Posts tagged ‘water’

June 6, 2013

Benin: Poor access to drinking water

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.

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

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.

May 7, 2012

Water situation to get worse as population increases

The 2012 United Nations report on freshwater resources, the World Water Development Report, says about four billion people lack access to safe water.

It said the figure could get worse as the global population is likely to reach 9.1 billion in 2050 and 68 per cent of these 9 billion people would live in cities.

The report said in many countries, water availability for agriculture is already limited and it is set to worsen as agriculture needs to increase production to cater for 9 billion people.

It said these issues amongst others would substantially increase water and energy consumption, leading to increased competition for water resources.

The report further noted that as well as economic growth, the diets of many people are shifting from predominantly starch-based ones to meat and dairy and these require more water to produce.

It said the Asia-Pacific region is home to 60 percent of the world’s population but it has only 36 percent of its water resources. It further stated that the European and North American populations consume a considerable amount of virtual water embedded in imported food and other products.

It stated that each person in North America and Europe consumes at least 3000 litres per day of virtual water in imported food, compared to 1400 litres per day in Asia and 1100 litres per day in Africa.

The report also said various estimates suggests that approximately 3.5 earth-sized planets would be needed to sustain a global population to achieve the current lifestyle of the average European or North American.

It said nearly all Arab countries suffer from water scarcity with water consumption rates exceeding total renewable water supplies.

The report stated that India is growing maize, sugar cane, lentils and rice in countries like Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Senegal and Mozambique to feed its domestic market, while Europeans are seeking 3.9 million hectares of African land to meet their 10 per cent biofuel target by 2015.

It said the amount of water required for biofuel plantations could be particularly devastating to regions such as West Africa, where water is already scarce, given that one litre of ethanol from sugarcane requires 18.4 litres of water and 1.52 square metres of land.

Source: Ghana, e-tv

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