacré tout un chapitre là-dessus. Donc, si la loi est appliquée, l’accessibilité aux toilettes serait résolue.

Mais, il faut dire que si pour l’application de la loi, c’est d’abord l’Etat, tout le monde est aussi concerné. Il y a la société civile et aussi le patronat.

Avez-vous un appel à lancer ?

Nous avons une loi révolutionnaire, Mais il faut que tout le monde s’implique. Car, si nous réglons la question de l’accès des personnes handicapées, des femmes enceintes ou des personnes âgées, c’est tout le monde qui gagne.

    Propos recueillis par Alain TOSSOUNON/Dakar, le 15 septembre 2013

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.

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.

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 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.

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 29, 2012

Flooding and its effects on WASH in Nigeria

Lizzy Achuagu, Chair, Enugu State Water and Sanitation Media Network, Nigeria examines the challenges  flooded communities and marginalized groups  in accessing safe WASH service in Nigeria.

Flood is  a large amount of water covering an area that is usually dry. It could be caused as a result of heavy rainfall or over flowing of a

Flood victims in a camp, Anambra state, Nigeria

river. Flooding is a disaster and should be curbed to avoid being inimical to lives.

Flood could cause so many negative things which among them are encroaching the area meant for farmlands. It could also cause erosion which may lead to earth-quake, inability to access good water, and sometimes it may affect land quality. Flooding is an unpleasant situation which has affected the lives of people and natural endowments.

In some of our communities, flooding is one of the natural disasters we face as a challenge.. Flooding as increased the cost of access to safe water as people have no option than to boil it whenever it is needed.

Flooding has reduced the communities to buying kerosene whenever water is to be used. During the rainy seasons most of rivers are overflown.

Some of our rural areas have no purified water owing to flooding and its causes. Without water, there would be unhealthy living, and everywhere around the community would be unpleasant.

 

Flooding has also affected the source of some of our communities’ ground water. In some of our communities the water there could be good for drinking but due to flooding it cannot be used for drinking water.

It is estimated that ground water flooding affects a few hundred thousand properties in some of our communities. Ground water flooding occurs as a result of water rising up from the underlying rocks or from water flowing from abnormal springs. This tends to occur after much longer period of sustained high rainfall. Higher rainfall means more water will infiltrate into the ground and cause the water table to rise above normal levels.

The precautions that can be taken by individuals to protect against ground water flooding are limited. Ground water flooding is often more difficult to prevent than surface water flooding; it’s not as simple as building flood defense to prevent river water spilling over its banks.

There are some areas where ground water flooding has been dealt with by installing pumps to remove ground water and so lower the water table but these only have a localized effect, and there is still the problem of having somewhere to discharge the water so that the communities will live happily.

However, in the last three weeks, Nigeria has been facing an unprecedented flood disaster resulting in loss of lives and properties running into billions of Naira.

In Anambra State, South East Nigeria heavy flooding has submerged several communities and about eight local governments were affected, but the worse hit is Ogbaru Anyamulum Anam, among others

These displaced   persons run into thousands of homes, loss all they had, including farmland, and productivity estimated at billions of Naira.

Speaking with one of the victims Mr. Rapheal Oduobara from Ogbaru local Government Area, said he lost everything he had but thank God for his life and the life of his people.

According to him, there are minimal loss of lives because of the early warning and proactive intervention of the state government.

He said that the state government is assisting the affected communities. Adding that churches, Non Governmental Organisations  and spirited individuals are also rendering affected people.

On how the flood affects access to their drinking water, sanitation and hygine. Mr. Oduobara said the flood cover their entire stream and the other sources of water.  According to him, “we now rely on pure water donated by good spirited individuals, NGOs and state government and we are not even sure of regaining our source of water when we get back. “

About their personal hygiene he said “you don’t talk of neatness when you are in the jungle, you are in  another man’ s land. You will soon ask me, about toilet”, he said.

Mr. Oduobara also lamented that there is no way government can provide latrine under this emergency situation so we go to bush.

In his contribution, a mother of five, Mrs. Florence Okeke said that as refugees they are not expected to be comfortable because their problem is not man made but natural disaster stressing that some of them who stays in school premises go to toilet in a nearby bush.

Flooding in Anambra state, Nigeria

Whether   they wash their hands after going to toilet? She said “no water for that. Pure water is for drinking not for washing  of hands.”

Need for Inclusive WASH in Nigeria

One of the world’s poorest groups in the society is disabled people and their inability to access basic services and facilities,  such as sanitation and safe water can result in poor health and poverty.

Often, special adaptations are not incorporated into the enabling design of sanitation and water facilities in this country.

For instance, if a community digs a bore hole without considering the disabled groups, they may not have access to that safe drinking water in their own community.

We should not exclude our bothers, sisters and children from having access to WASH because of disability.

As many as 20% of the poorest of the poor are disabled and people with different types of disabilities, experiences different challenges and discrimination in accessing WASH .

This group of people needs a well designed toilets        we cannot talk of marginalized groups without mentioning women and children who constitute about 70% of the population , they are often poorer than men.  Poor hygiene has a serious impact on women reproductive health and lack  of  WASH facilities affects women’s dignity, safety privacy and girl’s access  to education.

Children especially girls are often burden by WASH task and miss out of school many girls do not go to school when they are menstruating because their WASH needs are not met.

There is also need for the establishment of WASH in schools. The demand creation and provision of safe water and sanitation facilities in schools should be the first step towards a healthy physical learning environment.

In schools, hygienic education should be aimed at promoting practices that would help to prevent water and sanitation related disease. It also leads to   healthy behavior in future generation of Adults.

Another group that is being marginalized in the society is the older people.  This group is often among the poorest. They are likely to be affected by chronic illness  and disability and it is often a barrier for them to access water and  sanitation, so there is still need for service providers to remember and cater for them.

However, those living with HIV/AIDS are also  being discriminated against by the society for the fact that those living with HIV/AIDS need access to adequate safe water supply to prevent opportunistic infections.

The provision of the water and sanitation services needs to be accelerated urgently together with sustainable operation and maintenance because meaningful hygienic education and use of facilities by all will lead to healthy living.

Therefore, toilets and basic hygienic facilities can scientifically improve the quality of life and survival rates of people suffering from major disease like disability, HIV/AIDS as will as making it easier for those who care for them.

Federal and State Government should apply equity and inclusion in designing water; sanitation and hygiene  (WASH) programmers.

Many schools especially in the southern part of Nigeria have poor hygiene conditions or do not have water, sanitation and hand washing facilities in their respective schools.

Children have a right to basic facilities such as school toilets, safe drinking water, clean surroundings and information on hygiene. If these conditions are met children will learn better.

In Enugu State almost all the primary schools have no access to sanitation because without water, sanitation is not complete.

In an interview with primary five pupil schooling at the central school at the Central school Obinagu in Udi LGA of Enugu State Master Nnamdi  Ene said they use to hear water , water everywhere but  no water drink.
According to Master Ene, “in my school we don’t have tap water or safe drinking  water as you said but our teacher use to tell us to bring water while coming to school.”.

He explained that water could be as drinking water or they use it to mix charcoal for cleaning the blackboard.

Master Ene further said that there is pit toilet in the school but after using it, there is no water or soap to wash your hand stressing that if you still have water in your small can which you came to school with you can, wash your hand in school if not it will be at home after school

He said that their teacher thought them to always wash their hands when they go to toilet, after playing but since there is no water to do the washing of hands nobody cares.

Master Ene said that schools in the rural areas suffer more than those in the urban, pointing out that  those in the urban school may have water system type of latrine while those in rural have pit toilet because they have not seen water  to drink talking of flushing of toilet.

 

 

 

In Abakpa Nike Housing Estate Primary school story is the same, according to Miss Chika Okafor a primary six, student, there is no functional water point in the premise but  nearby yards they have well water.

 

On how the school is coping with sanitation, Miss Okafor explained that during sanitation or cleans up as they use to call it everybody will come including teachers who supervise the exercise, the pupil will sweep the surroundings and gather all the refuse to dump site infront of the school.

 

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

We are dying of water borne diseases : residents of Ikola-Ilumo and Iju communities cry out

Dayo Emmanuel recently visited Ikola-Ilumo and Iju aga,  two communities in peri urban area of Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria; and brought tales of woes from residents over high cost of water supply coupled with lack of access to safe supplies

By  Dayo Emmanuel

Ikola-ilumo community

Ikola-ilumo community in Agbado /Oke Odo Local Council Development Area of Lagos State is among the rural communities springing up in the suburb of Nigeria’s commercial nerve centre.

Inhabited mainly by low income people and artisans, residents in the community however face the obvious challenges experienced by new and growing communities in the country. Plastered bungalows and other uncompleted buildings are prominent in the community which is home to people who have found cheaper accommodation in the peri urban settlement.

A cholera victim in Nigeria

With the recent establishment of a Local Government Primary School and a borehole facility, there seems to be a little signal of government’s presence.  Though without a single tarred road, a public clinic, the community can only ask for more. The erratic power supply makes it difficult for the few residents who operate personal boreholes to pump water regularly.

A community leader and one of the executives of the Community Development Association, Elder Emmanuel Okoko confirmed the erratic power supply in the neighbourhood. “We have power supply here just about three days in a week.  It is now worse than what we used to have perhaps due to more people moving in”, he said.

Okoko who retired from Lufthansa, German airlines after about 40 years of service settled in Ikola-Ilumo around 1999. “When I came here, people queried me why I decided to settle in the bush, today, this place is opening up, at lease the population is about 250,000.  The government should come to the aid of the teeming population”, he urged.

Cost of assessing water supply in the community is a source of concern to the growing population.  Mrs. Joan Emmanuel is a School Proprietress in Ikola-Ilumo laments the difficulties in assessing clean water which is causing sanitation problems for the teeming population.

“I am the Proprietress of Bright Horizon Schools in Peace Estate, Ilola-Ilumo and interacting with the parents here I found that water supply and sanitation is a major challenge”, said Emmanuel who noted that most people in the neighbourhood are low income earners and artisans whose take home remuneration cannot sustain rent in developed settlements outside the area.  She however identified poverty as a major problem of the people causing them to compromise clean water which is as important as life itself.

Most residents in the community are low income people earners who cannot afford to sink bore holes within their premises and have to rely on the community borehole and streams.  “For instance in my family of five, we spend N350 on a drum of water every day which amounts to about N10,000 a month, most people in the neighbourhood cannot afford that and this explains why people go for alternatives which are not too safe. If you come here early in the morning you will see people searching for water in nearby wells which is not safe enough for drinking”, said Emmanuel continuing that “with family income of about N800, 000 annually, spending N350 per day on water translates to about 15% of our income, I insist that most people in the community are not that comfortable”.

“There is a borehole provided by the Local Government somewhere in the community which provides water for houses close to it.  It is a good initiative but one borehole is just not enough to serve the large population because like I said, we are about 250,000 people here”, he noted.

However, many school children in the community also do not have access to adequate water supply.  Oluwatosin Moore a pupil of Skylight Secondary School:

We do not have borehole, but we have a well from which we fetch water needed for our sanitation.  As a female student, water is essential and the well water is what we have access to in the absence of pipe borne water from the government”, she said, adding that “we buy sachet water during break for drinking or we bring water from home because the well water is not safe for drinking”.

Ihuoma Okoko, a Chemist in the community also confirms the difficulty involved in getting clean water in the area said: “Like you can see, this community is neglected and water is difficult to get.  Those who compromise clean water must spend more in buying drugs, so I feel it is easier to spend more on water than to spend the money on drugs with associated pains”, adding that “the cost of water here in Ikola-Ilumo is more than what obtains in neighbouring Ipaja or Gowon Estate where there are tarred roads good enough for water tankers and sachet water trucks, the government should please come to our aid in this community to ensure safe water because apart from the cost of good water, our health is also at stake”.

Medical Director of God’s Goal Medical Centre, Ojo-Alaba, Lagos, and Dr. Gabriel Omonaiye said access to clean water and sanitation can prevent a lot of diseases and can actually safe lives. According to Omonaiye who has treated a lot of ailments which are fallouts of lack of access to clean water among the poor, “lack of access to good water supply is the root cause of a lot of health problems faced in rural settlements and communities largely inhabited by poor people. Such community’s record high rate of cholera, diarrhea etc. and as simple as those diseases may sound; they sometimes cost not only lots of money but precious lives”

The Medical Director who coordinates medical missions in rural communities where access to safe drinking water is a challenge, continued “I have handled several health cases which are direct products of lack of access to clean water, we have had to administer between 30 to 40 drips in treating someone who contracted water borne disease due to lack of access to clean water and the cost implication can only be imagined”.

Though the cost of treating water related ailments varies from place to place, Omonaiye urged rural dwellers to ensure good hygiene and safe water intake.  He also laments the absence of pipe borne water in rural communities and even areas inhabited by the so called middle class people.

Sharing his experiences, the Medical Doctor said “there are lots of avoidable illnesses suffered by people in the rural areas just because of lack of access to clean sources of water. For instance during our trip to Olomometa beach, an off shore community near Badagry, Lagos, we found the prevalence of  ailments  Such as  Cholera, diarrhea, cold, and catarrh simply due lack of clean water and cold winds from the sea.

 

Iju-Aga Community

Iju-Aga a  semi urban community located between Lagos and Ogun States on the outskirts of Lagos is perhaps the closest settlement to the popular Iju Water works, which is the biggest water plant in Lagos State.

Ironically, most homes in the community do not take their daily water supply from the plant.

Alhaji Tijani  a community leader and prominent Landlord in the area who has said. “When I built my house here in the 1980s, I bought 11 long pipes to connect water from the main road. Then the pressure of the water was much and it was regular”.  But oday most homes in the community hosting the water works do not take water from the plant and this should not be so.

Some years ago, I cut off the water works and sank my own bore hole“due to lack of maintenance, the pipes over the years got rusted internally and the water passing through them comes out coloured and contaminated, making it unsafe for drinking and domestic

The story is however different in many homes who are not so buoyant to sink private bore holes.  Tomi Olaoluwa is a resident who grew up in the neighbourhood.  Speaking about water supply in the area, Tomi said “early in the morning residents mostly women and children would go out to seek for water from commercial bore holes where they pay before fetching”.

This area may seem to be close to the water works serving major parts of highbrow Lagos area but we are not even familiar with their service as commercial water vendors have found a lucrative business”, she said, pointing to two water selling points in the area.

However, water vendors in the neighbourhood  supply water to homes :“Each jerry cancosts N20”, said Hamza, one of the water vendors in the neighbourhood.

Iju water plant was built in 1901 to produce a capacity of 11,000 m3/d for colonial quarters in Ikoyi/Obalende areas through a normal 28’’ diameter (700mm) iron trunk “A” water pipe. Meanwhile, as the needs increased, another expansion was made in 1943 when the capacity of the water plant was raised to 27,000m3/d as accompanied by the laying of another cast iron trunk “B” pipe of 24’’ (600mm).

Charity, they say begins from home, many have continued to wonder why the community hosting the mega water corporation has not been a direct beneficiary of the service it renders to other far away communities in Lagos.

 

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.

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

August 15, 2012

WASH-JN members win 2012 WASH Media Awards

Two members of the West Africa WASH Media Network are among six winners of the 2012  “WASH Media Awards” competition for their excellence in reporting on water, sanitation and hygiene-related (WASH) issues.

They are  Alain Tossounon who is the National Coordinator of the Reseau Des Journalistes Du Benin Pour Leau et L’assainnisement (RJBEA) and Francis Umendu Odupute from the Edo Chapter of the Water and Sanitation Media Network, Nigeria

 The Journalists will receive their awards during a ceremony, on 31 August 2012 at the World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden. 

During the World Water Week, the journalists will share their experiences on reporting WASH issues with leading water, sanitation, environment and development experts reporting during different session throughout the week.

 The six journalists and their winning entries are:

  • Alain Tossounon (Benin): “Access to safe water in the town of Ava-Sô, A perilous conquest for survival.” (Accès à l’eau potable dans la commune de Sô-Ava, Une conquête périlleuse pour la survie.)
  • Ngala Killian Chimtom (Cameroon): “The Taps Have Run Dry
  • Berta Tilmantaite (Lithuania): “The River Runs Back”
  • Francis Odupute (Nigeria): “The Strategists”
  • Francesca de Châtel (Belgium): “Water Around the Mediterranean”
  • Ketan Trivedi (India): “Alchemy of Earning Money through Wastes and Making a Village Clean, Hygienic and Lovely”
  • The bi-annual WASH Media Awards competition is sponsored by the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) and the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI).

More than 150 entries from 40 countries were evaluated by a jury chaired by: Mr. Mark Tran, a notable international correspondent for The Guardian, UK. The jury included Mrs. Faz da Hall, Executive Producer Channel Africa, SABC, South Africa, Mr. Jon Sawyer, Executive Director, Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, USA. Mr. Olivier Nyirubugara, Senior Trainer Voices of Africa Media Foundation, Rwanda/Netherlands and Ms. Vinaya Deshpande, The Hindu, India.

The jury praised this year’s entries for their journalistic excellence, investigative ability, and originality.

May 3, 2012

NGO launches project to improve WASH services to Lagos slum

Bread of Life Development Foundation through its eWASH blog is today starting a media advocacy project to draw local and international attention to the deplorable living conditions, particularly poor access to safe water and sanitation services in Makoko (coordinates: Latitude : 6.496. Longitude : 3.388.), a slum in Lagos state, Nigeria.

http://assemblyonline.info/?p=16066

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April 13, 2012

Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) partnership

http://www.waterworks.me/HLM2012Media

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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

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