WaterAid launches 5-year strategy, targets 27million more Nigerians with safe and sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene

6 June 2023
WaterAid Nigeria expressing their gratitude at the launch of the strategy
Image: WaterAid/Sozo Films
The new strategy will focus on influencing change by achieving universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in target zones, and building climate-resilient services in Nigeria as the impacts of climate change continue to hit harder in vulnerable communities.


International not-for-profit, WaterAid, has unveiled a new five-year strategy targeted at accelerating progress towards the attainment of Sustainable Development Goal 6 in Nigeria. In the new strategy, WaterAid targets reaching at least 10million more Nigerians with clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene by 2028. Working collaboratively with the government of Nigeria and other key partners in development, media, academia, private sector, and civil society space, WaterAid further seeks to influence improved basic WASH access for 17,000,000 more people.

The SDG6 promises the attainment of universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) for everyone by the year 2030, however, in Nigeria, with barely seven years left to reach this milestone, 33% of the population still lack access to basic water, 54% lack basic sanitation and 82% lack basic hygiene services. Recently Nigeria also overtook India to become the country with the highest open defecation rate in the world, with 48million Nigerians still defecating in the open.

Over the past 27 years, WaterAid has provided support to the Federal Government of Nigeria, playing key roles in service delivery, capacity building, improving sector coordination, governance and monitoring, supporting the Government’s Clean Nigeria Campaign targeted at ending open defecation as well as supporting policy formulation at the national and at some states to address gaps in the sector. In the last strategy phase which ended in 2021, some progress has been made, facilitated by political will at the Federal level, however, progress has remained slow with Nigeria falling behind in ensuring its citizens, especially those in poor communities can live comfortably with access to these essential services. WaterAid believes this crisis has disproportionately affected women and girls in poor communities who bear the greater burden of searching for water, thereby missing out on education and productive ventures.

Speaking during the launch of the new strategy, the Minister for Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu, in his keynote address, said

WaterAid Nigeria has been a very visible stakeholder in the Nigerian water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector with which my Ministry interfaces on a regular basis. They have also consistently supported and played key roles in many of Government initiatives.

With its new strategy, WaterAid will focus on systems strengthening approaches to advance WASH solutions that are sustainable, climate-resilient, gender-responsive and address key cross-cutting elements of other development goals including health, education, poverty, economic growth, and nutrition.

The Country Director, Evelyn Mere, speaking on the focus of the new strategy said,

"WaterAid has two aims in the next five years. One, to demonstrate and influence wider change by achieving universal, sustainable, and safe access in focused geographic areas; and second, to strengthen the resilience of WASH to climate change because the impact of climate change manifests mainly through water - either too much of it through issues such as flooding or too little through droughts caused by drying up of water resources.

WaterAid Nigeria is about to embark of a journey that will among many other things, ensure that every woman or girl can improve their productivity, realize their rights to a good education and live free of the risk of gender-based violence and that high rates of maternal and infant mortality due to poor WASH become a distant memory”.

She called on the government and other stakeholders to prioritise WASH in their programming and budgets. “WASH is the only foundation on which we can build a healthy, productive and prosperous society. We must ensure that WASH is prioritised and funding provided at the scale needed to deliver universal access for everyone, everywhere”.

Notes to Editors:


For more information, please contact:  

Bukola Bayo-Philip, WaterAid Nigeria Communications Officer, 

[email protected], +234 7064592097

Notes to Editors:

WaterAid is working to make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene normal for everyone, everywhere within a generation. The international not-for-profit organisation works in 28 countries to change the lives of the poorest and most marginalised people. Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 27 million people with clean water and 27 million people with decent toilets. For more information, visit www.wateraid.org, www.wateraid.org/nigeria; follow @WaterAidNigeria, @WaterAid or @WaterAidPress on Twitter, or visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wateraid

* In Nigeria:

  • Only 10% of the population has access to basic water, sanitation, and hygiene services.
  • 68 million people (33% of the population) lack access to basic drinking water services.
  • 113 million people (55% of the population) lack decent toilets.
  • 48 million people (23% of the population) practice open defecation.
  • 171 million people (83% of the population) lack basic handwashing facilities.
  • Only 11% of schools have access to basic water, sanitation, and hygiene services.
  • Only 6% of healthcare facilities have access to basic water, sanitation, and hygiene services.
  • Only 4% of parks and markets have access to basic water, sanitation, and hygiene services.

* 2021 WASH National Outcome Routine Mapping (WASH NORM)