November 20 and 21, PIND together with collaborating organizations UNICEF and NEWSAN (Society for Water and Sanitation), held the WASH (Water, Sanitation, &Hygiene education) Forum in Calabar, Cross River State. Present were NGOs from 6 states (Edo, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, and Cross Rivers) and RUWASSA (Rural Water and Sanitation Support Agency) representatives. UNICEF presented their upcoming Niger Delta Support Program funded by the European Union. Other topics covered included the link between peace-building and WASH, possibilities for on-line support tools, a case study on the biosand filter that PINDâ€™s ATED (Appropriate Technology Enabled Development) program has introduced. The session concluded with state by state groups of government officials and CSO representatives who together developed action plans for more collaborative strategies to achieve improved WASH in the six Niger Delta states of Edo, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross Rivers.
The importance of this Forum cannot be overemphasized. Nigeria is NOT on track to meet either the water or sanitation Millennium Development Goal (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, inclusive of the Niger Delta region, 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. The need is great. The work is immense. Working together we can do better.
Blog post by Nancy Gilbert, ATED Project Manager