WASH: WaterAid, NWRI Partners to Bridge Knowledge, Capacity Gaps

By Uangbaoje Alex, Kaduna

WaterAid Nigeria and the National Water Resources Institute (NWRI) have on Wednesday signed a three-year partnership to deliver equitable sustainable total sanitation at scale in Nigeria.

The partnership they said will bridge knowledge and capacity gaps and contribute to strengthening sector capacity for improved sanitation in the Nigeria.

It will also promote learning and capacity building on rural sanitation in Nigeria, working through a systems-based approach to embed the principles and approaches to enhance sustainability, equity and scale towards universal access by 2030.

It also aimed at reviewing and integrating the emerging framework for rural sanitation promotion in Nigeria, and integrate learnings from WaterAid’s implementation of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-funded Sustainable Total Sanitation (STS) project with the Rethinking Rural Sanitation (RRS) guidelines to develop and deliver modules and certified short courses on the RRS and STS emerging framework training guides. A pilot of the course has commenced at the NWRI alongside the MOU signing.

A statement made available to journalists by Oluseyi Abdulmalik, Communications & Media Manager, WaterAid Nigeria, quoted Evelyn Mere, WaterAid Country Director, as saying “Despite slight progress nationally, Nigeria ranks first among countries globally with the highest population of people defecating in the open and 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. Yet, the goal of the National Action Plan, to end open defecation by 2025 and attain universal access to water supply, sanitation and hygiene by 2030, continues to be challenged by significant institutional and capacity gaps.

“A multi-partner approach is crucial to realising the overall objectives and goal of the National Action Plan to revitalise the water, sanitation and hygiene sector and through this partnership, key drivers in the sanitation sector will gain relevant knowledge in sanitation approaches targeted at delivering equitable and sustainable results at scale.

“In 2019, at the World Water Week in Stockholm, WaterAid entered into a partnership with the Government of Nigeria, through the Ministry of Water Resources, to provide technical assistance and capacity strengthening support to stimulate sector actors towards achieving the longer-term goals of the National Action Plan – which are to ensure universal access to sustainable and safely managed WASH services for every Nigerian by 2030 and to institutionalise the enabling environment required to support the effective and sustainable management of Nigeria’s WASH services. That commitment has influenced and informed our strategy and approach in working with the Federal Government and it has also led us here, to this moment.

“Nigeria is of such global importance that achieving progress on water, sanitation and hygiene in Nigeria will have a transformational impact on water, sanitation and hygiene access at a global scale. The stark realities around us are more than enough indication that we simply cannot afford to continue with the status quo. We must take urgent action to accelerate Nigeria’s progress or face a worsening crisis with real effects on human lives. We must, by every means possible, move Nigeria’s development forward, improve access to basic sanitation and end open defecation.”

The statement further added that “the partnership will combine the water, sanitation, and hygiene expertise of WaterAid and the training expertise of the NWRI to improve and systemically support sector capacity for sanitation programme design and development in Nigeria.”

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