Posts tagged ‘wateraid’

May 12, 2014

Une mission de haut niveau de WATER AID au Niger : Evaluer les efforts pour une meilleure intervention

 REJEA/Niger

Du 5 au 9 mai 2014, le Directeur des programmes internationaux M. GiRSIH Menon et la directrice régionale Afrique de l’ouest Mme Mariame DEM étaient au Niger pour une visite de travail. Pour les deux responsables, c’est une occasion de voir de près les réalisations du Bureau WaterAid Niger, rencontré les autorités, les communautés, les partenaires et la coalition wash.

La Direction régionale de WaterAid (A gauche) avec les collègues du Niger

La Direction régionale de WaterAid (A gauche) avec les collègues du Niger

En effet, en 2009, lorsque WaterAid s’installait en tant que projet pilote au Niger, l’enjeu de son installation se précisait déjà par la situation du pays. Le niveau de pauvreté était bas avec un indice de développement humain (186), le taux d’accès aux infrastructures d’assainissement et d’hygiène était également très bas et la situation environnementale exige un appui constant pour la sécurité alimentaire.

En 2010, le bureau s’est finalement installé et a fait un bon résultat en matière de réalisation. Cette visite de 5 jours des deux responsables de WaterAid a été une occasion pour les responsables du bureau du Niger de faire un point sur la situation du Niger, les forces, les faiblesses, les goulots d’étranglement et les solutions envisageables.

M. GiRSIH Menon et Mme Mariame DEM ont saisi l’occasion pour rencontrer le Ministre de l’hydraulique et de l’Assainissement et les autorités régionales des zones d’interventions de WaterAid dès les premières heures de leur arrivée au Niger. Au cours des différentes rencontres, ils ont été frappé par la disponibilité et l’engament des autorités et des communautés à faire mieux.
Ils ont salué l’équipe de Hamani Oumarou, directeur Water Aid Niger dont le dynamisme n’est plus à prouver. D’ailleurs, la réputation de Water Aid fait d’elle l’élite des ONG au Niger
Dans un entretien avec la presse, M. GiRSIH Menon et Mme Mariame DEM ont salué les efforts de tous les partenaires et réitérés le soutien de WaterAid dans les actions de l’eau et l’Assainissement pour la réduction de la pauvreté au Niger

April 15, 2013

Meeting Rural Water Supply and Sanitation MDG in Africa

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

Special Report

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Challenges of Rural Water supply and Sanitation in Africa

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

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

 

Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative (RWSSI) 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Launch of RWSSI Coordinating Committee in Tunis

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

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

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

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

The specific objectives of the meeting are:

  1. Appraise stakeholders on RWSSI progress, achievements, challenges and plans leading to 2015. This will also include a discussion on some of the key issues affecting sector progress (sector monitoring and performance reporting; sub-sector financing; sustainability; sector coordination) and how Africa should address them;
  2.  Share country and field experiences in co-ordination to inform the way forward for RWSSI;  
  3.  Obtain partner and stakeholder inputs towards identifying opportunities and addressing co-ordination challenges to achieve Africa’s rural water supply and sanitation targets
  4.  Define the process of establishing of a Coordinating Committee for RWSSI, review the draft terms of reference and membership of the RCC, and propose undertakings for the first year (including modalities for their achievement); and,
  5. Launch the Coordinating committee.

 

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

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

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

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

1.      Duplication of efforts and investments

2.      Un sustainability of WASH services

3.      Poor WASH sector accountability

4.      Lack of ownership of initiatives/investment

5.      Corruption in WASH Sector

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

3.      Supporting budget advocacy and tracking

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

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

 

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

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

Water Supply and Sanitation Engineer, African Development Bank

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

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

2.      Identification of projects to be financed

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

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

5.      Implementation of sector reform policies to improve efficiency

6.      Development of absorption /implementation capacity by beneficiaries

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

8.      Ownership/personal involvement of political leadership.

 

Other recommendations of the group include:

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

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

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

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

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

6.      Promotion of government contribution for stability.

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

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

9.      Identification of champions to promote innovative financing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3.      Inter-governmental coordination facilitating sharing;

4.      Regional sector monitoring and reporting;

5.      Promote Transparency and accountability; and,

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

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

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

November 15, 2012

Impacts of flooding on WASH in Nigeria

 
                                                                                                                  Clara Wilson, Yenagoa
 
Several states in Nigeria were flooded recently leading to the displacement of  communities and set up of refugee camps to accommodate the internally displaced citizens.
Now the floods are receding in several states, but the residents face a new challenge. Their Water supply, sanitation, and Hygiene facilities have been damaged by the floods.
Bayelsa is one of the flooded states in Nigeria;  Clara Wilson writes from Meyal village and Yenagoa the  Bayelsa state capital where the floods have ravaged the boreholes, wells, and toilets of  both communities.

Flooded schools in Bayelsa state

The recent floods that ravaged some States in Nigeria have since receded but the pains and sorrow they left in their trail may remain with the people for some time.

In Bayelsa State, Schools are still to resume as some of the schools are used as relief camps for displaced persons who must pick the pieces of their lives and belongings.  Mrs. Grace Ayam is a teacher in Community Secondary School, Meyal near Yenagoa, the State capital who confirmed that “the rumour we are hearing now is that schools may not resume until next year when the first term earlier scheduled for September will commence.
This is because school premises are used as relief camps and facilities of such schools may not be able to serve the purpose of learning and relief at the same time”, she said, adding that “though some private schools have since resumed but there are more children in government owned school”. Meyal is home to rural dwellers majority of who are peasant farmers and artisans, infrastructure is still inadequate and pipe borne water is also golden.
Although Ayam’s school could not serve as a relief camp, it is still shut all the same due to the fact that the bridge linking the school to the community collapsed during the flood.  “My school is not being used as a relief camp because it is cut off from the community as the bridge connecting it to the community was washed away by the rains that led to the flood”.  When asked whether the flood also affected drinking water in the village, she said “of course, water supply was altered and that is the most needed thing and it is already polluted”.
Meanwhile, for water to be safe for drinking in the village and surrounding towns in the State, drinking water must be treated.  Mr. Pog-Osia is a borehole engineer who has handled a lot of borehole projects in Bayelsa and neighbouring States. He is of the opinion that water in the entire State must be disinfected from oil and the rubbish washed into it during the flood.
“Getting clean water in Bayelsa State is a challenge even before the flood because it is not easy to have access to water here.  The foundation of the water is not like in other places, our water has too much iron deposit, this make us to treat borehole water to make it safe for drinking”, said Pog-Osia.

Flooded communities in Bayelsa state, Nigeria

However, the engineer agrees that human beings need iron in the body system but it must not be in excess. “This is why we need to filter the water after drawing it out from the bore hole so we don’t take in too much of iron which is abundant in our soil”, he added.

He also stated that “alternative means of getting water in the area are the rivers.  It is also cheaper and could be safer to take water from the river because with the borehole, you have to do a lot of processing to arrive at the best drinking water apart from the cost of sinking the best boreholes”.  He  noted high level corruption in the water sector.
“Sometimes government officials want to make money and they embark on water project.  They go for borehole which is more expensive despite the fact that the rivers are alternative sources of water which the people are used to processing and these rivers produce fresh water and they don’t get dry during dry season”, he said, advising  a means of taking the water in large volume for processing.
Meanwhile, a community leader and also a drilling engineer, Elder Kenneth Adukpo-Egi confirmed that the pipe borne water provided by the government in the area is not enough.
“In the entire State, I can say that government’s pipe-borne water is only about 20% and this has taught most of the communities to have their own boreholes. Though there are water pipes around but most of them have been dry for long”, he said, continuing that “the government has a good plan about water supply but it has not been well implemented.  For instance there are some satellite water projects planned to serve the interiors but they have not functioned in the past 10 years and the laid pipes are already abandoned, thus the plight of the people when it comes to government’s water is enormous.”
The little amount supplied by the government is clean but like I mentioned, it is not enough.  Elder Adukpo-Egi also confirmed the iron content of the water found in Bayelsa State. “The terrain contains a lot of iron which filters into the water making it contain high iron property but it is not so injurious to human health as we often observe the filtering process, when it is excess, the people know it and filter such away”, he explained.
Since the majority live below poverty line in the village and surviving on meager income, there is the need for the government to subsidize water supply in the entire State. While many people cannot afford drilling boreholes, they have since devised a way round the problem.
“It is necessary for the government to subsidize the cost of drilling bore hole in the area especially in poor communities where people struggle to make ends meet.  Though people are helping themselves these days, for clean water to come out of the borehole, it must be 900metres deep and this cost about a million Naira, how many people can afford that?” Pog-Osia queried, adding that “though people are thinking through the alternatives they have, they ask borehole engineers to drill only 100 metres deep and filter, whereby paying lesser”.
Meanwhile, the health implication of drinking unsafe water is better imagined than experienced. Mrs. R. Amangele is a government trained Nurse from Bayelsa State who is sending warning signals to people in the riverine communities and areas affected by the recent flood.
“I have treated a lot of people with water borne diseases and it is so pathetic”, she said.  According to her, water-borne diseases manifest in various ways. Cholera for instance could manifest in stooling and vomiting, the patient has to be hospitalized.  They are all products of intake of unsafe water and the treatment varies, depending on how long the infection has stayed in the body and what the patient is manifesting, some even urinate blood, it is still a product of intake of unclean water”, she said.  Amangele however warned that “people should stop wadding in the water whenever it rains or floods, they could contract water borne diseases through that and they should ensure intake of boiled water, they should disinfect their water before drinking”.

Residents now commute on canoes

A student in the area who simply identified herself as Mary however complained that just like what obtains in the community, clean water is not enough in her community school.
“We struggle to get clean water for our sanitation, the government should come to our aid because water is life”.  She was however excited that the flood did not wreck much havoc in her quarters. “The flood was a terrible experience but I thank God for life”, she said.
However, if Pog-Osia’s warning is anything to pay attention to, the State may be preventing an outbreak of epidemic in major parts. “Now that the flood is receding, the government should ensure the treatment of boreholes and wells because most wells and boreholes are already contaminated, some septic tanks have broken and contaminated the underground water, we need urgent attention, not just in distribution of relief materials, there must be corresponding infrastructure replacement and I think the first should not just be provision of water, but provision of uncontaminated water”, he said.
According to him, there is the need to get compressor and chlorine for the boreholes.  “The compressor is about N7,000 and the needed chlorine for each borehole is just about N500 and workmanship is about N12,000. Though most rural people here are poor and old people who cannot afford this especially when some of them are yet to recover from their losses incurred during the flood, the government should come to our aid, else it will spend more to tackle an impending epidemic”, he pleads.
November 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

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

 

                                                                              By ‘Fisayo Soyombo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

November 2, 2012

Jos: urine polluted water turns to ‘burkutu’ beer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 29, 2012

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

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

By  Dayo Emmanuel

Ikola-ilumo community

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

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

A cholera victim in Nigeria

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Iju-Aga Community

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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.

February 15, 2012

Afrique de l’Ouest de l’eau et l’assainissement des journalistes se réunissent à Monrovia

Delegates in a group picture

                                                                                                                   By Babatope Babalobi

L’assemblée générale annuelle (AGA) de l’eau et l’assainissement Afrique de l’Ouest journalistes Réseau(WASH-JN) www.wash-jn.net a débuté à Monrovia, au Libéria, hier.


La réunion rassemble 17 représentants des plates-formes nationales de journalistes qui l’eau etl’assainissement dans 14 pays d’Afrique occidentale et le Nigeria, le Sénégal, le Mali, le Bénin, le Togo, le Ghana, le Niger, la Côte d’Ivoire, le Libéria, la Guinée, le Cameroun, la Sierra Leone et la Guinée Bissau.
Haut de l’ordre du jour de l’Assemblée Générale qui dure une semaine est un examen des progrès réalisés jusqu’à présent par l’organisme régional depuis sa création en 2010, discussion sur le plan de travail 2012, et les mains sur la formation sur la façon dont la participation des journalistes peuvent utiliser la nouvellemédias à rendre compte du secteur de mieux.
Se félicitant des délégués à la réunion, chef d’équipe de WaterAid au Libéria, M. Apollos Nwafor a souligné la nécessité “pour les médias pour influencer positivement les gouvernements nationaux pour relever les défisdans le secteur grâce à l’action politique, le soutien financier et une meilleure gestion du programme.”
Prenant également la parole aux délégués, Mohammed Abdul-Nashiru, Directeur Régional de l’Advocacy,WaterAid Afrique de l’Ouest a dit: “la valeur du réseau va être déterminée par la qualité des histoires que ses membres sur les questions WASH publié, en particulier les histoires que se concentrer sur les défisauxquels sont confrontés les pauvres à accéder aux services d’eau et d’assainissement “.
«Nous devons amener les médias à prôner que le gouvernement devrait consacrer davantage de ressourcesdans le secteur et aussi la priorité au secteur”, a déclaré Abdul-Nashiru.

January 12, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 12, 2012

WASH-JN’s story competition


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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

October 28, 2011

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

By Alain TOSSOUNON (Envoyé spécial)

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

October 21, 2011

Nigeria marks Global Handwashing Day

WaterAid in Nigeria have commemorated this year’s Global Handwashing Day in five primary and secondary schools in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory.

WaterAid in Nigeria Finance Manager, Joy Ofulue-Okofu, teaches pupils of Community Junior Secondary School Asokoro how to properly wash their hands with soap while the Executive Secretary of the school board observes

Staff from WaterAid in Nigeria made handwashing presentations and demonstrations to the children in the schools; educating them on the importance of handwashing with soap and showing them the proper way to wash their hands. The hope is that these children, acting as agents of change, will take the good practices of hygiene learned back to their homes, peers and communities.

The active participation and involvement of children, along with culturally sensitive community-based interventions aim at ensuring sustained behavioural change.

Handwashing with soap – particularly at critical moments, including after using the toilet and before handling food – is a key cost effective and life-saving intervention preventing the spread of germs that cause diseases like diarrhoea and pneumonia. Research in several developing countries illustrates that lack of soap is usually not the barrier – with the vast majority of even poor households having soap at home – rather, the problem is that soap is rarely used for handwashing.

The practice of handwashing with soap tops the international hygiene agenda on October 15, with the celebration of Global Handwashing Day (GHD). Since its inception in 2008 – which was designated as the International Year of Sanitation by the UN General Assembly – Global Handwashing Day has been echoing and reinforcing the call for improved hygiene practices worldwide.

Global Handwashing Day aims at increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap as an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases.

October 10, 2011

CSOs develop key messages for Global forum on Sanitation

                                                                                                 Baatope Babalobi

Members of the African Civil Society Network on Water and Sanitation (ANEW)and the Freshwater Action Network South Asia (FANSA) have jointly developed messages to be presented to participants at the ongoing Global Forum on Sanitation, Mumbai, India.

Arpita De, FANSA Coordinator...yesterday

Ahead of the side event of the two organizations holding this Wednesday at the Global meeting, about twenty members of the two bodies met this Monday to brainstorm on the relevance of the Civil Society in developing the sanitation sector and how civil society organizations can add value to the forum’s  debates on strategies of resolving sanitation challenges.

Key messages the ANEW and FANSA  resolved to present to the conference delegates include the following:

1.         Civil society organizations play a role in influencing policy processes at the national levels and therefore should be given greater space for participation in global sectoral meetings.

2.         Civil Society bodies are good in monitoring projects to ensure successful implementation and ensuring service providers are accountable.

3.         Sectoral projects implemented by civil society groups are more cost efficient as they usually do not spend more that 10% of the total project cost on overheads.

4.         Civil society groups assist government in reaching the grassroots, and they are not necessarily antagonists of government programmes; but can complement government efforts, target service delivery and supplement what other service providers are doing.

October 10, 2011

Civil society groups form new WASH charity

By Babatope Babalobi

The Freshwater Action Network (FAN) http://www.freshwateraction.net/ will become an Independent charity to be known as FAN Global in July 2012.

Ceridwen Johnson

Disclosing this today, at a Civil Society Interactive session during the ongoing Global forum on Sanitation holding in Mumbai, India, Ceridwen Johnson – FAN’s Communication Manager, said the new charity will be constituted by five regional networks- the African Civil Society Network on Water and Sanitation (ANEW)and the Freshwater Action Network South Asia (FANSA),, FAN Mexico and FAN Central America.

However, each of the five bodies-will retain some autonomy on financial and administrative matters while working together at global level on development and implementation of programmes.

“A smaller global Secretariat will work in collaboration with the regions to coordinate global policy and advocacy and programming, fundraising, strategy and governance”, said Ceridwen.

October 10, 2011

Experts converge in Mumbai to discuss global sanitation challenges

                                                                                               By Edmund Smith-Asante           

Global and National bodies working in the Sanitation sector as well as leading sector practitioners have converged in Mumbai India to discuss sanitation challenges facing about 2.6 billion people worldwide.

In India, for every 1,000 children, 87 die before they reach age five (5), while national water coverage is 87% but sanitation trails at 30% nationally in the country, according to reports from UNICEF.

For Nigeria in Africa, the United Nations agency says out of a 1,000 children, 198 die before they celebrate their 5th birthday, the national coverage for water is 60%, while for sanitation it is 38%.

In Ethiopia, children who die before they are five are 169 for every 1,000, while the coverage figures for water and sanitation are 22% and 6% respectively, according to the same UNICEF source.

October 10, 2011

WSSCC official charges Journalists to ‘keep asking questions’

Amanda Marlin, Programme Manager, Advocacy and Communications, WSSCC

                                                              By Babatope Babalobi

“Keep asking questions. Sanitation and hygiene are not glamorous issues that you can easily get into the front pages of the media.

You have an incredible role to play in terms of transparency, in terms of ensuring there is public accountability. You need to ask great questions that will put service providers and regulators on their foot.

Use your expertise, professional skills, and enthusiasm to keep asking questions on how Sanitation and Hygiene services can be effectively delivered to the people. ”

-Amanda Marlin, Programme Manager, Advocacy and Communications, WSSCC at a Training workshop for West Africa WASH Journalists during the Global Forum on Sanitation, Mumbai, India, October 9, 2011

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