November 25, 2022

WaterAid advocates adoption, implementation of ASPG policy in Nigeria

WaterAid advocates adoption, implementation of ASPG policy in Nigeria

WaterAid Nigeria has initiated a nation-wide advocacy on the urgent need for the federal, state and local governments to adapt and implement the African Sanitation Policy Guidelines (ASPG) policy in the country.

The organisation − on Tuesday and Wednesday, in Abuja, through a two-day workshop − hosted some stakeholders of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Media Network, Society for Water and Sanitation (NEWSAN), researchers, and journalists with the aim of publicising and deepening the implementation of the ASPG.

According to WaterAid, the essence of the ASPG – developed by the Secretariats of the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW), which Nigeria is a member − is to provide guidance to African governments on the reviews, revision, and development of sanitation as well as its implementation policies.

The Country Director of WaterAid Nigeria, Evelyn Mere, in her remarks, stated that WASH falls within the purview of multiple ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) in Nigeria, and that an inter-ministerial collaboration is indispensable to achieving safely-managed sanitation for all.

Mere further noted that the media and the civil societies are the most strategically positioned actors to achieve these objectives.

“I am confident that through robust conversations, everyone will have a better understanding of the provisions of the ASPG and, importantly, design an advocacy and media plan to support the ongoing WASH policy review process so that no one is left behind,” she said.  

The National Coordinator of WASH Media Network, Wale Elekolusi, in his remarks, stated that bringing CSOs and the media together is a good step towards addressing water and sanitation problems facing Nigerians, and also to successful implement the ASPG guidelines.

“Sanitation is essential to human health, and offers extensive socio-economic and environmental benefits − and the lack of it brings us disadvantage,” he said.

The National Coordinator of NEWSAN, Attah Benson, in his speech, commended WaterAid for organising the event and for thinking outside the box by bringing in CSOs and media practitioners to address WASH problems.

“The problem with WASH policies is not at the national level, but at the state and local levels due to lack of harmony of mandates and interests,” he said. “But we hope to produce an encompassing and workable policy that will hold stakeholder accountable.”

In the course of the workshop, for the first-day interaction, two resource persons presented papers on ASPG- and WASH-related policies and projects.

The first paper, ‘Policies and Institutions for Achieving Safely Managed Sanitation in Nigeria: Roles and Rules for CSOs and WASH Media’ was presented by development consultant and researcher, Danladi Ephraim.

The second paper, ‘African Sanitation Policy Guidelines (ASPG): Standardisation of WASH Policies for Maximum Impact’ was presented by Head of Advocacy, Policy and Communication, Kolawole Banwo.

There were also plenary sessions where the participants and stakeholders came together under three groups to brainstorm, discuss and proffer answers to some fundamental questions on the successful implementation of the ASPG.

The questions were as follows: What are the Strengths of the ASPG? What are the Weaknesses of the Current Policy Environment in Nigeria? What are the opportunities for the application of the ASPG in the sanitation sector in Nigeria? What are the threats to the successful domestication of the ASPG in Nigeria? Who are the stakeholders to be engaged for successful policy development in Nigeria?

On the second day of the workshop, the first paper for this day was ‘Performance Monitoring and Effective Communication for Development − Policy implementation’ presented by Emmanuel Iorkumbur.

The second paper ‘African Sanitation Policy Guidelines (ASPG): Standardization of Wash Policies for Maximum Impact’ was presented by kolawole Banwo.

The last paper was also presented by Banwo and it was titled ‘ASPG Domestication in Nigeria: Reviewing the Journey’.

After the presentations, there were group-work presentations on the policy development process for ASPG, which will be drawn into a working document that will help in the effective implementation of the ASPG guidelines within a workable timeline.

While declaring the workshop closed, Banwo stressed that the advocacy for the ASPG is a continuous process. He tasked the CSOs and media practitioners to ensure its sustenance and workability.

He also admonished the CSOs and the media to continue to challenge, engage and influence the powers that be towards the progress and success of the ASPG policy.