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Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Education in Schools; Key to Unlock SDG 6 in Nigeria

There’s no gainsaying the fact that contaminated water, open defecation and unsanitised environment has become a major challenge in various states in Nigeria, including the Federal Capital Territory. This has led to increased incidences of ailments and diseases, which were once alienated such as lassa fever, ebola, monkey pox and stunted growth.

According to recent WASH-in-School report by United Nations, about 50% of Nigerian schools lack improved water services while 49% of schools in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, do not have clean water in their premises as reported by WaterAid.

Hope Spring Water is a registered Nigeria and UK water charity organization that is focused on providing access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities in Nigeria. One of the core objectives of the organization is to educate and train youths and children in developing communities, on basic water, sanitation and hygiene practices. After our preliminary survey and series of workshops in Nigerian schools, we found it pertinent to establish Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) clubs in schools, to bridge the knowledge gap about WASH amongst Nigerian youths and children and also raise young generation of WASH Champions.

The WASH Club will be an integral part of the WASH-2-School (W2S) project initiated by Hope Spring Water Charity Foundation. The WASH to School project aims to impart and develop life skills among school children in the area of WASH. The initiative aims to improve learning performance of school-aged children, improve their health and, by extension, that of their families and communities. It also seeks to promote child friendly schools with appropriate WASH initiatives.

The W2S approach would include a fully independent WASH Club to be driven by the students with assistance from a designated teacher and a designated volunteer of Hope Spring Water. We are confident this would build key hygiene behaviours for school children using participatory teaching technique.

To kick-off this project, Hope Spring Water Charity Foundation, in partnership with WaterAid Nigeria, EnvironFocus, Media for Community Change and AgroNature Nigeria, will be organizing a quiz competition amongst secondary schools in Abuja. This event is scheduled to hold in the Federal Capital Territory, on the 20th of March 2019, as part of the build up to global celebration of World Water Day and a key activity of the Water Action Month. The participating schools and students would rwspectively be the pioneer schools and members for the establishment of the WASH Clubs in Nigeria.

The first prize for the winning school will be a LifeStraw Community Dispenser which can filter up to 100,000 Litres of water and serve about 100 people per day and its filter cartridge can last for 3 – 5 years while the students will go home with customized WASH Club bags, t-shirts and caps.

Hope Spring Water is committed to ensuring the sustainability of this project and expanding its reach to other states of the Federation and would welcome private sector, CSOs, government agencies and PTAs (Parent-Teacher-Association), as partners to secure a bright future for the children and facilitate the achievement of the United Nation’s SDG for water and sanitation in Nigeria.

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