103 million Nigerians still lack access to basic sanitation facilities and around 63 million do not have access to improved sources of safe drinking water. The implications of this for Nigeria are severe; diarrhoea in children, caused by poor sanitation and hygiene-related disease is the second main source of infant mortality, after malaria, and the third main cause of under-five mortality.
Transmission of such diseases is either through drinking contaminated water or through direct contact with faeces. That’s why combating life-threatening illness means both providing a safe water supply and improving hygiene when going to the toilet. Taken together it’s total sanitation.
WSSSRP II follows the UNICEF-developed model for combatting disease by mobilising communities to follow better hygiene, and in particular eradicating open defecation. Communities need first to acknowledge that there’s a local problem with people defecating in an uncontrolled way and then are brought together to construct proper latrines that keep human waste contained and well away from sources of drinking water. This process of making neighbourhoods safe is Community-led Total Sanitation (CLTS).
However, CLTS initiatives do not stress latrine construction per se, and avoid the use of hardware subsidies. Instead, mobilisation efforts focus on helping communities and individuals understand the health risks of open defecation and use disgust and shame as “triggers” to promote action, which ultimately lead to the construction and exclusive use of locally-built low-cost household latrines. The ultimate goal of CLTS are communities that achieve and maintain “open defecation-free” status and improved hygiene practices.
Through WSSSRP II UNICEF continues to extend CLTS to rural populations by working with the LGA-level WASHCOMS but the Programme also brings CLTS to small towns, since sewerage there is often poor, and under strain from higher population density.
WSSRP II will:
• Implement, through UNICEF, a state community and hygiene promotion strategy
• Follow up on results of baseline surveys for rural water supply, sanitation and hygiene practices
• Coordinate with UNICEF on the design, dissemination and use of training package especially on CLTS
• Pilot CLTS in small towns in the states