WaterAid celebrates two decades of improving access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene in Nigeria

In April 2016, WaterAid Nigeria commemorated 20 years of transforming lives in by providing access to safe water, basic sanitation and hygiene (WASH).

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19 May 2016 | Abuja, Nigeria

One of the highlights of our commemoration was a policy dialogue with the theme 'Achieving #Goal6 – Integrating WASH into wider development'.

WaterAid Nigeria Country Representative, Dr. Michael Ojo with the Honourable Minister for Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu at the policy dialouge held to commemorate WaterAid Nigeria's 20th anniversay.
WaterAid Nigeria Country Representative, Dr. Michael Ojo with the Honourable Minister for Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu at the policy dialouge held to commemorate WaterAid Nigeria's 20th anniversary.

The policy dialogue sought to increase stakeholders understanding of the prospects and challenges of achieving the SDG 6 target on WASH; evolve pathways for improving strategic partnerships that will enhance Government leadership and other stakeholders’ roles in meeting the Goal 6 target and agree on strategic approaches for integrating WASH into health, education and other areas of development.

Panellists and key sector and cross sector players at the dialogue included Nigeria's Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu, the Office of the Special Adviser to the President on SDGs, the Office of the Chair of the House of Representatives' Committee on SDGs, African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) and WASH development expert and former WaterAid Nigeria Deputy Country Representative, Sam Okedi.

Admiring the visual art representation of the #WANGat20 policy dialogue.
Admiring the visual art representation of the #WANGat20 policy dialogue.

The Minister emphasised the need for a national programme on WASH that everyone can key in to in place of the fragmented programmes by various development partners. He said a national water and sanitation programme has been developed and will be shared soon. He also said the Ministry has reviewed the WASH bill (safeguarding the rights of citizens to WASH) and presented it to the National Assembly to be passed into law. The Minister also highlighted the entrepreneurial opportunities that exist in the WASH sector and called on private and commercial brands to build and brand community toilets and water schemes across the country. He encouraged stakeholders present to act and provide solutions to the WASH crisis in the country; advising that the SDGs, and especially #Goal, be embedded in all future projects. With WaterAid Nigeria’s Country Representative, Dr. Michael Ojo, as moderator, the policy dialogue was a very engaging and interactive session.

Action points from the dialogue include:

  • The need for WaterAid Nigeria to take on a lead role in implementing towards the achievement of Goal 6 
  • The need to review existing policies and find a way to form synergy and avoid parallel but fragmented operations 
  • The need to embed hygiene education in school curricula to enable children imbibe the habit of improved sanitation and hygiene practices at a young age 
  • The need to prioritise WASH in the budget line 
  • The need for youths to be innovative in developing technologies that can be used to manage challenges locally 
  • The need for better coordination in the WASH sector.

The dialogue gave us an opportunity to engage with relevant partners and collaborators and will help us align and embed resulting action points in our advocacy and influencing agenda and take forward discussions with these high level stakeholders.

WaterAid Nigeria Country Representative, Dr. Michael Ojo, said it’s important that we leverage on the opportunity of a Minister of Water Resources that is committed to moving the WASH sector forward and join with other relevant stakeholders to intensify our push forward for the realisation of a world where everyone everywhere can have access to safe WASH by 2030.

You can catch up with some of the discussion on Twitter via #WANGat20 and #WANG@20

Awards and dinner night...

As part of commemorations of WaterAid Nigeria’s 20 year anniversary, partners and representatives from communities in which we’ve intervened were hosted to an awards dinner to commemorate two decades of WaterAid’s work in Nigeria. The event was organised to celebrate partners and communities for performance ensuring sustainability, innovations in WASH interventions and for their contributions over the years. Communities represented included those where WaterAid had intervened since 1995 and which still had functional facilities and WASH committees.

First STEP Initiative for Children wins the award for best performing CSO partner for her work in Benue State.
First STEP Initiative for Children wins the award for best performing CSO partner for her work in Benue State.

It was exciting to see the surprise and appreciation as awardees were recognised for efficiency, demonstrating WaterAid values and other related categories. Partners pledged to do more to contribute to universal access to WASH.

Posthumous awards of recognition were also awarded to Juanita During and Kerchia Ayegher – WaterAiders who were dearly loved and who contributed tremendously to supporting our work transforming lives in Nigeria.