May 26, (THEWILL) – A coalition of Civil Society Organisations and stakeholders in Akwa Ibom State have urged the State Government to approve the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) policies and M&E Framework to promote healthy living in the state.
The Coalition gave the charge during a 3-day ongoing training programme on WASH reporting for Journalists in Akwa Ibom State.
Funded by the United State Agency for International Development (USAID), under the SCALE (Strengthening Advocacy at Local Level) Project to support reforms in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector of the state, the coalition disclosed that the training was intended to help media practitioners to mainstream WASH in their reportage and in compelling manners through innovative, awareness-raising materials having educational, information, behaviour changing and recreational content around Akwa Ibom State.
The Project Director, Ibom WASH+ and CEO, African Human Development Center, Prof Gabriel Umoh, who spoke on behalf of the groups, maintained that the approval of the policies, monitoring and evaluation framework and increase/release of funding would make work very easy for the state.
Umoh also asked the State Government to domesticate Executive Order 009 by President Muhammadu Buhari, mandating all sectors in the country to be open defecation free by 2025.
He said, “We came together to support Akwa Ibom state to reform WASH sector, as we all know, WASH impacts all facets of life including health, Education, Agriculture etc.
“In the same vein, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), provided the content for us to work to reform the WASH sector in Akwa Ibom State.
“So, we started the practical implementation of the project in February 2002. Our objective is to create awareness about the water and sanitation hygiene situation of Akwa Ibom State and push for the development and approval of the WASH policy framework by the State Executive Council.
“We also want to help develop and get the council to approve the WASH Monitoring and Evaluation because we can’t continue to work without accessing ourselves to know if we are doing well on the nature of our intervention.
“The Nigerian President, His Excellency, Mohammadu Buhari, in 2019, had signed into law Executive Order 009, mandating all sectors in Nigeria to be open defecation free, so one of our objectives is to ensure that Akwa Ibom is open defecation free by 2025.
“We will ensure that the state has an open defecation-free road map, we are glad to work with you, especially those ministries related to WASH, Akwa Ibom State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency, Akwa Ibom Water Company Ltd, Ministry of Land and Water Resources, Ministry of Environment, etc.
“I must thank the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, for passing into law the WASH sector bill in July 2022, but there are some other important documents derived from this one to improve the WASH sector, and they are the WASH Policy, WASH M&E framework and the WASH project roadmap.
“These important documents are awaiting the approval of the State Executive Council. We have gone far in the progress but we know that we can’t do all this alone because we know how important the role of media is, that is why we call you today to come and see how we can work together to see how we can improve the WASH sector.”