By Elizabeth Wamera, Programme Officer – Country Engagement, Coordination and Membership, WSSCC
Nigeria loses 1.3% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) due to poor sanitation despite the fact that since 1999 up to 2013 the country has worked to ensure that 122 million Nigerians have access to improved sanitation. This was reported by the Ministry of Water and Resources in the Federal government of Nigeria.
50 Million Nigerians still defecate in the open and this is a great concern to the Federal Ministry of Water and Resources, as well as the Federal Ministry of Environment.
This led to these two key ministries to participate in the WSSCC National Consultations in Nigeria led by the Federal minister and the State minister of these ministries. The move to have both ministries present in the WSSCC meeting was an indication of how serious the government was taking the issues of sanitation in Nigeria and the steps it is taking to increase access to the underserved population.
The keynote address was given by Ms Amina Mohammed the Chair of WSSCC Steering Committee and Honourable Minister from the Ministry of Environment of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. She highlighted key issues and questions on the Nigerian Sanitation Agenda and how it would need to be focused with a need for cohesion and synergy between all sector players.
“I have very high hopes that; together, working as a cohesive team we will reach our goal in eradicating open defecation in the length and breadth of Nigeria and promote sustainable sanitation practices. We can take the work of promoting good sanitation practices to greater heights,” she said.
Ms. Amina also added that the Federal Ministry of Environment looks forward to strengthening partnerships with all sector players, from the Ministries of Water Resources, Health, Women Affairs, Education and all other Government MDAs with mandates or interests in the promotion of improved sanitation and good hygiene practices in Nigeria.
“Civil Society networks are an indispensable source of contribution in achieving the vision of a Nigeria where everybody has sustained water supply, improved sanitation and good hygiene practices,” she said.
“Development Partners and donor agencies should now, more than ever, look towards the Paris Declaration principle of aligning their programmes with National Agendas.”
The National Consultation was graced by the WASH Ambassador, Eng. Ebele Okeke and facilitated by the National Coordinator, Ms. Priscilla Achakpa. There were 90 participants, including representatives from various government ministries at federal and state level, the GSF Executing Agency Concern Universal and its Country Director Mr. Tim Connell, eight commissioners from the two states where GSF works (Cross River & Benue state), NEWSAN members, private sector and the media.
The consultations were extensive with discussions on what the current implementation environment for WASH practitioners was and how the government would create an enabling environment. Mr. Phil Davies (the WSSCC Strategy Consultant) led discussions on the 12 propositions which were very well outlined and discussed and the participants felt that WSSCC should anchor their work first and foremost importantly on the Rights Based Approach to meaningfully contribute to the SDG Agenda and also to build the capacity of the Geneva secretariat to consider climate change issues beyond mitigation strategies but deal with issues of disaster rapid response and resilience strategies in WASH to ensure sustainability of gains made by WSSCC work.
There was a unanimous agreement that WSSCC should consider working beyond the two states where GSF is currently active through Concern Universal before considering to expand to other countries. It was also noted that the country is currently facing conflict in some pockets of the ODF villages, setting the achievements back. There was a request for consideration for the GSF to provide more support to deal with the displaced communities within Benue state through the sub grantees working in these conflict prone areas that seem to be suffering violence more frequently lately.
There was a call for the establishment of a country office in Nigeria in line with the fact that there is the National Coordinator, the WASH Ambassador and the current steering committee chair. This was also further justified by indicating that there were many WSSCC members in Nigeria and coordinating them would require more support than what is currently being offered.
The meeting experienced a heightened interest of participants present to become WSSCC members after the WSSCC background was shared and discussions ensued on the benefits of being a WSSCC member were shared by Elizabeth Wamera. There was immediate online registration that took place of participants from the WASH sector who were not yet members of WSSCC.
Please find some information in the media about the NCW in Nigeria:
Countries are not increasing spending fast enough to meet the water and sanitation targets under the SDGs says the 2017 GLAAS report
For SWA’s HLMs 2017 Chris Williams argues that governments should be investing in disease prevention
The dangers of open defecation are explained in the campaign, with messages delivered by local celebrities