Water Sanitation, Hygiene, and WASH Interventions
In most parts of Nigeria, particularly the rural communities, the issue of access to clean and safe water, sanitation and good hygiene practices is a major challenge. Under the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 7, governments agreed to have the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and sanitation by 2015. However, what obtains in Nigeria today, in terms of access to water (quality and quantity) and sanitation, especially across rural communities, is still a far cry from the set target.
Like in most parts of Africa, Nigerian women are generally responsible for collecting water for their families. But it is often men who are in charge of building and maintaining water systems. On average in rural communities, women spend 36% of their time collecting water which often means having to walk long distances to collect water from the nearest water source. The tragedy is that the water which women work so hard to collect is often dirty, polluted and unsafe to drink.
Beyond the problem of accessing safe and clean water, the majority of the community members lack somewhere safe to and clean to go to the bathroom. Of course, when people go to the bathroom in the open, human waste is left around which can spread disease and pollute water sources. Many rural communities do not have access to safe water and sanitation services despite the importance attached to it. It is also noteworthy that the income level of the people is very low and their standard of living is quite poor. Women are the most affected, because the time women spend in undertaking household water tasks and coping with water-borne diseases in their families leaves them with little or no time to engage in economically and socially productive activities.
Women have different needs for water and sanitation than men and they need to be relieved of the burdens they bear as a result of lack of access to water and sanitation services as well as poor hygiene. Hence, it is helpful to use planning activities that involve women. To address the problems of water sanitation and hygiene in communities, our actions focuses on capacity building (through information and technology transfer) for grassroots women organizations and women groups (especially those from the extremely rural areas). WISE raises awareness and promotes women’s right to safe water, sanitation and good hygiene practices and boost their productive capabilities and their participation in water security. The target groups learn how to effectively become a WASH Trainer of Trainers. WISE also makes clean and renewable water and sanitation technologies more available and accessible to women and empowers them to engage in water supply/quality, sanitation and hygiene activities. With our support, community members take responsibility for constructing and maintaining the water and sanitation systems that are provided. Our WASH interventions are premised on the knowing that when a community has a water supply and sanitation technology that is safe and easy to get to, complemented by good hygiene practices, everyone has a better chance of having good health, improved well being, prevent conflicts over water, remove physical and social barriers, and help everyone in the community equally.
Our specific objectives include:
– Conduct needs assessment in communities
– Carry out WASH Advocacy and Education activities
– Water resource conflict resolution and peace initiatives
– Carry out WASH capacity building trainings
– Promote the conservation of watersheds
– Execute Water, Sanitation and Hygiene programs and projects
– Address water and sanitation related diseases
Solid Waste Management Initiatives
The outcry for sustainable development is no longer news across the globe; and calls for a more pressing and radical struggle against environmental hazards and threats. One of the greatest challenges to achieving sustainability is the growing menace of municipal solid waste. Nowhere is this challenge greater than in the developing world where the disparity between engineering systems, community participation and local capacity collide in a startling array of ill-conceived technological fixes, decision paralysis and makeshift solutions. Nigeria, amongst other environmental challenges, is nonetheless confronted by a myriad of problems associated with improper and unsanitary waste disposal which leaves nothing to one’s imagination. Human health risks associated with inappropriate disposal of wastes are enormous in Nigeria. Most of the biologically active and toxic waste materials that reach humans through interaction with the environment (e.g. consumption of contaminated plants and animal products, contaminated drinking water, living close to open dumps etc) derive directly or indirectly form municipal solid wastes, which are a major source of land, air and water pollution. A relationship has been established between health and sanitation and is now common knowledge; yet this situation is yet to be decisively corrected. In recent times, the indiscriminate dumping and disposal of refuse as well as uncontrolled population growth without commensurate provision of new and or expansion of existing sanitary facilities, has continued to increase the disease burden amongst the population. Unsanitary conditions have become prevalent as refuse heaps have continued to beg for evacuation.
Environmental hygiene situation today leaves much to be desired as the emergence of refuse dumps within communities (especially residential and commercial areas) has continued to expose people in such areas to the dangers posed by such dumps which are breeding grounds for diseases and disease carrying organisms like mosquitoes, flies, rats and cockroaches. It has been discovered that two thirds of the diseases afflicting the Nigerian people and in particular the less than five age group can be reliably traced to poor sanitary conditions; even as high mortality rates caused by polluted water and poor sanitation conditions are on the increase. These unsanitary conditions also account for high morbidity resulting in low productivity, high rate of absence from work and loss of valuable working hours (largely due to ill health), high dropout rates from schools, especially among girls and poverty. Everyone is at risk of being over exposed to unsanitary conditions, which is one of the leading causes of death, diseases and infections. This of cause is traceable to the fact that 90% of wastes end up in sources of drinking water especially during rainy seasons.
To this end, WISE actively engages in activates that address problems associated
with municipal solid waste and our specific objectives include:
– Promotion of healthy sanitary measures and practices
– Ensuring effective community participation in waste management
– Carry out researches
Moringa: Tree Planting
Across the world, deforestation is increasing at an alarming rate, because of over dependence on wood and wood products, competition for land resources for grazing, farming and related activities; and has significantly contributed to the increased displacement of native communities, animals, water and vegetation. In 2004 fuel wood production was 61 million cubic meters (2.1 billion cubic feet), harvested mostly near dense urban areas. By contrast, annual lumber production—mostly hardwoods such as mahogany, iroko, and obeche—averaged 2 million cubic meters (71 million cubic feet), almost all from the tropical forest zone. Consequently, Nigeria, once a significant exporter of timber, is a net importer. Every year more is lost- illegal logging accounts for a significant portion of this. Illegal logging in particular, has destroyed large hectares of land in many parts of Nigeria, crating deep ditches and gullies which are potential death traps to animals and human beings. Deforestation has been responsible for the depletion of flora and fauna, thus exposing rich agricultural land to the forces of erosion and desertification. As well as contributing to climate change, this impoverishes millions of the poorest people- 90% of whom depend on forests for part of their income. Global timber production has increased by 60% in four decades. This means that roughly 40% of forest area has been lost, while deforestation continues at a rate of 13m million hectares each year. Deforestation is responsible for 19% of global emissions- more than the entire global transport sector. Standing forests are undoubtedly crucial to the livelihoods of 1.2 billion of the poorest people.
Fuel wood is the most dominant domestic energy option of people and communities across Nigeria, as over 80% of Nigerians use fuel wood for cooking and heating. Fuel wood exploitation in both reserved and unreserved areas have become very alarming and especially due to exerting demand for export. This development is responsible for vegetation depletion particularly in the Northern parts of Nigeria which is located in the Sudan/Sahel ecological zone. Protecting and managing forests will help reduce deforestation, maintain ecosystem, services and secure livelihoods. Women are the cooks in most communities, and are the ones who usually gather, collect and use firewood even in the face of many challenges and dangers. Worst still, they are the most vulnerable to the impact of climate change which is enhanced by overexploitation of forest resources. Women therefore have a duty to save and plant more trees so that we can breathe more clean air and save our planet from deforestation and climate change impacts. They are no doubt the best advocates for promoting clean technologies as well as improving the management and restoration of forest resources. Women need all the support they can get to take action!
Our specific objectives include to:
– Provide trainings to women on the establishment of
plant nursery and distribution of seedlings
– Actively participate in forestation programs and projects
– Encourage Agro-forestry among women