New strategies to achieve nationwide sanitation and hygiene have been adopted through a new campaign to be led by the National Orientation Agency (NOA) and the UNICEF Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC). The theme of the new campaign is “Do the Right Thing: WASH Nigeria”, patterned after the NOA’s “Do the Right Thing: Transform Nigeria” campaign and the UNICEF Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programme.
The WSSCC is a membership organization that enhances collaboration among sector agencies and professionals around sanitation and water supply, thereby contributing to the broader goals of poverty eradication, health and environmental improvement, gender equality and long-term social and economic development of member nations. Nigeria has been a member of the WSSCC since inception and has been collaborating with the Council through agencies that work on water and sanitation for advocacy such as the NOA.
In a bid to strengthen existing collaboration between the WSSCC and the NOA and deepen the gains thereof, the WSSCC Director of Communication and Advocacy, Ms. Amanda Marlin on Wednesday paid a courtesy visit to the NOA Director General, Mr. Mike Omeri in his office in Abuja.
Mr. Omeri who explained that NOA was engaging Nigerians to think and act positively towards sanitation and hygiene in order for the country to attain the Millennium Development Goals on health before the target year of 2015 stressed that water supply, sanitation and hygiene were very important to the Federal Government’s Transformation Agenda. The DG said that local offices of the Agency in the two focus states of Cross Rivers and Benue, have been directed to ensure that the campaign penetrates the hinterlands to achieve Open Defecation Free status.
Ms. Marlin who was accompanied by the WASH ambassador in Nigeria and former Head of the Civil Service of the federation, Engr. Ebele Okeke noted that Nigeria was important to the WSSCC because of the exemplary role it has been playing to other African countries in financing sanitation and hygiene programmes. She was of the view that “Nigeria can be a champion in pushing sanitation issues towards attaining the Millennium Development Goals in Africa”, and commended the efforts of the Nigeria WASH Ambassador in advancing the cause of water and sanitation matters in Nigeria and beyond.
Engr. Okeke also commended NOA for its relentless commitment to advocacy on WASH issues in all the 774 Local Governments Areas of the country, noting that the Agency’s efforts have contributed significantly to the high level improvement of some States in eliminating open defecation through the construction of sufficient public conveniences in rural communities, chief among which, she said, is Benue State.
Okeke however decried the failure of some community residents to utilize such conveniences where provided and urged NOA to intensify its advocacy to stem the trend.