By Chioma Obinna
In an effort to ensure that school children have access to clean and safe water as the country battle the COVID-19 pandemic, Nestlé for Healthier Kids, N4HKs, provided water and sanitation facilities for two schools in Ogun state through its N4HKs programme.
The sanitation and hygiene facilities provided are part of the sure ways to prevent the spread of the virus and other infections.
Sadly, globally, billions of people still lack access to clean Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), thereby increasing the risk of infections and diseases.
Through the Nestlé for Healthier Kids, a school-based nutrition education programme promoting healthy nutrition, healthy hydration, good hygiene as well as active lifestyles, Nestlé Nigeria reaches over 17,000 children annually.
With the addition of these two new facilities, over 16,000 people living in the communities around Nestlé’s factories in Ogun State and Abaji in the FCT, now have access to clean and safe water.
Also, the company’s commitment to providing access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene supports the Sustainable Development Goal 6 – ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
Statistics available have shown that an estimated 100 million Nigerians still lack basic sanitation facilities and 63 million do not have access to improved source of drinking water, hence, the need for consistent multi-stakeholder action to increase access.
Recognizing water as essential for good hygiene, Nestlé Nigeria has led actions to provide clean and safe water in the N4HK beneficiary schools.
The beneficiary schools are Oke-Ona United School, Abeokuta and St Paul’s Anglican School, OrileImo in Obafemi Owode, both in Ogun State.
The water and sanitation facilities would be serving over 2,000 people including educators, learners, as well as individuals and families within the communities.
Speaking on the official commissioning of the facilities, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Nestlé Nigeria, Mr. Wassim Elhusseini said: “At Nestlé, we recognize that water is essential for livelihood and wellbeing. This is why we are focused on ensuring that everyone within our immediate communities has access to clean, potable water. This is also important in N4HK schools because we cannot talk about hygiene without water and sanitation facilities. It is our hope that these facilities will greatly improve the teaching and learning environment in Oke-Ona United School, Abeokuta and St Paul’s Anglican School, Orile Imo, Obafemi Owode.”
Speaking, at the commissioning of the WASH facilities at Oke-Ona United School, Abeokuta, the Ogun State Commissioner for Education Professor Abayomi Arigbabu said: “Indeed, no Government can single-handedly underwrite the cost of sound and effective education service delivery to her citizenry, hence the call of our education-friendly Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun to all Corporate and individual stakeholders to team up with government by investing in education”.
“Government is filled with gratitude to Nestle Nigeria PLC for the donation of water and sanitation projects for pupils and teachers of Oke-Ona United School, Abeokuta and St Paul’s Anglican School, Orile Imo, Obafemi Owode under the N4HK program.
“I am not in any doubt that this will add value to teaching and learning and will indeed accentuate a healthy environment in the Schools. I charge the direct beneficiaries of this facility to make the best use of this rare opportunity through constant maintenance of the facilities. Indeed, subsequent health report of our pupils must begin to reflect the significance of this monumental investment.”
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Community Development and Cooperatives, Hon. Ganiyu Oladunjoye said: “The Prince Dapo Abiodun administration has created an unprecedented enabling environment for industries in Ogun State to thrive so that they would be able to meet their social responsibilities of supporting their host communities through infrastructural development.”
“This is evident in the various projects donated by Nestlé to her host communities. This gesture is commendable and highly appreciated by the government and people of Ogun State.”
Present at the commissioning of the water projects were community leaders from Oke-Ona and Orile-Imo, as well as invited guests and other stakeholders. The administration, educators and learners of both Oke-Ona United School and St Paul’s Anglican School, Orile Imo, expressed delight at finally having water and good toilet facilities within their schools.