Access to water, sanitation and hygiene are human rights and crucial for good outcomes in health, nutrition, education, gender, equality, livelihoods and for the socio-economic development of a country. However, in Nigeria, about 55 million people still do not have access to clean water supply services, 110 million people lack decent toilets, 47 million practice open defecation and 150 million lack handwashing facilities with soap (WASHNORM, 2018).
Our vision at WaterAid is for a world where everyone, everywhere has access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene by 2030. To do so, we will need to influence governments and key decision makers and inspire hygiene behaviour change – and to do that, we will need you to help us.
If you are interested in becoming a WASH advocate, here are a few ideas to get you started:
Hold government accountable: It’s people like you who raise awareness of the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) crisis and what needs to be done to end it. Our policy team carries out and collates detailed research to reveal where, how and why people don’t have access to clean water and decent toilets and the impact this has on their health, education and livelihoods. You can support by ensuring the reports explaining how to tackle these problems come to the attention of the right people.
You can also keep decision-makers accountable to the commitments they make to prioritise WASH using accountability platforms and the media. Global campaign days such as World Water Day, World Toilet Day, Menstrual Hygiene Day and Global Handwashing Day provides a platform to call for urgent action towards increased access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene in Nigeria.
Get involved in hygiene promotion: Over 100, 000 children under the age of five die every year due to water and sanitation related diseases like diarrhoea. Good hygiene can prevent diarrhoea and slows down the spread of fatal contagious diseases like Coronavirus and Ebola. This is why we need you to talk loudly about the importance of sustained hygiene practices – like handwashing with soap at critical times, use of clean water, use of clean toilets, good food hygiene and proper waste management – to your family, friends and colleagues.
Implement a WASH project in your community: Achieving clean water and sanitation for everyone by 2030 is not a duty any government or donor can achieve alone. We win better by collaboration. You can collaborate with others to:
- build sanitation facilities in your community
- keep your community clean
- educate children on the importance of good personal hygiene
- teach people how to wash their hands properly
- get your community to sign petitions to the government to prioritise WASH
- start a campaign to increase WASH access
If you ever get to doing any WASH project in your community, let us know!
Leverage social media to inspire action: Around the world, social media is making it easier for people to have a voice in government — to discuss issues, organise around causes, hold leaders accountable and influence government to take urgent action. You can leverage the power of social media to draw the attention of the government to a WASH issue in your community, hold government accountable and inspire hygiene behaviour change through coherent, creative, consistent, compelling and coordinated communications. Our social media pages are replete with resources to help you achieve your goal. When you share and retweet our messages, tagging the right people, you help to inspire change happen.
Volunteer during global campaigns days: At WaterAid, we leverage some important global campaign days to raise awareness and inspire urgent action. These days include:
- World Water Day – March 22
- Menstrual Hygiene Day – May 28
- Global Handwashing Day – October 15
- World Toilet Day – November 19
To commemorate these days, we usually collaborate with the government, our partners and other stakeholders to organise rallies, hold awareness events, design and share creative information, education and communication materials, and implement social media campaigns. If you are good at planning events, designing graphics, public speaking and campaigning, you can volunteer your time on these days. Simply send an email to [email protected] to get started, and we will get in touch with you.
At current rates of progress, Nigeria is off-track and still a long way from achieving the promise of SDG 6 and ensuring clean water and sanitation for all, but, together we can accelerate progress and ensure everyone, everywhere has access to clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene.
Help us make noise
Join us on important global campaign days to call for urgent action towards increased access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene in Nigeria.
Clean up Nigeria
Nigeria ranks first among countries practicing open defecation globally. Help us support the Government to address the crisis.