By Frank Ikpefan, Abuja
An international non-governmental organisation, WaterAid Nigeria, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) with the National Water Resources Institute (NWRI) Kaduna, to build stakeholders’ capacity to scale up sanitation and hygiene in the country.
According to the organisation, the partnership with the NWRI would combine WASH expertise to bridging knowledge and capacity gaps for the delivery of equitable sustainable total sanitation at scale in Nigeria.
The Country Director of WaterAid Nigeria, Ms Evelyn Mere, said a multi-sectoral approach was needed to bridge the knowledge and capacity gaps for improved sanitation in the country.
The WaterAid Nigeria boss stated that the partnership, which is being facilitated through the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, is to provide technical assistance and strengthen capacity to stimulate sector actors towards achieving the longer-term goals of the National Action Plan.
According to her, the country’s plan is to ensure universal access to sustainable and safely managed Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services for everyone in Nigeria by 2030, through institutionalising the enabling environment required to support the effective and sustainable management of the country’s WASH services.
She stated: “That commitment has influenced and informed our strategy and approach in working with the Federal Government and it has led us here at this moment.
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“In spite of slight progress nationally, Nigeria ranks first among countries globally with the highest population of people defecating in the open.
“We still have 112 million without access to basic sanitation, this abysmal state of sanitation has adverse effects on health, livelihoods, education, gender equality and socio-economic development.”
She said under the partnership, modules would be developed on a ‘Rethinking Rural Sanitation’ approach to guide policymakers, planners, and implementers on rural sanitation programming.
The country director expressed optimism that through the provision of technical assistance and capacity building of frontline agencies, the partnership would contribute to delivering the sanitation pillar of the National Action Plan and meeting the SDGs by 2030.
Director-General, NWRI, Prof. Emmanuel Adanu, said the MoU was to give legal backing to the partnership, which would seek to improve and systematically support sector capacity building for sanitation programme development in Nigeria.
Adanu said the institute had commenced the formulation of a curriculum on sanitation for all institutions in Nigeria, which had been submitted to the universities.
He said the institute was committed to seeing that total sanitation was achieved at scale, adding that with the involvement of the institutions the target would be achieved.