By Ugochukwu Alaribe
To boost water service delivery, sanitation and good hygiene among urban communities in Nigeria; an NGO, Grassroots Community Development Initiative, GRACODEV, has partnered with the United States Agency for International Development, USAID, to revive water boards in six states of Nigeria.
The project tagged; Effective Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, E-WASH, is a 4 year USAID funded project, through Research Triangular Institute, RTI, to improve urban water service delivery by strengthening the financial and technical viability of 6 state water boards in the country.
Speaking during the inauguration of the USAID E-WASH Umuahia Zone B women forum, Executive Director, GRACODEV, Mrs. Gladys Ihediwanma, explained that the project is part of the United States government’s efforts to address gaps in urban water, sanitation and hygiene services in Nigeria.
She disclosed that they would work closely with the government, other donor agencies, and government programmes to help state water boards to access and manage infrastructural investments.
In her words; “The E-WASH project aims to create professionally managed and commercially managed state water boards, improve their financial and operational viability, strengthen policy, institutional and regulatory frameworks for improved water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services and build national and state WASH advocacy, coordination and communications for reform.”
Ihediwanma further stated that the E-WASH program will also build closer coordination with the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, select state water boards and allied stakeholders to advance broad-based economic growth through improved water sanitation and hygiene services in urban areas.
Emphasizing the importance of safe drinking water in the maintenance of public health and sanitation, Ihediwanma disclosed that her group which is the focal NGO for the programme in Umuahia is committed to the revival of regional water schemes to ensure availability of water in the area.
She also highlighted a significant role of women in advocating for the realization of potable drinking water to the citizens in the urban communities.
In his remarks, Programme officer of the GRACODEV, Dr. Anorue Paul, explained the importance of safe drinking water, its access and sustainability as well as the campaign for safe water, promotion and practice of good hygiene in their communities.