WaterAid Nigeria and Kimberly Clark Corporation would commence a project titled Sanitation and Hygiene Improvement Project in Ikorodu North and Ojodu Local Council Development Areas (LCDA) of Lagos State, being the pilot councils.
DAYO EMMANUEL, who was at the inauguration of the project in June, also attended a capacity building workshop the two organisations facilitated recently in Lagos for journalists, members of the civil society and staffers of Lagos State Ministry of Environment.
Salient issues on the implementation strategies were discussed and the Lagos Chapter of WASH Media Network was inaugurated. He writes:
WaterAid Nigeria and Kimberly Clark Corporation have concluded a three-day capacity building workshop for journalists and members of the civil society in Lagos.
The workshop, aimed at strengthening the advocacy for water and sanitation hygiene, was in support of the commencement of a project by the two organisations. Local implementing partners including the Lagos State Ministry of Environment and the Humanity Foundation For Peace and Development (HUFFPED), a civil society, partner on the project titled ‘Sanitation and Hygiene Improvement Project.’
The project, however, has the rural and peri-urban communities in focus, hence Ojodu and Ikorodu North Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) were adopted as pilot communities in Lagos State.
Head of Advocacy Policy and Communication, Mr. Kolawole Banwo, at the event said the project has an advocacy component and that was his reason for facilitating at the event.
“The project is supposed to support two LCDAs in Lagos State and it has two components: it has service delivery, we are constructing hand washing facilities and we are doing hygiene behavioral change for lactating women and menstrual hygiene for schoolgirls.
“The ultimate goal is that whatever we do within the two years of the project should be institutionalised so that the LCDAs can uptake, upscale, replicate and institutionalise it so that after the project, it becomes part of what they do.
“Then to achieve that, you need advocacy and communications so I have come to support the Lagos team and the partnering organisation so they develop their basic plan to make that happen,” he explained.
Also, the Project Manager on the Kimberly Clark Project, Nanbam Michael, who facilitated a session at the workshop, talked about how the organisation intends to carry out the project.
According to her, “The project is generally an improvement on sanitation and hygiene for vulnerable people in selected councils of Ojodu and Ikorodu North LCDAs in Lagos State.
“I mentioned improvement because people know about hygiene and sanitation, what we would do is to strengthen community system, pregnant women, lactating mothers and also school pupils, especially girls and even the boys,” she explained.
Worried about open defecation in Nigeria, Michael said, the government already declared the Water and Sanitation Hygiene (WASH) an emergency sector.
“We know that the Federal Government has declared WASH sector as emergency sector and we know that Nigeria has a large number of people doing open defecation. There are guidelines and activities put down by the Federal Government, the campaign to use the toilet, that we are adapting by WaterAid in Lagos State with the support of the Lagos State Government’s Ministry of Environment to review their policy about WASH issues. We can’t talk about water without hygiene, they are interwoven,” she explained.
According to her, WaterAid Nigeria is targeting women who will use the Primary Health Centres (PHCs) for antenatal to engage them about maintaining hygiene during their critical times, sensitising them to wash their hands after using the toilet, after cleaning their babies and before breastfeeding their babies as the practices could reduce their chances of contracting water related diseases by 50 per cent.
“In schools, we want to talk to children and teachers about hygiene, personal hygiene and menstrual hygiene. We want to talk about menstrual hygiene, we want to boost the confidence of the girls; the boys may be laughing at them when they are on their period and they may not go to school as a result, there is tendency of dropping out.
“So we want to talk about the dangers of open defecation. If everybody is maintaining hygiene and one person is not, the community is not safe. When there is open defecation, animals and insects take it back to the community and it is very important for the community to gather and take decision,” she said.
Michael, however, revealed a result of a research that stated the many dangers in open defecation.
“Research has revealed that a gram of excrement contains 10 million viruses, that same gram carries 10,000 bacteria, 100 parasite seeds, 100 parasite eggs. So just imagine what a heap of excrement can do! They can get dried and go straight to our water and they can go back to our homes and get us sick.
“So this program is supporting Lagos State Government to key into the Federal Government’s campaign and also support the vulnerable people. The project will construct some facilities in schools and health centres, provide educational materials, reusable materials for girls in schools.
“This program is also going to strengthen institutions. We are working with the Ministry of Education, PHCs, CSOs and the media,” she said.
Also facilitating a session at the event, Communication and Media Manager, WaterAid Nigeria, Oluseyi Abdulmalik, told the participants how preventive health of WASH can be cost effective than curative health of medication.
“If we invest more in WASH, which is preventive, we may not need to incur more expenses in health which is curative,” she said, urging journalists to adopt effective communication strategies to reach the two pilot communities.
Abdulmalik led participants in engaging practical sessions during which they worked in various groups to adopt communication strategies.
Executive Chairman of Ojodu Local Council Development Authority (LCDA) of Lagos State, one of the two pilot LCDAs, Honourable David Olusegun Odunmbaku, represented by his Media Aide, Mr. Akorede Brown, pledged support for WASH for the benefit of members of his constituency.
Odunmbaku said his administration has health and hygiene of the constituents as priority in Authority’s Health, Education, Youth Empowerment and Social Infrastructure (HEYS) agenda.
“We have encouraged everyone in Ojodu LCDA to stay hygienic, use clean water and make sure their environment is clean,” Brown reiterated.
He added that, Odunmbaku, since assuming office last year, has carried out some interventions in the LCDA to ensure healthy living.
“Since the inception of his administration about a year ago, Odunmbaku has carried out the revamping and rehabilitation of the seven Primary Health Care Centres within the LCDA with the provision of 24 hours services and competent health personnel, construction of public toilets, provision of Prostate Cancer/Cervical screening, endearing public private partnership for subventions and capacity building amongst others,” he explained.
Meanwhile, National Chairman of WASH Media Network, Mr. Wale Elekulosi, at the workshop said the workshop was necessary in order to increase the capacity of journalists on WASH so they can disseminate their message effectively.
He also said the workshop was facilitated in order to enhance the knowledge base of journalists as it regards water sanitation and hygiene in Lagos State for them to apply that in daily reporting.
Elekulosi, however, inaugurated the Lagos Chapter of WASH Media Network by administering oath of the group to the journalists being inducted, while Mr. Michael Simire was unveiled as the Chairman, Lagos Chapter of the network.