The United States Agency International Development has awarded $10m (N4.1bn) over three years to United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund to support the Nigerian government’s initiative to improve water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services in Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara states in the Northwest.
The USAID initiative in partnership with UNICEF, was aimed at providing safe water, hygiene and improved sanitation to more than 300,000 people in Northwest Nigeria.
In a statement on Wednesday, the Mission Director, USAID, Dr Anne Patterson, said such would help reduce water borne diseases, especially among children.
She said, “USAID is dedicated to ensuring clean water for more Nigerians. This new activity with UNICEF will help reduce waterborne diseases to keep more people, especially children, healthy.”
UNICEF’s Country Representative for Nigeria, Peter Hawkins, also said, “We are extremely grateful for the timely and much-needed WASH support from the US government. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with prevailing challenges and gaps in WASH services in northwest Nigeria is detrimental to the development of children and rural communities. This assistance is a testament to USAID’s commitment to the children and people of Nigeria.”
The 2019 National Outcome Routine Mapping of WASH services said 30 per cent of Nigerians lacked access to basic water services and less than 10 per cent had access to safe water. It added that while 44 per cent of Nigerians had access to basic sanitation services, 23 per cent or 46 million people, lacked access to proper sanitation.
It stated that in Nigeria, Sokoto and Kebbi states had the lowest levels of access to basic water services at 38 per cent and 39 per cent, respectively.