The Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) and residents of the Epe Community in Lagos have once again called on the state government to rehabilitate the Epe mini waterworks to ensure the availability of water for the residents in fulfilment of the obligation of the state to ensuring citizens enjoy the right to water as advocated by the United Nations in its Resolution 42/292 in July 2010.
The groups made the call during a community engagement held in Epe with support from Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) tagged: “Water Parliament: Water is a Human Right” on Tuesday, August 22, 2023.
The engagement brought together Poka and Odo Iragushi community members, civil society, youths, and water advocates, among others.
In his welcome words, Project Assistant FES, Ayodele Olaosebikan, described the meeting as important just as water is very important to human survival, and as such the community must be resolute in their demands for the rehabilitation of Epe mini water works and for the promotion of water as a right.
Olaoseibakn advised the residents to come together and speak in one voice to ensure that the government fixed the water infrastructure in the community because if there is no water in the home it can lead to several health challenges.
In his intervention, CAPPA Director of Programmes, Philip Jakpor, said availability and affordability of water is an issue that concerns all hence the need for all the locals to work together to ensure that the fundamental human rights to water are protected by the government.
Jakpor, in his presentation titled “Effective Communication in water advocacy”, said in other climes where water access has been achieved is where everybody works together for a common goal.
He pointed out that, for communication to be effective and efficient, it must elicit appropriate responses from the target audience and if communication is not well tidied, it will not yield the desired outcome.
“Communication entails transmission of information from a sender to a target. It is said to be efficient if it elicits an appropriate response and ineffective if it is not understood or it doesn’t get to the right response from the target.”
According to him, for communication at the grassroots level to make an impact, the locals must have adequate knowledge of the subject matter, create a unified message, and identify and elect credible persons to champion their cause.
Other strategies listed are working in alliance with non-government organisations, identify state actors to engage including elected representatives and drawing public and media attention through public protests.
He concluded his presentation by urging the residents to take advantage of global commemoration of unique events like World Water Day, and Africa Week of Action to get their issues in the media.
Delivering a practical session on strategies for working together as a community to achieve the human right to water, CAPPA’s Associate Director, Aderonke Ige, took the participants through a process of effective organising of water campaigns advocacy.
Through pictorial presentations, Ige enlightened the participants on how to develop the requisite skills of collaboration for a solid campaign against water privatisation and the power of building solidarity and networking.
The engagement was moderated by Olatunji Buhari, associated director of CAPPA.