WAter, Sanitation and Hygiene education â€“ known as WASH â€“ is a critical aspect of community development. Access to safe water, improved sanitation, and hygiene education is a foundation of community development – other development initiatives in areas such as basic education and literacy, disease prevention, maternal and child health, economic development, and peace and conflict resolution, will have more impact if WASH has first been addressed.
The world met the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) globally for water in 2010 although progress is lagging in sub-Saharan Africa. However the MDG for sanitation not only will not be met by 2015 but is falling further out of reach.
Nigeria is NOT on track to meet either the water or sanitation MDG (2012, Joint Monitoring Program report) which means coverage rate in 2010 was the same or lower than the rate in 1990 or below 10% of the rate required to meet the target.
66 million people in Nigeria do not have access to an improved water source. Less than 50% of the population in Nigeria is using an improved sanitation facility, and 34 million practice open defecation (i.e. use NO form of sanitation facility). It is estimated that between one quarter and one half of rural populations in Nigeria practice open defecation.
There is need to introduce appropriate technologies and market-based approaches to improving WASH in the Niger Delta.