Nigeria: Sensitizing local and regional governments about sanitation and hygiene

Date: 10th November 2010

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In sanitation and hygiene work, it is generally agreed that a bottom-up approach – whereby the wants and needs of the people are solicited and acknowledged – works best. However, sometimes, what is working at the “top” needs to be replicated at local and state/regional levels.

In Nigeria, for example, there is strong national-level coordination on the issues, which is accomplished by the National Task Group on Sanitation (NTGS), a multi-stakeholder assemblage that also functions as WSSCC’s National WASH Coalition in Nigeria, which has just 31% of its nearly 150 million citizens covered by access to safe sanitation. The NTGS has succeeded in coordinating, planning, developing sector policies, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of sanitation and hygiene interventions. This has however remained mainly at the national level without effective replication at state and local government agency (LGA) levels.

Nonetheless, ensuring that effective national-level coordination will “trickle down” to the local and regional levels is difficult. To address the need, a “Sensitization workshop on sanitation and hygiene coordination” was organized by the NTGS on 16-17 June in Makurdi, Nigeria. The desire to replicate the coordinating mechanism at the state and LGA levels and also to better involve WSSCC members in Nigeria in sanitation and hygiene programming and policy/campaign interventions that led the NTGS to plan this workshop with relevant stakeholders including state government officials, the media and WSSCC members to strategize on modalities for replicating the task group at state level. The event was supported by UNICEF and WSSCC.

“The Workshop was designed to make the state level actors aware of policies, strategies and interventions supported by NTGS at the national level which need to be replicated at state levels,” said Ifeoma Charles-Monwuba, who works for Action Aid Nigeria and is the WSSCC National Coordinator in the country. “It also aimed to agree on modalities for replicating the duties and activities of the NTGS in the states and local government associations through the formation of State Task Group on Sanitation STGS and Local Task Groups on Sanitation (LTGS).”

Over 90 participants working in the sector were drawn from the 36 states and the Federal Capital represented various Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) with responsibilities for sanitation at federal and state levels, UNICEF, WaterAid, WSSCC Nigerian members, and the media.

To receive a copy of the workshop report and its full recommendations, contact Ms. Charles via email at ifycharles@yahoo.com

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