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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

435,000 Imo residents benefit from World Bank-supported WASH programme

No fewer than 435,000 rural residents across four Local Government Areas (LGAs) are benefitting from the World Bank-supported Sustainable Urban and Rural Water Supply, Sanitation, and Hygiene (SURWASH) programme in Imo State.

Hope Uzodinma
Gov. Hope Uzodinma of Imo State

The $700 million programme is underway in seven states of Delta, Ekiti, Gombe, Imo, Kaduna, Katsina, and Plateau.

The General Manager, Imo State Small Town Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (ISTOWA), Mr Chibuzo Ezigbo, said at the ongoing Stakeholders Forum of the SURWASH programme in Abuja on Tuesday, May 14, 2024.

Ezigbo said this was also made possible with the commitment and provision of N600 million by the state government to kickstart the programme in four local government areas.

They are Oguta, Mbaitoli, Oru East and Ideato south local government areas.

According to him, the programme which is in its first phase has brought relief to the benefiting communities as all stakeholders have been carried along in the processes.

The general manager said that the ISTOWA had also established the Water Consumers’ Association in the benefiting local governments to ensure that ownership of these facilities was maintained and sustained.

“The SURWASH programme has really brought relief to the people of Imo state, currently; we are working in four LGAs of Oguta, Mbatoli, Oru East and Ideato South.

“We are still intervening in other local government areas; his Excellency has graciously approved the release of N600 million for the implementation of this programme”.

The general manager said initiatives such as baseline surveys, stakeholder engagement, water reticulation to households, and provision of toilets for schools and health centres were underway.

He added that strategies to prevent waterborne diseases include construction of toilets in health centres and public areas, establishing piped water networks for domestic use and ensuring clean drinking water access particularly for vulnerable populations.

This, he said, was made possible through the use of the national social register to verify those most in need.

Ezigbo projected that the benefiting local governments would be Open Defecation Free by 2025, urging local governments to take ownership of infrastructure to ensure sustainability, curb vandalism, and maximise community benefits.

SURWASH will provide six million people with basic drinking water services and 1.4 million people access to improved sanitation services.

The programme will deliver improved water sanitation and hygiene services to 2,000 schools and health care facilities and assist 500 communities to achieve open defecation free status.

By Tosin Kolade

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