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