Water Resources Ministry, NOA begin campaign to end open defecation
The Ministry of Water Resources in partnership with the National Orientation Agency (NOA) has embarked on a nationwide campaign to end open defecation in the country.
The National Programme to End Open Defecation in Nigeria tagged “Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet” Campaign was approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in May 2019.
The Campaign was initiated to address the unfortunate position of Nigeria as the country with the highest number of persons defecating in the open globally.
Addressing journalists during a press briefing in Abuja, the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu said the Clean Nigeria Campaign is aimed at implementing the National Roadmap towards making Nigeria Open Defecation Free (ODF) by 2025 strategy document and was launched and flagged off by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo on 19th November 2019 while President Buhari signed the Executive Order 009 on Open Defecation Free Nigeria by 2025 and Other Related Matters on 20h November 2019, to give effect to the Campaign.
He said ending open defecation is not just about access to toilets, it is about generating demand for toilets and changing people’s behaviour regarding toilet usage.
“The Clean Nigeria campaign is a transformational and behaviour change campaign which seeks to mobilise high-level political support, resources and the entire populace towards building a new culture of safe sanitation.
“This will require the contribution and commitment of everyone: government at all levels, civil society, private sector, development partners and the entire populace.
“To effectively achieve this, the role of National Orientation Agency as the organ of Government charged with the mobilization and sensitisation of Nigerians on government programmes and activities is highly recognised, bringing about this collaboration”, the Minister said.
He said the Ministry would be leveraging on the nationwide structure of NOA through the Communication Orientation and Mobilisation Officers (COMOS), who would be engaged in the dissemination of the key messages of the Clean Nigeria Campaign.
According to the 2019 Water, Sanitation and Hygiene National Outcome Routine Mapping (WASHNORM) report, about a quarter of the population, estimated at 46 million people are involved in this act.
In his address, the Director-General, NOA, Dr Garba Abari said open defecation refers to the condition where faeces are disposed of in fields, forests, open bodies of water, beaches or other open spaces or disposed of with solid waste.
“The NOA has been in partnership with the Ministry of Water Resources to use communications and messaging to achieve the free open defecation agenda. We hope to turn the curve in the rate of deaths for preventable diseases as enumerated before”, Dr Abari said.
He said the sensitization campaign is aimed at achieving behavioural change while improving access to good water and sanitation hygiene practice as a way of reaching the goals of the Open Defecation Free National Plan.
The first phase of the state-level sensitisation/orientation workshop for the COMOS on the Campaign will kick off next week across 12 States and will subsequently reach out to all the states.