The Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion in Nigeria (RUSHPIN) programme aims to support over two million people to improve their sanitation and hygiene practices. Six Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Cross River and Benue states are covered by the programme. RUSHPIN is intended to be a catalyst for achieving complete sanitation coverage in these states. The NGO United Purpose is the Executing Agency (EA) and Sub-grantees are state organizations, LGA WASH Units and NGOs. The Programme Coordinating Mechanism is chaired by the Federal Ministry of Water Resources.
By the end of 2015, RUSHPIN showed strong growth: over 235,000 people were reported to be living in ODF environments, more than twice the population recorded in 2014. 2015 also marked a massive, month-long campaign for Global Handwashing Day that reached over 45,000 children in rural community schools, empowering them to become champions for good handwashing practices. Managed by United Purpose, the campaign reached close to three million people through local television and radio, and 500,000 worldwide through social media.
In addition, the UK Department for International Development (DFID) awarded United Purpose a three-year contract to manage a CLTS programme replicating the RUSHPIN model. The EA has also leveraged CLTS performance to secure private sector funding from PZ Cussons and the Diageo Foundation, as well as the Governments of Australia and Poland. This has resulted in projects delivering safe water to 34 RUSHPIN-supported ODF communities. These projects are a strategic way to demonstrate to water and sanitation agencies in rural areas that investing in ODF communities like these is more likely to ensure well-managed water points and safe water delivery.
In 2015, RUSHPIN continued to actively follow up on commitments made in a 2014 memorandum of understanding signed between the Government of Nigeria, the Cross River and Benue State Governments and WSSCC to match GSF’s funds and double the number of LGAs in the programme.
Turnover of government staff was a challenge in 2015, as key personnel in partner LGA WASH Units were transferred to LGAs not supported by RUSHPIN. To address these gaps, outstanding Natural Leaders were trained and incorporated into these teams. Further challenges were caused by armed conflicts due to land disputes between communities in some programme LGAs. Programme activities in the affected areas were therefore put on hold, as Sub-grantees were unable to safely access these communities. In addition, government funding for expanding the RUSHPIN programme has not yet been released. Planned implementation in some LGAs has therefore been delayed.
Learning and innovation
While it is difficult to facilitate CLTS processes in conflict-affected communities, this can be addressed through visits during ceasefires. Natural Leaders play a critical role, leading follow-up visits, reporting on progress, and advising on when it is safe to carry out return visits. This was seen in the conflict-affected Adadama Ward in Abi LGA, which is now ODF. In 2015, the Sub-grantee working in Obanliku LGA piloted an urban CLTS approach in Sankwala town. Triggered groups, which included landlords and tenants constructed latrines, and women at the local market championed procedures for maintaining an improved sanitation environment. This initiative highlighted the importance of brining landlords and tenants together to mobilize collective pressure and agreement to improve sanitation within their compounds.
RUSHPIN will continue to focus on securing the release of government counterpart funds for the expansion of the programme into six additional LGAs, while working closely with its complementary DFID-funded programme. The team will also continue to scale up CLTS in rural areas, sustain results and build on the urban CLTS pilot initiative.
When WASH practitioners understand the patterns and causes of slippage, they can devise innovative strategies to avoid it.
Global Sanitation Fund programmes are designed to incorporate gender considerations and equity dimensions.
Monitoring slippage should go beyond the numbers to truly understand behaviour change and community dynamics.