Posts tagged ‘water and sanitation’

April 15, 2013

Meeting Rural Water Supply and Sanitation MDG in Africa

                 By Babatope Babalobi,  who was in Tunis    babalobi@yahoo.com

Special Report

Mr Sering Jallow, Director Water and Sanitation Department, African Development Bank (AfDB), (left); Hon Christian Herbert, Deputy Minister for Rural Development and Community Services, Liberia and Mr Bai Mass Tall, Executive Secretary of African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW)

In the year 2012, the United Nations Children’s Fund and World Health Organization announced cheering news that the world has achieved the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of halving the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water, three years  in advance of the 2015 MDG deadline.

Titled: Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation 2012, the report says 89% of the world’s population, or 6.1 billion people, used improved drinking water sources, at the end of 2010. This was one per cent more than the 88% MDG target.

The report was received with excitement globally, but people living in most parts of Africa, received it with mixed reactions as the report did not reflect the reality on the ground. The report itself admitted the fact that global coverage figures mask massive disparities between regions and countries, and within countries.

The truth is that Africa still has the lowest total water supply coverage of any region in the world. Currently about 300 million people in Africa do not have access to safe water and about 313 million have no access to sanitation. Only 61% of the people in sub-Saharan Africa have access to improved water supply sources compared with 90% or more in Latin America and the Caribbean, Northern Africa, and large parts of Asia. Over 40% of all people globally who lack access to drinking water live in sub-Saharan Africa.

According to figures provided by Sering Jallow, Director Water and Sanitation Department& African Water Facility, AfDB, as of 2010, 47.6% of Africans had access to water supply, and 27.9% had access to improved sanitation, but these figures are far below the MDG targets of 70% for water supply, and 62% for sanitation. Only about 16 countries in Africa are on target to meet the MDGs for water while less than 10 are likely to meet the sanitation targets necessitating the need to develop new initiatives to accelerate access.

At the current pace, an African Development Bank (AfDB) study calculated that most sub Saharan African countries will meet access-to-water target of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) only in 2040, and the access-to sanitation target in 2076.

Apart from massive disparities among continents and countries, there are also massive disparities within countries, with most rural areas having the lowest access figures compared to urban areas; yet, most African, about 62% live in rural areas. Access to services is estimated to be 47% for water supply and 44% for sanitation. In view of the low access to WSS services in rural areas, rural populations are burdened to a greater extent by preventable water and sanitation related diseases, suffer great deprivation of women and children from embarking on productive economic activities due to time and efforts used to fetch water. The deprivation also results in low enrolment rate in education. These problems contribute to accentuate poverty in the rural areas.

Challenges of Rural Water supply and Sanitation in Africa

The challenges facing Rural Water supply and Sanitation (RWSS) services in Africa include the following:

  1.  Inadequate investment for sustainable service delivery and access.
  2.   Poor policy and institutional framework to foster effective and efficient implementation and management of RWSS services.
  3.  Lack of human capacity to establish community-managed RWSS services as well as engineering and drilling/construction capacity to deliver WSS facilities.
  4.   Inefficient management of Operation and Management of water supply and sanitation services as many facilities have fallen into disrepair due to lack of spare parts and maintenance.
  5.  All these scenarios are worsened by water resources variability and scarcity (droughts, population pressure, and environmental degradation) in some countries.

 

Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative (RWSSI) 

The Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative (RWSSI) is one of the donor led efforts to accelerate access to water and sanitation in Africa and it aims at attaining 66% access to water supply and sanitation by the year 2010,  80% by 2015, and full access by 2025. The African Development Bank Group conceived the RWSSI in 2002 within the framework of the Bank Group’s strategic plan (2003 –2007) and in response to the Africa Water Vision and the UN Millennium Development Goals.

Launched in 2003 by AfDB, it was then adopted by African governments and international development partners as the common Framework for resource mobilization and investment at the First International Conference on Rural Water Supply and Sanitation in Africa, held in Paris in April 2005.

The Initiative has received backing from the international community including the G8 Summit at Evian, the World Panel on Financing Water Infrastructure and the African Ministerial Council on Water (AMCOW) as well as several bilateral donors.

Thus, RWSSI is a joint programme coordinated by the AFDB at the continental level, but financed by many donors, other partners and Regional Member Countries (RMCs)

The overall objective of the RWSSI is to provide access to sustainable water supply and sanitation services to 271 and 295 million people in rural Africa, respectively, to reach the target of 80 percent coverage by 2015.

By its estimates, a total of approximately 270 million rural people will need to be provided with access to improved water supply and about 300 million to sanitation in order to meet the 2015 RWSSI target of 80% access to water supply and sanitation.

This objective of achieving 80% access in 2015 and universal access by 2025 may become a pipe dream as there is a large gap between current financial flows and financial requirements to meet the goals for 2015 and 2025. Annual flows would need to be significantly increased by up to US$1.2 billion to meet the targets. An estimated USD 14.2 bn required to provide water to 271M people and sanitation facilities for 295M people; while the total financial resources required to achieve the 2015 RWSSI targets were estimated at USD14.8 billion.

Other challenges identified in the course of implementing the RWSSI programme include the following:

  1. Entrenching decentralisation: Though many African countries have embarked on the process of devolving responsibilities for water and sanitation services to local authorities, in most cases, decentralization has only been on paper with little practical manifestation. More importantly, there is a need to increase financial flows and transfer authority to local level structures.
  2. Improving supply chains: Existing supply chains managed by governments are weak and most RWSS programs have not incorporated the establishment of privately-driven supply chains. Communities are exposed to very weak supply chains and post-construction support.
  3. Low sanitation coverage: According to the JMP 2010 report, only 6 countries in Africa are likely to meet the sanitation MDG target. Without further political and financial commitment from Governments and development partners, the sanitation situation might actually retrogress on the continent. In most countries the management of sanitation is fragmented and there is no designated budget and institutional home for sanitation provision.
  4. Conflicting financing mechanisms for sanitation: The majority of the RWSS programs finance only community mobilization and training in hygiene education and construction of public sanitation facilities. There is a need for policy guidance on the financing of household sanitation facilities.
  5. Improving Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) frameworks: Despite financial support through a number of RWSS programs for the establishment of M&E systems, most countries are unable to provide reliable data for sector planning and information management.
  6. Weak knowledge dissemination: Best practices and experience from use of innovative technologies are not efficiently shared across the region due to lack of knowledge and information dissemination mechanisms, and thus the benefits of innovative approaches and experiences are often lost.

A study by the African Development Bank (AfDB) concludes on country experiences indicates that increased efficiency in the water and sanitation sector would only be achieved if the following elements are put in place:

  1. Improved sector coordination, with assignment of clear responsibility to one ministry accountable for progress in the achievement of water and sanitation targets;
  2.  Increased integration between policy making, planning, budgeting and monitoring and evaluation;
  3. Increased focus on capacity building, especially at the local level, and for all stages of water and sanitation projects – from planning to procurement, to execution, monitoring and maintenance;
  4. Promotion of linkages among stakeholders, including government bodies and donors, and civil society organizations.
  5.   Adoption of well-designed water utility reforms are substantially improving access to services and making progress in financial capacity to sustain and expand the services.

The RWSSI hopes to accelerate access to sustainable RWSS in Africa through:

  1. Awareness raising;
  2.  Beneficiary participation;
  3. Adoption of fast track mechanisms;
  4. Using demand driven programmatic approaches;
  5.  Raising the profile of sanitation;
  6.  Emphasis on capacity building; and
  7. Mobilization of more funds from governments, communities, NGOs and donors.

The RWSSI prides itself as the only continental  initiative focusing on RWSS services at such large scale; and as of Dec. 2012, the initiative had implemented  37 programmes in 26 countries, providing water supply and sanitation access to 45 million and 30 million people (2011 values), respectively.

Launch of RWSSI Coordinating Committee in Tunis

From the foregoing discussions two key factors are strategic for up scaling and sustaining the delivery of water and sanitation services in rural Africa- they are adequate financing and effective coordination.

  1. Financing: With an estimated additional USD 8.1 billion required, there is need to attract much improved levels of financing into the sector; and
  2.  Coordination at continental level: Is a need to develop more inclusive governance with greater involvement and effective participation of key stakeholders to jointly support and achieve the financing, implementation and reporting requirements of the initiative to deliver better results on the ground.

Group photographs of about African  150 Water and Sanitation experts that attended the meeting

The process of improving financing and coordination of RWWS activities at the continental level received a major boost, recently when major stakeholders gathered in Tunis, capital of Tunisia, March 26 and 27, 2013 to brainstorm the operational modalities of a Coordinating committee as a platform that will facilitate improved coordination and sector learning among partners and stakeholders towards the achievement of the RWSSI’s goals and targets.

The specific objectives of the meeting are:

  1. Appraise 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;
  2.  Share country and field experiences in co-ordination to inform the way forward for RWSSI;  
  3.  Obtain partner and stakeholder inputs towards identifying opportunities and addressing co-ordination challenges to achieve Africa’s rural water supply and sanitation targets
  4.  Define the process of establishing of a Coordinating Committee for RWSSI, review the draft terms of reference and membership of the RCC, and propose undertakings for the first year (including modalities for their achievement); and,
  5. Launch the Coordinating committee.

 

The meeting in Tunis was attended by officials from the AfDB, African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW), the World Bank, UNICEF, WaterAid as well as water and sanitation Journalists networks. It lasted for three days, divided into five sessions, during which participants discussed issues related to the establishment of the Coordinating committee for the RWSSI.

The opening session on ‘Progress and plans of the RWSSI’ was addressed by Mr. Gilbert Mbeshrubusa, AfDB Vice President, Operations III – Infrastructure; Mr. Francois Kruger, Executive Director, AfDB; Mr. Bai Mass Taal, AMCOW’S Executive Secretary; Hon. Christian G. Herbert, Deputy Minister for Rural Development and community Services, Liberia; and Mr. Sering Jallow, AfDB Director Water and Sanitation Department.

During the second session, Mr. Bai Mass Taal mounted the podium again to introduce the essence of the proposed RWSSI Coordinating committee.

The third session focused on how national coordination of RWSS could be strengthened at country levels. One of the speakers- Bethlehem Mengistu, Regional Advocacy Manager of WaterAid in East Africa, who shared experiences on ‘Sector Coordination and  Performance Monitoring’ in Malawi. According to Mengistu, the effects of poor coordination of RWSS at country levels include the following:

1.      Duplication of efforts and investments

2.      Un sustainability of WASH services

3.      Poor WASH sector accountability

4.      Lack of ownership of initiatives/investment

5.      Corruption in WASH Sector

6.      Marginalization (no participation, equity and inclusion in WASH service provision

7.      And consequently right to water and sanitation not realized!

 

Megistu explained how WaterAid in East Africa is promoting better sectoral coordination of RWSS at country levels using its interventions in Malawi as a case study:

“In Malawi, WaterAid is supporting decentralized structures, and so far a total of 10 local government areas have been supported to develop District Strategic Investment Plans (DSIPs) which provides direction to planning, implementation, and monitoring of water and sanitation programmes, while about 12 districts are currently being supported by UNICEF to do the same”.

She, however, admitted that this best practice is not without its challenges: “due to lack of devolution, DSIPs struggle to mobilize resources to implement plans, although the Local Development Fund was introduced as a mechanism for supporting projects, tiny amounts are available for water and sanitation on a competitive basis”, said Megistu.

Other initiatives supported by WaterAid to promote better sectoral coordination in Malawi include

1.      Establishment and strengthening of civil society Networks capable of influencing the design, implementation and evaluation of effective WASH policies at all levels

2.      Strengthening sector performance monitoring including data reconciliation/harmonization with international standards and Water Point Mapping

3.      Supporting budget advocacy and tracking

4.      Engagement with Parliamentarians to champion increased sector financing in WASH.

In the fourth session, participants were distributed to workgroups that extensively discussed the functions, structure, and 2013 work plan of the proposed Coordinating committee.

 

The first work group assessed how to effectively monitor, evaluate, and report RWSS programmes in Africa and the questions posed to them are: How could the Coordinating Committee support to improve Monitoring and Evaluation (M and E) at country and regional level? What should be the shortterm deliverables and workplan for the newly formed Coordination Committee in the area of RWSS monitoring and Evaluation, and Reporting? What are the major needs and barriers for effective country M and E and Reporting?

Presenting their report to the Plenary session of the Tunis meeting, participants in this group recommended that the new Coordinating Committee should assist in harmonizing and standardizing RWSS indicators for use in the AMCOW’s M and E; assist countries to develop capacity for RWSSM and E and reporting;  provide platform for linkages to existing instruments, AfDB, African Water Facility (AWF), and promote peer to peer learning and exchanges as well as scaling up good experiences.

Water Supply and Sanitation Engineer, African Development Bank

The second work group deliberated on ‘Financing and resource mobilization for rural water supply and sanitation services’ in Africa; and its report recommended the following:

1.      Development of Investment plan and financing strategy by all countries

2.      Identification of projects to be financed

3.      Need to place emphasis on infrastructure investment instead of support to soft wares such as workshops

4.      Need to improve water and sanitation governance to inspire visibility and confidence

5.      Implementation of sector reform policies to improve efficiency

6.      Development of absorption /implementation capacity by beneficiaries

7.      Use of  call for proposals with transparent and clear time frames; an

8.      Ownership/personal involvement of political leadership.

 

Other recommendations of the group include:

1.      Development of strategic approaches for post-conflict/fragile states, “aid orphans” such as Central African Republic, Sudan and Guinea Conakry.

2.      Identification of users as a stable source of finance: participation, and the need to balance tariffs and subsidies.

3.      Consideration of the private sector involvement in RWSS based on the examples of Burkina Faso, Kenya, and Senegal.

4.      Learning strategies from urban water supply and sanitation UWSS and scaling up where appropriate.

5.      Cross-sector collaboration: e.g. agriculture, and rural development.

6.      Promotion of government contribution for stability.

7.      Greater involvement in Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP) and mobilising communities.

8.      Campaigning more on the role of Water supply and sanitation  in health and food security

9.      Identification of champions to promote innovative financing.

Another work group considered the structure of the proposed coordinating committee of the RWSSI; and the questions it considered include:

  1. Based on your knowledge of existing Africa wide institutions and ongoing activities, what should the membership of the proposed Coordinating Committee be and why?
  2. How should it be structured? What are your views on the proposed structure?
  3. What should be its short‐term work plan?
  4. What are the resources implications for the Coordinating Committee?

In its report, the group recommended a name change from Regional Coordinating Committee of the RWSSSI to Coordinating Committee of the RWSS, arguing that the word ‘regional’  is confusing. Participants also decided that the RWSSI Coordination Committee will comprise of eighteen (18) members drawn from AMCOW, Donor community, AfDB, Civil society, and Water and Sanitation Journalists network.

Specifically, the group recommended that the Coordinating committee should be co chaired by the AfDB and‐ AMCOW Secretariat; and its memberships should include regional representatives AMCOW’s Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) Countries: (Chad, Kenya, Libya, Angola and Nigeria); representatives from Ministries of Finance/Planning  in AMCOW’s TAC countries: (Chad, Kenya, Libya, Angola and Nigeria); a donor representative; a representative from RWSSI‐Trust Fund; one representative from United Nations (UN-Water); Non governmental organizations to be represented by the African Network for Water and Sanitation; the media to be represented by Water and Sanitation Journalists Network; and the civil society to be represented by a well known group.

Samuel Ome, Director, Water quality control and Sanitation/Chairman National Task Group on Sanitation, Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Nigeria discussing with Mr Sering Jallow, Director Water and Sanitation, AFDB

The group also recommended that the structure of the Coordinating committee should be finalized within three months and the inaugural meeting of the body should be convened within the next six months.

One major achievement of the Tunis meeting was the approval of the understated terms of reference for the proposed Coordinating Committee of the RWSSI. It was agreed that the Coordinating committee will embark on:

1.      Regional and international awareness of RWSSI for broader ownership and greater impact.

2.      Advocacy and promotion of resource mobilization for national RWSS programs;

3.      Inter-governmental coordination facilitating sharing;

4.      Regional sector monitoring and reporting;

5.      Promote Transparency and accountability; and,

6.      Promote Knowledge sharing and peer support in: National RWSSI strategies and policy development, Donor harmonization and coordination, Capacity Building, and Monitoring and evaluation for advocacy.

The meeting was rounded up, with the launch of the Coordinating committee of the RWSSI by Christian G. Herbert, Deputy Minister for Rural Development and community Services, Liberia who represented the Liberian President-  Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.

For more information on the RWSSI, contact: Nalubega Maimuna- m.nalubega@afdb.org

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 2, 2012

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

 

                                                                              By ‘Fisayo Soyombo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

November 2, 2012

Jos: urine polluted water turns to ‘burkutu’ beer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WASH situation in Zamfara state

By Hassan A. Bamidele,  Hassanmmusaa@yahoo.com

Hassan Bamidele, Chair, WASH Media Network in Zamfara state, Northern Nigeria examines the status of water supply, sanitation, and hygiene in the state.

 

Flooding and water contamination

A fallout of the recent flood that ravaged major Zamfara villages is likely outbreak of  an epidemic . In Dangulbi village,  for instance where buildings were  heavily submerged by water Public health is highly endangered among residents as the water sources are heavily polluted, and  there is increase incidences of  water borne diseases  among little children.

The District Head of the village, Malam Ubaidu appealed for donation of drugs to ‘de worm the children against water borne disease.”

Unsafe drinking water supply

The WASH situation in Kambarawa and other villages of Kaura-Namoda Local Government of Zamfara State Is highly appaling.

  1. Water is several wells in the villages are polluted and contaminated necessitating being declared unsafe for use.
  1. Dump sites have contaminated underground water making them toxic, yet people still fetch this water for domestic use. Villages dig holes to fetch  water that comes out  brownish in colour,filterate and Use the residue domestically.

A group of nine villages including Lambar-Kurya, has no good toilet facilities for their public schools  Resulting in  feacal residues swimmings back to the available streams where residents source drinking water.

Ubaidu Sani a resident of Kurya Madara settlement in Kaura Namoda Local Government bitterly complained:“our water smells, and people are complaining of itching and skin rashes coupled with dysentery, diarrhea etc”

At Kasuwar Daji Bridge, residents indiscriminately dump garbage just any where and contaminates the ponds, wells, streams that harbors little water for their daily consumption.

Many communities in these villages have sad tales to tell as they search for water all most every day.

Yearly, diarrhea, dysentary and other acute respiration infections are responsive for the deaths of children in the above listed/visited villages as a result of their poor source of drinking water, poor sanitary conditions and filty environment.

 

Situation of WASH in Schools

In most of the schools, zinc built kitchens are always close to the few public toilets available in the schools.

-      Poor hygiene practices-Most of the kitchen staff’s are with their children whereas these children defecate anywhere and pour sand on top to cover it up close to the kitchen premises.

-      Majority of the students defecated at the back of the few available toilets in the bushy parts close to the kitchen because these few toilets have poor facilities and they feared that they may contact diseases when they use them.

In  Government Girls Secondary School, Samaru, Gusau, Zamfara State, the hand dug well provides water for the school  kitchen is not well  covered and situated close to the School incinerator where refuse/dirts were normally dumped for burning. At times  particles from flames seep into the well.

The schools toilets facilities are  in bad shape and hand washing practices is  almost non existent among students.

Excerpts of an Interview with a school pupil

What is your name and which class are you?

My name is Zainab Mailafia Gusau. I am in JSS 3A.

And I am the Ameerah (Head of the female Muslims students in the junior section of the school).

What is yours reaction on the poor sanitary conditions that has enveloped the school?

Zamfara state

Lets me start by saying that healthy-hygiene orientation should be inculcated in either the curriculum or extra curricular activities in all the schools in the state because most houses in this part of the country are not health conscious.

They don’t know it as a sin or an offence. Hence they say charity begins at home, so said the adage but the reverse is the case, let us then take charity from outside and bring it home for us to imbibe or copy.

Most of the schools in the state are provided with inadequate toilets facilities. The available ones has been badly used or damaged by the students-user.

No cleaner to wash or disinfect it. During weekly inspection days, the mistress incharge orders the students to clean up the place but after cleaning, the affected students will not properly hand-wash themselves. So they carry these infected hands to the kitchen to collect their morning breakfast.

Are you saying that Government/School Authorities are responsible for these poor sanitary conditions?

Of courses yes, as government can not do it all, lets them call corporate bodies viz banks and other companies in the state to observe their Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) by coming to the improvement of these poor sanitary conditions in these schools all over the state.

Can you enumerate the measures to be use or adopted?

-      Let there be storage tanks in keeping water for students use.

-      Let them bring enough detergents i.e. Omo, Soaps for proper hand washing after toilet use.

-      Let the students use these soap and water before going for their breakfast

-      Let them buys buckets – that is one bucket – one classroom with many cups for student consumptions.

-      Let the kitchen be far away from the public toilets to be constructed.

-      Let there be orientation/training for the kitchen staff on proper and good sanitary conditions when preparing food for the students.

-      Let them build adequate toilets with disinfecting equipment and cleaners and adequate water provisions.

-      Let them provide working ceiling fans in all the classrooms and remove the students from all racker buildings constructed by the Yarima’s administration. This is because it absorbs heat coupled with the severe heat period/season. Anytime the students takes bean cake called “Kosai” in Hausa or the day they take boiled egg as their breakfast, the entire classrooms are heavily polluted, most especially these rackers buildings classrooms, thus becoming entirely not conducive for learning and infections can easily emits in such environment.

If these measures were strictly adhere to, the students will be disease free and will carry the much eluded charity that suppose to follow them from home back to their destination.

Thank you Zainab for your audience:

Thank you Sir.

 

 

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

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 20, 2012

MONROVIA: A WEST POINT, L’EAU QUI TUE.

Quelques années après la guerre civile, les conséquences d’un assainissement relatif et du manque d’eau sont nombreuses sur la santé de tous et en particulier des femmes et des enfants. 11/20 est la note attribuée par l’UNICEF ET WATERAID en 2011 en matière d’assainissement.

Les organismes précisent également que 2900 enfants meurent chaque année des suites de diarrhées. Au delà d’une note, l’assainissement est une réalité qui invite à un questionnement multiple. En cette douce matinée de mercredi 15 février 2012, les journalistes spécialisés aux questions d’accès à l’eau, l’hygiène et l’assainissement de 14 pays d’Afrique s’intéressent à la situation du Liberia. Leur descente sur le terrain les conduits entre autre à West Point et Clara Town. L’occasion de
West Point qui est une zone de grandes endémies ne bénéficie que d’une Case de santé d’une capacité réelle de dix lits. Les maladies qui y sont enregistrées fréquemment sont liées à la consommation des aliments souillés. Mais la cause directe reste l’utilisation de l’eau de la rivière très polluées. L’eau qui sert à tous les usages quotidiens à West Point, tue.

Il est 16H 15 minutes quand nous arrivons dans la salle d’enregistrement du case de santé de West Point. C’est un petit centre construit il y a une dizaine d’année pour servir une communauté de 10.000 membres, et pourtant multiplié par quatre aujourd’hui. Trois jeunes femmes attendent dans la toute petite salle. Une autre ressort immédiatement tenant la main d’un plus jeune. Selon Martha la mère, Karim son fils a quatre ans et demi et aurait de la fièvre. La case de santé ne reçoit la visite du médecin qu’occasionnellement.

C’est donc l’infirmière major qui assure la relève. Elle hésite à nous accorder quelques minutes, et finalement répondra à trois de nos préoccupations. Selon Mme Constancia, « l’enfant qui vient de sortir est toujours maladif. Comme lui, les enfants sont réguliers à la case pour les mêmes causes. »
West Point et Clara Town, deux bidons villes de bidons vides.
Un enfant libérien sur neuf meurt avant son cinquième anniversaire, soit 110 sur 1.000 naissances vivantes, selon l’Enquête démographique de santé au Libéria en 2007. Environ 39 pour cent des enfants sont chétifs ou trop petits pour leur âge. Les principales causes de décès sont le paludisme, la diarrhée et les maladies respiratoires.

Plusieurs bidon-villes de Monrovia sont situées le long des rives marécageuses polluées du fleuve Mensurado, près du centre-ville de Monrovia. Les populations de West Point, de Clara Town ou de Slipway un peu plus loin utilisent l’eau qu’elles jugent clair et donc potable ou alors se servent de l’eau de la rivière. Les fosses septiques quant à elles sont en général construites en matériau provisoire et gérées par des privées. Les fosses débordent régulièrement, et des ordures brûlantes s’entassent entre les égouts entourant les latrines boueuses.
Notre emploi de temps ne nous aura pas permis de rencontrer le responsable de « Liberia Water and Sewer », la Société d’eau et d’assainissement du Libéria. Mais des habitants de West Point affirment que la société s’atèle depuis des années à reconnecter les tuyaux détruits pendant des décennies de guerre civile.

Les coupures d’eau sont fréquentes et peuvent mettre des jours voire des semaines. Les habitants dont le revenu est très modeste ne peuvent donc pas se permettre l’alternative de l’eau minérale qui est un luxe.

Au delà de la décision politique de soins de santé publique gratuits à travers le pays pour les enfants de moins de cinq ans, des efforts restent à fournir par les autorités pour l’accès universel aux soins de sante et à l’eau à tous les Libériens.

La majorité des populations n’a pas d’autre choix que de déféquer en plein air. De plus, la capacité des centres de santé ne parvient pas à s’occuper des cas graves d’enfants qui arrivent malnutris, souffrant de diarrhée et de déshydratation critiques. Ils sont renvoyés vers les hôpitaux publics tels que JFK Hospital et Redemption.

Eddy Patrick DONKENG
donkengeddy@gmail.com
CAMERWASH

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”

January 18, 2012

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

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

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

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

January 12, 2012

Concours de reportages sur l’Eau et l’Assainissement WASH-JN WASH

Le Réseau des Journalistes Ouest Africains sur l’eau et l’assainissement (WASH-JN) est un réseau régional de journalistes couvrant les questions d’approvisionnement en eau et l’assainissement pour les divers médias de masse de l’Ouest 13 pays africains, le Bénin, le Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Côte d’Ivoire, le Ghana, Guinée, Libéria, Mali, Niger, Nigéria, Sénégal, Sierra Leone et le Togo.

Son objectif stratégique est d’augmenter la production de reportages convaincants sur l’approvisionnement en eau, assainissement et hygiène (WASH) se concentrant en particulier sur les perspectives des populations pauvres afin de parvenir à une attention accrue de tous les citoyens et les décideurs sur ces questions.

Vers l’accomplissement de cet objectif, le WASH-JN invite les journalistes à soumettre des reportages  convaincants portant sur WASH pour publication sur le blog du WASH-JN-www.wash jn.net.

Des honoraires seront payés pour les meilleurs reportages qui seront publiés sur le blog.

Termes de Référence
1. Les reportages peuvent être au format texte, vidéo, photographique ou audio.
2. Les auteurs des reportages doivent s’inscrire sur le blog www.wash-jn.net pour soumettre leur production pour publication. Vous pouvez également visiter le site http://washjournalists.wordpress.com/wp-login.php et vous connecter en utilisant “washjn” comme nom d’utilisateur et “CEDEAO” comme mot de passe.

3. Une fois connecté, cliquez sur “Add New” sous “Post”, et soumettez vos reportages. Pour matériel audio et vidéo, vous pouvez soumettre l’URL sous lequel il a été publié.

4. Le nom complet de l’auteur et son adresse électronique doit être clairement inclus dans tous les reportages soumis.

5. Les reportages peuvent être présentés en anglais ou en français

6. Les auteurs des reportages doivent avoir les droits d’auteurs complets sur leur production

7. Les reportages doivent avoir été édités et peuvent avoir déjà été publiés.

Les reportages soumis doivent l’être dans l’une des deux catégories suivantes :
a. Catégorie A: Reportages WASH Pro-pauvres
Cette catégorie concerne les reportages qui mettent en lumière les questions WASH général, y compris l’accès, l’équité et l’inclusion, la transparence, l’égalité des sexes, mécanisme de financement, et la bonne gouvernance. Les travaux qui concernent les groupes marginalisés, les plus vulnérables et les populations urbaines pauvres dans les bidonvilles dans toute l’Afrique occidentale seront très bien accueillis.

Cette catégorie est soutenue par Water Aid en Afrique occidentale pour l’approvisionnement en eau et l’assainissement

b. Catégorie B: Reportages sur la transparence dans le secteur WASH
Peuvent participer pour cette catégorie des reportages qui mettent en valeur et font la promotion de la transparence, la responsabilisation et la bonne gouvernance dans le secteur WASH.

Cette catégorie est soutenue par Water Integrity Network (WIN).

9. Cet appel est ouvert à tous les journalistes dans la région Afrique de l’Ouest. Cependant, les journalistes participants seront tenus d’adhérer à la plate-forme nationale WASH dans leur pays s’ils n’en sont pas déjà membres. Les formulaires d’adhésion sont disponibles sur demande auprès de: Babalobi@yahoo.com
10. Tous les articles publiés seront examinés chaque semaine par un jury composé de représentants du WSSCC, WIN, et le WASH-JN et les auteurs des gagnants seront annoncés chaque semaine et recevront par transfert d’argent les montants indiqués ci-dessous:

a.       Reportages WASH Pro-pauvres: 50 $ par gagnant

b.      Transparence dans le secteur WASH: 25 euros par gagnant

11. La décision du jury est définitive et ses membres peuvent choisir un nombre illimité  d’entrées, donc de gagnants par semaine.

12. En outre, l’auteur du reportage qui sera jugé le meilleur dans la catégorie « WASH Pro-pauvres » au mois de Janvier 2012 sera parrainé pour assister à la 6ème Forum Mondial de l’Eau en France en Mars 2012. Le soutien financier pour ce parrainage est assuré par le Water Aid en Afrique occidentale pour l’approvisionnement en eau et l’assainissement.

13.Ceci est également une invitation pour les journalistes à soumettre des articles pour le Prix des médias WASH, http://www.wsscc.org/media/wash-media-awards/2011-2012, les gagnants seront parrainés pour participer à la Semaine Mondiale de l’Eau à Stockholm.

14. Pour tout renseignement, envoyez un courriel à: Babalobi@yahoo.com

January 12, 2012

WASH-JN’s story competition


The West Africa Water and Sanitation Journalists Network (WASH-JN) is a regional network of Journalists reporting the Water supply and Sanitation sector for various mass media in 13 West African Countries– Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.

 

Its strategic objective include amplifying and  production of compelling reports on Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) focusing in particular on poor people’s perspectives in order to achieve increased attention from all citizens and decision makers.

 

Towards fulfilling this objective, the WASH-JN  hereby invites Journalists to submit compelling WASH stories for publication on the WASH-JN’s blog   www.wash-jn.net.

 

An Honorarium will be paid for the  best news stories published on the Blog.

 

December 7, 2011

WASH Journalists handout on WASH and AIDS

AIDS patient in Nigeria

                                                                     By Babatope Babalobi

The challenges facing people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) are numerous; lack of safe drinking water, appropriate sanitation and hygiene education are just a few. In countries where antiretroviral drug therapy is keeping PLHIV well enough to resist most other life-threatening opportunistic infections, they are still dying from diarrhea.

  • Every year over 2.8 million people die from AIDS. Over 33 million people live with HIV, most in low- and middle-income countries including West Africa.
  • Improved nutrition and food security reduces susceptibility to diseases, including HIV/AIDS.
  • Proper nutrition is a key aspect to maintain the health of PLHIV taking antiretroviral drug therapy.
  • Diarrhea blocks nutrient absorption creating a cycle of poor nutrition among PLHIV.
  • People living with HIV/AIDS and others with compromised immune systems, are more prone to common illnesses and diseases such as diarrhea. As such, access to improved sanitation and water supply is essential to the overall health of people living with HIV/AIDS.
  • Opportunistic infections, resulting from water and sanitation related diseases and immune suppression in people living with HIV can accelerate the progression of HIV to AIDS. The frequency of those infections is closely tied to the level of water and sanitation services available to households affected by HIV/AIDS as well as the hygiene practices of household members.
  • Diarrheal disease and various types of skin diseases are common secondary (or ‘opportunistic’) infections.[
  • Households caring for PLHIV with advanced illness may also require a greater quantity of water than other households for medicines, bathing and laundry. This adds to the existing burden on caregivers to collect water

Solutions that work

  • Improved water supply and sanitation reduces susceptibility to and severity of HIV/AIDS and other major diseases.
  • Providing access to a safe, reliable and sufficient water supply and basic sanitation is essential for both the people living with HIV/AIDS and their caretakers who are often relatives, friends and neighbors.
  • Improved access to a sustainable water supply lessens the risk of sexual violence, a risk factor for HIV, experienced during water collection.
  • One study of people living with HIV/AIDS in Uganda found that the presence of a latrine reduced the risk of diarrheal disease by 31%.
  • Water and sanitation services which are located in close proximity to HIV-affected households can have important labor saving effects, reducing the burden of caregiving and allowing more time for other activities, including school and income generation.
  • Potable drinking water is often used to soften foods, making them more palatable for the chronically ill
October 28, 2011

A cause d’un mauvais assainissement: Le Bénin perd 52 milliards de FCFA par an

By Alain TOSSOUNON

 

La facture est salée et les résultats de l’étude documentaire faite par le Programme eau et assainissement(WSC), un partenariat multi-bailleurs administré par la Banque Mondiale pour aider les pauvres à obtenir un accès sûr et durable aux services d’eau et d’assainissement, sont accablants. Il y a urgence.

 

Ce n’est pas une imagination. C’est bien une réalité. Le Bénin perd 52 milliards de francs CFA chaque année à cause d’un mauvais assainissement.  Ce qui équivaut  à 1,5% du PIB national. La raison, même si elle est surprenante est toute simple. A ce jour, 2,5 millions de Béninois utilisent des latrines insalubres ou partagées et  5,2 millions  de Béninois n’ont pas de latrines du tout et font leurs besoins en plein air. Des chiffres qui paraissent irréalistes à première vue mais qui sont bien vrais.

 

Parce que selon les statistiques nationales notamment, les chiffres de la revue 2010 des secteurs de l’eau et de l’assainissement, seulement 44,4% des ménages ont accès à un assainissement adéquat au plan national. Ainsi, plus de la moitié des Béninois pratiquent la défécation à l’air ou partagent des latrines avec les autres.

October 28, 2011

Forum mondial sur l’hygiène et l’assainissement de Mumbai

By Alain TOSSOUNON (Envoyé spécial)

 

 

C’est une première dans le monde. Un forum exclusivement consacré aux questions d’hygiène et d’assainissement. Mais, pour les organisateurs comme pour le participants à ce rendez-vous inhabituel, mieux vaut tard que jamais.

 

 Entre renouvèlement d’engagement, partage d’énergie et d’expériences innovantes, le forum de Mumbai sonne comme un appel pressant aux gouvernants de nos Etats pour mettre les questions d’hygiène et d’assainissement au cœur des politiques de développement.

 

Comment doter les 2,6 milliards de personnes qui vivent sans toilettes et sauver les 1,2 milliard d’êtres humains qui boivent chaque jour de l’eau insalubre ? Il était temps pour les militants de cette cause de sonner la cloche de la mobilisation pour mettre en commun leurs expériences et surtout se donner un nouveau souffle à leur  combat citoyen.

 

Ouvert par une cérémonie à la taille de l’événement dans cette ville de Mumbai confrontée au défi de l’assainissement dans les bidonvilles, le forum a démarré sur une note d’espoir et d’espérances d’un monde nouveau. Oui, le changement est possible !

October 28, 2011

L’assainissement doit occuper une place de choix dans les politiques de développement


By Propos recueillis par Alain TOSSOUNON

 

Membre du Conseil de concertation pour l’approvisionnement en eau potable, l’hygiène et l’assainissement (WSSCC), Cheik Tandja qui a été élu pour représenter la partie francophone au sein du comité directeur  de cette organisation  depuis 2009, a pris une part active aux travaux du forum. Au terme de ce rendez-vous de partage de savoirs et de savoir-faire, il revient sur les grandes résolutions du forum et se prononce sur les grands défis et les petits pas enregistrés dans certains de nos Etats en Afrique de l’ouest.

 

C’est la première fois qu’un forum est exclusivement consacré à l’hygiène et l’assainissement. Comment en est-on arrivé là?

Nous sommes arrivés là à la suite d’un travail intense qui a été fait parce que l’assainissement n’occupait pas tellement de place dans l’agenda du développement économique de nos pays. Je dirais qu’il ne l’est pas  encore.

June 6, 2011

Report links improved Water and Sanitation services to effective AIDS treatment

                                                                                       By Babatope Babalobi

A Ventilated Improved Latrine

Improved access to WASH Though AIDS is  the most devastating global epidemic. However, a report has revealed that  many secondary diseases from which AIDS patients suffer are preventable through better hygiene.

Authored by Christine van Wijk  for the Loughborough University, UK, the report argues that  those infected by AIDS can stay healthy longer and able to continue work if they  have access to a nearby and reliable supply of water and improved sanitary latrines.

HIV/AIDS, the most devastating global epidemic ever, with Sub-Saharan Africa having the highest number of HIV positive individuals (29.4 million people), followed by South and South-East Asia (6 million).  Yet, there is no cure for HIV/AIDS and governments cannot prevent transmission through vaccination. Prevention depends on people’s own sexual behaviour and that of others.

Arguing that there is a strong nexus between  HIV/AIDs  and access to improved water supply and sanitation services, the report states that

men, women and children with HIV/AIDS infection are highly susceptible to other diseases; Most of these are related to poor water supply, sanitation and hygiene. Diarrhoeas and various types of skin diseases are common secondary (or ‘opportunistic’) infections. The risk of getting malaria is also greater, and is worsened by poor drainage creating extra mosquito breeding places in and around communities.”

During their years of illness, AIDS patients are mainly cared for by relatives, friends and neighbours (home-based care). Easy access to a safe, reliable and sufficient water supply and basic sanitation in this stage is essential.

Hand washing with Soap before kills germs

For the caregivers, it greatly reduces the extra burdens which they already carry. For the patients, it means human dignity and basic access to personal hygiene. For example, over half of patients suffering from HIV/AIDS have chronic diarrhoea. Having a latrine nearby is then crucial. For mothers who are HIV positive, the risk of transmitting the virus through breast milk is 1:3. Irrespective of whether they can, or for various reasons cannot replace breastfeeding by bottle feeding, clean water is important for the babies’ care.

Within households, water is also needed for productive uses, to increase food security and maintain nutrition levels. This helps patients to stay healthy for a longer time and keeps the household’s income from falling so rapidly and deeply. Access to a plot and water for staple crops, vegetables and fruit for home consumption and marketing are especially crucial for poor families.

Service delivery

So far, HIV/AIDS has been treated as an epidemic rather than as (also) a chronic disease. The emphasis is on the medical aspects – treatment and prevention – and, to a very limited degree, on the socio-economic impacts. Neither the UN organizations nor country governments have looked at the implications for the water sector. Yet, the need for, and impact on, water supply and sanitation are great. Over one billion people lack a minimum supply of safe water and 2.4 billion people have no proper sanitation and many of them suffer from HIV/AIDS.

Service delivery is affected by situations within water and sanitation service organisations and by conditions on the ground. Within high prevalence countries, staff infection rates can be as high as 30%.

Eng. Samuel Wambua, the Executive Director of NETWAS International said at the 13th Regional Water and Sanitation Seminar in Nairobi in September 2001 that “…a scenario may arise when we will have few customers to provide water for, few effective service

Household filter..source of improved water supply

providers, few to provide labour, few experts to provide management and technical support in the sector.

 

The basic principles of developing sustainable community water supply and sanitation are eroded, when those with the disease and their caretakers are not able to participate in planning, decision making and implementation and cannot apply pressure to ensure that their special needs are met”

Strategies

Christine van Wijk  in the report said that  “More robust water supplies, water treatment and sanitation systems requiring less (and less complex) maintenance and repairs, and more attention to home systems, including home treatment of drinking water, would make communities and households less dependent on outside support. Basic sanitation and enough water nearby for personal hygiene is crucial as 50% of patients suffer from chronic diarrhoea.

Where households have no safe water, or the supply is intermittent and breakdowns are long, SODIS, or solar disinfection of less safe water, is suitable for household use.

A transparent container such as a plastic bottle is filled with water from a nearby source with a lower water quality and closed. The caretaker places the container in strong sunlight. This will kill most bacteria when the water is exposed for a period of 4-6 hours in full sunlight, or an entire day when the sky is overcast.

The water is disinfected by UV rays, and in addition reaches a temperature of up to 50-60 degrees so it needs to cool down before use (http://www.sodis.ch/) (WHO)

Recognizing hygiene in health education

Although some material exists health education is not yet addressing the chronic disease effects of HIV/AIDS infections. A case study in Limpopo province, South Africa, showed a lack of adjustment not only of water supply and sanitation services, but also of hygiene education.

The participating focus groups of caregivers and people living with HIV/AIDS identified good food and exercise as important ways of staying healthy longer. There were, however, no concerted efforts from the departments of water, health, agriculture and the communities to address production around homes and/or waterpoints for better nutrition. Poor sanitation was another problem that was insufficiently addressed.

The households in the case study saw drinking river water as a potential risk for catching cholera, but there was little awareness of the importance of personal and domestic hygiene behaviour for the patients’ health. The local health educators focused on the prevention of HIV/AIDS but did not address secondary diseases stemming from poor quality or inadequate water supply, hygiene and sanitation. (Kgalushi et al,).

Ways forward

Safe water, sanitation and hygiene are basic needs and human rights. They help those affected by HIV/AIDS to remain in good health for longer, facilitate care for ill patients and increase their dignity. Programmes and policy makers can give higher priority for water supply, sanitation and hygiene promotion to areas with a high incidence of the disease.

Hygiene education needs to be integrated in the training given to home care volunteers and their trainers in order to ensure safe water handling practices.

As most caregivers are women, their influence on planning and implementation of service provision is more necessary than ever. Because often very young and very old women take over much of the water and sanitation related tasks, both hygiene education and technology selection may have to be adapted to suit their requirements.

Community based approaches are known to enhance sustainability and use. They can at the same time function as an entrance to promote community–based prevention and mitigation activities. The principles are the same, the issue at hand more sensitive. It requires well-trained, motivated and non-stigmatising facilitators. Experience with participatory methods exists and can be built on.

Water agencies are affected by the disease. This necessitates the development of policies and strategies within the agencies and for the sector. Agencies need an internal HIV/AIDS policy and strategy to mitigate impact on the agency and the development of a strategy to integrate HIV/AIDS in service provision.

In the sector, facilities are needed that require less frequent maintenance and repairs by outsiders and limited time and money from households to keep them going. Development of low-cost home treatment is an alternative.

A poverty alleviation framework can ensure that the socio-economic and equity aspects that play a role in water, sanitation and HIV/AIDS are addressed. As treatment becomes cheaper and more available, HIV becomes a chronic disease requiring a multi-pronged strategy for keeping those infected in good health and able to work. This includes more attention to personal hygiene and the means for hygiene preservation: access to adequate and safe water, good sanitation and hygiene education.

The report therefore called on Policy makers, programme planners and managers, donors and field workers  to treat HIV as a chronic disease and plan for better water supply, sanitation and hygiene to counteract the cruel impacts on people’s day-to-day health, work, income and dignity.


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