"I want to personally welcome you to our spanking brand new WaterAid Nigeria website! This is the culmination of work over many months to improve the look and feel of our global and country websites. At WaterAid, we know we have a compelling message but we do need you to find us, stop for a while, read and take action! "Nigeria is a big country, a country of about 160 million people. But this richness in human resource is also part of the problem the nation faces today as we grapple with the chronic issue of lack of access to safe water and to adequate, improved sanitation. It is said that every fifth black person is Nigerian but it is also true that every fifth person without access to safe water and sanitation in Africa is a Nigerian! "The reasons for our lack of progress have been variously discussed and reported. Where other countries with similarly large populations and rates of urbanisation have concentrated their efforts on scaling up access to water in urban areas, Nigeria’s indices for access to clean, safe water have crept up very slowly over the past ten years and now stand at 58 per cent of the population, meaning about 64 million Nigerians still do not have access to safe, clean water. "The story on sanitation is even more depressing as the numbers of Nigerians with access to safe and improved sanitation facilities have actually declined over the years and now stand at 32 per cent of the population. The implication is that 103 million Nigerians do not have access to adequate, improved sanitation facilities and about 30 million of these regularly defecate in the open. "So what is the problem? Is it the people? Is it lack of money? Don’t we see the impacts around us and are we not moved to take action? Why are things so bad? The answers to these questions are complex but can be reduced to a simple proposition – political will! Not as in whether the political class is willing but as in the will of the polity driving decisions of government. When our people know and demand their rights effectively, this will drive political will and we will begin to see change! "The arguments are really simple though stark. We have a health crisis - 85,000 Nigerian children die annually and mostly needlessly from diarrhoea related diseases, a condition which is now responsible for more deaths of children under five in Nigeria than AIDS, malaria, and measles combined. It is contributing to an economic crises – Nigeria is losing the equivalent of 1.3% of GDP due to productivity losses from lack of access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene due costs such as time lost searching for water, time lost from work due to illness, the costs of the health interventions, etc. It is undermining maternal and child health and gender equality as the most severe impacts are on children and women. It is contributing to an educational crisis as there are particular impacts on adolescent girls who miss school because they are unable to secure basic menstrual hygiene that is taken for granted by girls and young women in schools and public places in other countries. "So WaterAid’s work in Nigeria has been and still is to work with the governments and people of the country to change this landscape and secure these basic rights especially for the poorest and most marginalised people and communities. "Our new website is a communications channel through which we will share news, views, interviews from the field, stories about our work, information on events and we hope that it will also be a space through which we can engage you in the fight to end the WASH crisis in Nigeria. We remain committed to promoting the provision of water, sanitation and hygiene to the people of Nigeria and we hope you will join us in every way you can to build a strong foundation and bring about lasting change in our country".