Posts tagged ‘water supply’

April 3, 2013

WASH Journalists hold AGM in Senegal

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

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

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

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

April 1, 2013

Coordinating committee for rural WASH in Africa launched

The Coordinating Committee of the  Rural Water and Sanitation Initiative (RWSSI) in Africa was launched in Tunis, Tunisia last week.

RWSSI is a continental framework for resource mobilisation, investment, and development of rural water supply and sanitation in Africa; while the Coordinating Committee for the RWSSI is expected to facilitate improved coordination and sector learning among partners  and stakeholders towards the achievement of RWSSI’s goals and targets.

Below are photos from the launch:

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

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

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Dr Maimuna Nalubega, Principal Water and Sanitation Engineer, AfDB and Samuel Ome, Director, Water quality control and Sanitation/Chairman National Task Group on Sanitation, Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Nigeria

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Representative of the AfDB Vice President,, (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)

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Participants at the meeting

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Participants at the meeting

 

 

March 19, 2013

African Development Bank hosts meeting on rural WASH in Tunis

                                                                                                               Babatope Babalobi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

December 3, 2012

Water related diseases ravage Taraba town

Ayodele Samuel +2348074420617, gtms06@yahoo.com

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

Villagers scavenging water  from a 'stream'

Villagers scavenging water from a ‘stream’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hand dug holes for  sourcing un safe water

Hand dug holes for sourcing un safe water

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

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

 

 

November 9, 2012

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

              By Wale Ajibade

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cholera victim

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 7, 2012

Abuja residents in search of water, good sanitation

 

                                                                                                  Marcus Fatunmole , Abuja, Nigeria

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

Residents in search

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 6, 2012

WASH in School in Nigeria: findings of a Journalist

 By FRANCIS UMENDU ODUPUTE        

The school is overtaken by floods

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

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

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

Flooded school presmises

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

There is an apparent state of emergency here!

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

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

Open urination by a pupil

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

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

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

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

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

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

More floods

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

School latrine overtaken by weeds and flood water

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 6, 2012

Water scarcity may hit ekiti state, Nigeria

Adesina Wahab, Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria

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

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

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

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

Ekiti state Governor, Kayode fAYEMI

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The two towns are served by Ero Dam.

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

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

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

 

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

November 2, 2012

Unsafe water, root cause of most diseases- Medical Doctor

 

By Dayo Emmanuel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

November 2, 2012

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

 

                                                                              By ‘Fisayo Soyombo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

November 2, 2012

Jos: urine polluted water turns to ‘burkutu’ beer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 2, 2012

Gangare community, where the only option is open defecation

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

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

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

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

October 29, 2012

Flooding and its effects on WASH in Nigeria

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

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

Flood victims in a camp, Anambra state, Nigeria

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Flooding in Anambra state, Nigeria

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

Need for Inclusive WASH in Nigeria

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

October 29, 2012

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

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

By  Dayo Emmanuel

Ikola-ilumo community

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

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

A cholera victim in Nigeria

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Iju-Aga Community

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

October 29, 2012

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 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.

April 10, 2012

Report: FAME 2012 and the World Water Forum 2012

           By Babatope Babalobi who was in Marseilles

 

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

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

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

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

March 22, 2012

Photo competition for water and sanitation journalists

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

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

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

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

February 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

Rural Women and Children struggle for safe clean drinking water

                                      By Ishmael Kindama Dumbuya, Sierra Leone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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