Experts proffer solutions to World’s sanitation crises

By Wale Ajibade with addtional reports from Babatope Babalobi

Speakers at the Opening plenary- (L-R) Malini Shankar Principal Secretary, Water Supply and Sanitation Department, Government of Maharashtra, India; Dr Bindeshwar Pathak, Founder, Sulabh International services organisation; and Jon Lane, Executive Director, WSSCC

The Global Forum on Sanitation kicked off in Mumbai, India, yesterday with several participants proffering solutions to global sanitation challenges, while urging more action by stakeholders.

WSSCC’s Chair, Anna Tibaijuka in an opening message urged stakeholders to jaw jaw and find solution to one of the greatest development challenges facing the world, sating water is life but contended that sanitation is human dignity.

Jon Lane, the Executive Director of the WSSCC described Sanitation and Hygiene as Human Rights and people should work for its realisation in various communities.

Ifeoma Charles-Monwuba, Deputy Country Director of Action-Aid Nigeria spoke on ‘Bridges for Girls education’ suggested multiple methods for bringing behavioural change and social transformation such as is needed in the sanitation sector for the successful implementation of safe hygiene practices.

Illustrating from a project implemented in Katsina change in Northern Nigeria, aimed at increasing access of the girl child to school and safe sanitation service, Ifeoma Charles-Monwuba advised drivers of behavioural change to work with religious and traditional rulers, set up unisex clubs to allow boys or girls discuss their common problems, use community media to disseminate messages and encourage the beneficiaries to develop a charter of demands.

You need to dismantle religious and cultural barriers that hinder girls access to western education use religious and traditional leaders as advocates of change while encouraging Government to put basic infrastructure in place, said Ifeoma Charles-Monwuba

Ada Oko-Williams, Coordinator West African Regional Learning Centre of Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) briefed participants on the huge successes recorded by WaterAid Nigeria in implementing the CLTS in various communities in Benue state, Nigeria and other areas in West Africa, and pointed out that WaterAid Nigeria is developing a Training system for CLTS in Nigeria.

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