(From Polycarp Auta, NAN)
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has said that 1,500 communities in four Local Government Areas of Bauchi State have been declared Open Defecation Free (ODF) as validated by the National Task Group on Sanitation (NTGS).
Mr Bhanu Pathak, the Chief of UNICEF Bauchi Field Office, who disclosed this at the exit meeting for the Sanitation Hygiene and Water in Nigeria (SHAWN) project for the State on Tuesday, in Jos, identified the local governments as Dass, Warji, Bogoro and Gamawa, who have provided access to basic sanitation facilities for the people.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the SHAWN II project, which began in the State in 2014, supported by UKAid and UNICEF, is currently being implemented in 20 other local government areas.
Bhanu disclosed that the project had constructed 100 hand pump boreholes, 65 solar motorised boreholes and 30 blocks of Pour Flush latrines across communities in the State, including providing access to improved water sources for half a million people.
Pathak thanked the State Government for the collaboration and promised continued support in scaling up efforts to eradicate open defecation in the entire state.
He also pledged to invest in institutional and community capacity building toward achieving the set goals, particularly in the water and sanitation sub-sector.
According to Pathak, the exit meeting would roll out a sustainability and consolidation plan in the area of sanitation and hygiene, water supply systems, among others.
In his address of welcome earlier, Barr. Jidauna Mbami, the State Commissioner for Water Resources, thanked donor organisations for supporting the State in implementing the project, describing them as “partners in progress”
Represented by Mr Muazu Nathaniel, the commissioner said the project had been of tremendous benefit to the people, adding that it had also addressed some of the worrisome challenges of water, sanitation and hygiene in the State.
“We are all living witnesses to the past worrisome situation of lack of proper sanitation and hygiene in our localities, before the introduction of this laudable project. This is one giant effort we will continue to cherish till eternity, because this project has provided succour to our people in terms of access to clean water.
“We commend our donor partners, and I wish to assure that we will continue to provide the necessary platform for better partnership with any organisation that means well for us as a State,” he said
Mbami called on the beneficiaries of the project and other stakeholders to ensure a sustainability plan that would enable the facilities provided serve the people into the long term.
NAN reports that the meeting was attended by members of benefitting communities, representatives of donor organisations, government agencies, among others.