Executive Secretary, Sokoto Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA), Alhaji Sidi Abass, has linked insurgency, cattle rustling to challenges of poor hygiene and open defecation practice in border communities.
Abass made this known when the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in Emergency Working Group carried out a Cholera Assessment and Monitoring visit to Sokoto on Tuesday, February 5, 2019.
“The problem of insurgency as well as cattle rustling is what is affecting border communities with Niger and Zamfara because of the movement of people and animals, those people evacuating sewages and dumping it in open spaces.’’
He said that the sensitisation and awareness created through the mass media would go a long way to educate those in the community on promotion of hygiene.
Abass said that community members had been drafted into WASH Committees to lead engagements for behaviour change, and sensitisation for total sanitation.
He said that RUWASSA had trained some village heads on water safety plans to ensure that they in turn train their populace “that water does not get contaminated from point of produce to point of consumption.’’
Abass said that part of the intervention on water safety and hygiene promotion was to see that people adapted toilet models that suit their economic level toward the goal of ending open defecation.
According to him, there are indications that all are set for Tangaza Local Government Area in the state to be declared open defecation-free in two months.
“As I am speaking with you now, I have given them two months, January and February, so by March, we are going to validate when we are sure; what drew us back was some communities with collapsed toilets, otherwise, we would have met the December target.’’
He said that access to water and sanitation in the state was improving, adding that at the RUWASSA level, it had been able to rehabilitate broken down boreholes and provided new ones.
“Just last year alone, we provided 142 hand-pump boreholes and rehabilitated over 300 solar-powered boreholes, this has increased not less than 3,000 households accessing potable water.’’
The WASH in Emergency Working Group was established in 2012 when the country experienced devastating floods that affected 85 million people in 14 states.
The group has since remained active, especially in the North-East where IDPs exist and have responded immediately on outbreaks of cholera.
The group membership cuts across WASH sector players from institutions, development partners, international and local NGOs and CSOs, responding to WASH issues in the North East, with UNICEF as its co-lead.
By Tosin Kolade