By Temple Oraek i
According to the recent Joint Monitoring Report by the WHO and UNICEF, about 116 million out of approximately 200 million Nigerian citizens do not have access to decent toilet. This has led to 38.8 million of its populace indulging in open defecation. On the other hand, about 55 million Nigerians do not have access to basic water, while 110 people lack hand washing facilities with soap and water.
The crisis in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector extends to both health and educational institutions, with 50 per cent of all schools in Nigeria lacking basic water supply and sanitation facilities while 50 per cent of health care facilities lack clean water and 88 per cent of them lack basic sanitation.
The WASH crisis led WaterAid Nigeria to launch the “VOTE4WASH” campaign, during the 2019 general elections, which rounded up successfully, with 120 signed pledge cards from political aspirants including, governor of Bauchi State, Bala Mohammed, former speaker house of representatives, Yakubu Dogara and former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.
Most of these leaders have now been elected into office and its time to fulfil their pledge. how can the stakeholders and citizens ensure that? The answer to this pertinent question birthed the #KeepYourPromises campaign, which aims to empower citizens to use various accountability platforms to hold the leaders to account and ensure they prioritize #WASH projects in their agenda.
The launch of the #KeepYourPromise Campaign took place on the 17th of July, 2019 in Abuja, and had in attendance, representatives of development and media partners such as Hope Spring Water Charity Foundation, Connected Development, Hipcity Hub, Media for Community Change and several media bodies. Hope Spring Water was represented by Ms. Emmanuella Asuquo, Ms. Ojonugwa Yahaya and Mr. Akeem Adeyinka.
The panelists, which included representatives of WaterAid Nigeria, Hope Spring Water, Connected Development and Hipcity Hub, took time to sensitize the audience and media, on the essence of the campaign.
According to Mrs Evelyn Mere, the Acting Country Director of WaterAid Nigeria, “experience has shown us that many campaign promises in the past have been largely unfulfilled, unmet and without clear and convincing plans for actualising them.” This is the time to change the status quo.
Hope Spring Water representative, Ms. Emmanuella Asuquo, who was one of the panelists, emphasized on the need for all relevant stakeholders to come together in ensuring accountability in Nigeria’s WASH Sector. She also stressed the need to promote sanitation and hygiene education in schools, so that the young ones will also be carried along in tackling WASH challenges.
We all have a role to play. Are you ready?