Disclosure News

Factual Reportage

By Stella Odueme

Nigeria’s journey towards ensuring access to clean water, proper sanitation, and hygiene services for all its citizens has received a boost as the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation, alongside UNICEF and other stakeholders, convened to launch the WASH Sector-wide Sustainability Checks Action Plan and Sustainability Compact, an initiative aimed at enhancing the sustainability of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene infrastructure across the nation.

At the launch in Abuja on Tuesday, the Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Engr. Prof. Joseph Terlumun Utsev, emphasized the critical importance of the WASH sector in promoting human well-being and sustainable development.

Represented by the Minister of State, Rt. Bello Muhammad Goronyo Esq., he underscored the need to move beyond mere access to WASH services towards ensuring their long-term sustainability as he highlighted the sobering statistics provided by the 2021 WASH National Outcome Routine Mapping (WASHNORM) Report.

He revealed that the Sustainability Compact is a pledge to serve future generations saying that it requires the collective efforts of government, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, and most importantly, the communities themselves to succeed.

He informed that the Sustainability Checks Action Plan is an instrument of change to safeguard the planet’s resources and ensure sustainable development.

According to him, in response to the urgent need for systematic monitoring and tracking of sustainability factors in WASH services, the Sector-wide Sustainability Check (SwSC) initiative was introduced, supported by the government of Nigeria, UNICEF, and other partners in the WASH sector.

“The SwSC aims to assess and quantify the sustainability of WASH services at various levels, from households and communities to institutions such as schools and healthcare facilities,” he noted.

The Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Alhaji Aliyu Shehu Shinkafi, represented by the Deputy Director Water Supply, Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation, Mr. Olabode Fashoyi , reiterated the significance of water and sanitation as fundamental human rights and drivers of development.

He emphasized the transformative potential of the WASH Sector-wide Sustainability Checks Action Plan, which provides a comprehensive framework for evaluating the functionality and sustainability of WASH facilities.

He stressed that the plan’s holistic approach will ensure that interventions are not merely short-term fixes but sustainable solutions with lasting impact.

“Every drop of water saved, every hand washed, every toilet built is a step closer to a healthier, equitable, and sustainable world,” he said.

He noted that the WASH Sector-Wide Sustainability Checks Action Plan and Compact are not just mere documents but a promise to leave no one behind.

According to Dr. Jane Bevan, the UNICEF Chief of WASH, state governments play a crucial role in supporting sustainable water systems.
He said this includes tasks such as establishing water departments, training qualified maintenance staff, and offering technical support at the local level.

Dr. Bevan highlighted the ambiguity surrounding the responsibility for bearing the costs of operating and maintaining water systems and stressed that, given the government’s limitations in funding all systems, communities must devise methods to collect funds for repairs and maintenance.

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