Access To Water Sanitation Hygiene, Essential Human Rights – WaterAid Nigeria, PepsiCo

Country Director, Water Aid Nigeria, Evelyn Mere has said that water sanitation and hygiene are human rights and essential basic services that serve as a foundation for reducing the spread of infectious diseases and promoting human dignity.

Mere said this in Lagos when WaterAid Nigeria with funding support from PepsiCo Foundation launched a project to enhance Water and Sanitation Hygiene (WASH) in Ikotun, Ikorodu and Ojodu Local Council Development Areas of Lagos State.

“Lack of access to safely managed water, sanitation and hygiene services impacts negatively on health, exposing people to infectious diseases such diarrhea,” she said.

Mere also said further that, nearly 90 percent of all diarrhea deaths are linked to unsafe water, poor sanitation and hygiene.

The project targeted at improving public health in Lagos State will be implemented through the provision of water and sanitation facilities as well as hygiene promotion and education to improve hygiene behaviours in the state.

The project is expected to reach about 43,000 people with improved water, sanitation and hygiene services.

Stating further, Mere said, “One in ten people still don’t have even a basic supply of clean water close to home. A lack of access to this life-saving service means women are left to bear the brunt of walking miles and spending valuable hours in collecting water. A time that should be spent on other household tasks or income gathering activities, helping to lift themselves and their families out of poverty.”

Meanwhile, General Manager of PepsiCo in Nigeria, Olujimi Taiwo, said his organisation is aware of the importance of water in the communities and the collaboration with WaterAid Nigeria is important in the bid to reach 100 million people with safe water in eight years.

“As a company, we know how important water is to every community and our vision for the future is that wherever in the world PepsiCo operated, water resources will be better-off because we are there.

“This collaboration with WaterAid Nigeria is at the heart of our goal to reach 100 million people globally with safe water access by 2030 through the PepsiCo Foundation and our partners.

“It also contributes to the UN SDG #6 to ensure the availability and sustainable management of clean water and sanitation for all,” he said.

Representing the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Drainage Services and Water Resources, Lagos State, Engineer Olalekan Sodehinde at the event was Engineer (Mrs.) Omolanke Taiwo, who informed the gathering that the ministry was happy to collaborate on the project.

“We are happy as a ministry to be involved in this project. Water and Sanitation Hygiene is a huge challenge globally and the Lagos State Government through the ministry of Drainage Services and Water Resources signed an MOU two years ago with WateraAid Nigeria and the collaboration has yielded fruits,” she said.

Taiwo continued that, “In a state having population growth, we have our problems. Once people come to Lagos, there is the opportunity to have something doing, so the population increases and there is pressure on sanitation and hygiene management.

“We have a lot of people moving about doing open defecation, so many people sleep under the bridge, and they defecate in the open. We are happy that PepsiCo and WaterAid Nigeria are here to support, and we are ready to work with them.


“When we talk about sanitation, it is about the women, they are the ones that fetch water, they are the ones that menstruate, they are the ones that give birth and they should be supported,” she said.

Also at the event, the Human Resources Manager of PepsiCo, Mr. Gbenga Akinsanya, said the project would focus on the vulnerable people.

“As a country, as a business, our greatest asset is water. We have come together to present WASH to the vulnerable people and this project is to empower women and girls,” he said.

Akinsanya however recognised the partners and stakeholders in the project. “I like to recognise the Lagos State Government, the WASH Media Network, Ikorodu and Ojodu LCDAs.

“We are operating in Nigeria and so many other countries in the world. Over the last 15 years, PepsiCo Foundation has helped more than 58m people to have access to clean water, which makes us more than halfway into our goal of reaching 100m people.

“Since we started this work in 2007, we have invested more than $53m,” he said, stating further that, access to WASH is recognised by the UNO as a human right.

Akinsanya who said, lack of access to water has significance consequences, however reeled out some mind-boggling statistics.

“Lack of safe and affordable water and sanitation hygiene has devastating effects on health of Africans. In Nigeria, roughly 68million people which is about 33 percent of the population lack access to basic drinking water and 113million people lack access to basic sanitation and 171million people lack access to basic hygiene services,” he said,

He stated further that, “Diarrhea disease is the second leading cause of death among children under five, killing about 150,000 children in Nigeria.”

The project is aimed at improving water and sanitation hygiene and it is expected to cause behavioural change towards good hygiene among communities in Ikorodu, Ojodu and Ikotun Local Council Development Areas of Lagos State.


*Story by Dayo Emmanuel


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Post Author: Dayo Emmanuel