Concern Universal battles open defecation in Benue, C’River

In a bid to further sensitise the public on the dangers associated with open defecation and to promote hygiene in Cross River and Benue states, Concern Universal has organised a two-day workshop for media practitioners tagged: “The role of the media in scaling up access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).”

Declaring the workshop open at Gomara Hotel, Ogoja in Cross River, the Programme Manager, Concern Universal, Mr. Oliver Okon, said the objective of the training was to educate journalists on the activities of the organisation and to eenlighten the public on the gains of effective management and utilisation of water, sanitation and hygiene.

Okon said the programme which seeks to promote good hygiene, sanitation and abolition of traditional ways of defecation in the open, has triggered 1,511 communities in Cross River and Benue.

The programme manager maintained that despite the non-payment of the counterpart fund for the project by the Cross River and Benue states governments, a total of 854 communities have been declared Open Defecation Free (ODF) in both states.

He implored the two states to honour the Memorandum of Understanding they both signed to pay the counterpart fund for the success of the project in their states.

Okon noted that the counterpart fund could be paid instalmentally to enable the project continue in the states. “We know the economic situation in the country today is hiting hard, but if this programme is taken from us, it is not a good thing for us owing to the health benefits the people have started reaping”.

The local government areas where Concern Universal projects are sited under the Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion in Nigeria (RUSHPIN) include Abi, Bekwarra and Obanliku in Cross River, and Agatu, Logo and Gwer East in Benue.

Other local government areas in Cross River State where Concern Universal is intervening under the auspices of the Community-led Health Improvement through Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion in Nigeria (CHISHPIN) include Yala, Ikom and Biase.