WaterAid has partnered with the Lagos State Government to commissioned newly installed 6,000-litre solar-powered borehole, rehabilitated seven compartments of toilets and group of handwashing stations at Community and LGA Primary schools at Ijegun.
Speaking at the ocassion, the Country Director, WaterAid Nigeria, Evelyn Mere, said that the commissioning was part of activities to mark World Toilet Day. 2023.
Represented by Ukeme Essien, Head , Strategy, Programme Effectiveness and Learning WaterAid, Mere said that the project would serve about 2000 school children including staff in Community and LGA II Primary Schools, Ijegun of Igando-Ikotun Local Council Development Area in Lagos State.
Mere said that the new water facility and toilets were part of interventions under the first year of the ‘Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Improvement Project’ funded by the PepsiCo Foundation in Lagos State.
She said that the project whose duration would span three years would impact at least 173,000 people with clean water, safely managed sanitation, and hygiene promotion.
The provision of these life-transforming services will improve learning and school attendance as children, especially girls, can stay in school because they have access to clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene.
“As part of the objective of the project to strengthen systems and institutions, WaterAid built the capacity of community members by training over 20 female local area mechanic and establishing a Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Committee (WASHCOM) to maintain and operate new water facilities.
“An estimated 68 million Nigerians are without access to basic drinking water; 171 million lack handwashing facilities with soap; 113 million do not have adequate toilets; and 48 million practice open defecation.
“In Lagos State, only 36 per cent of schools have access to basic water, sanitation and hygiene services. (WASHNORMS) 2021.
According to her access to clean water and decent toilets in school promotes hygiene and contributes to better health among students and staff.
” More importantly, children deserve a healthy learning environment with easy access to safe and sustainable Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services.
” Lack of access to adequate WASH facilities can reduce the attendance rates and educational achievement in schools.
“There could be no better time to commission these facilities than on World Toilet Day celebration where WaterAid alongside our partners-PepsiCo Foundation are accelerating and modelling change for children to feel safe in school and lead healthy lives especially in an environment where they are nurtured.
“While we commend the government’s efforts in WASH service delivery and systems strengthening, we call for increased investments in clean water, decent toilets, and good hygiene so that children do not miss out on education.” Mere said.
Also. the President of the PepsiCo Foundation and Global Head of Social Impact for PepsiCo, C.D Glin said:
“We’re incredibly proud of our long-standing partnership with WaterAid and the transformative work taking place in Lagos state to give access to the basic human right of clean, safe water.
“This work builds on over 15 years of PepsiCo and the PepsiCo Foundation and reaching more than 80 million people – including 12 million people in 2022 alone – with access to safe water through distribution, purification and conservation programmes.
These efforts put us more than halfway to our pep+ goal of reaching 100 million people with safe water access by 2030.”
In his goodwill message, the Chairman of Ikotun Igando LCDA, Mr Lasis Akinsanya, expressed gratitude to PepsiCo Foundation and WaterAid for citing the project in the LCDA.
Akinsanya said that he had no doubt that the project would positively impact the pupils and staff of the schools where it is sited.
He pledged the commitment of the LCDA to take ownership of the project.
He added that the LCDA has employed a security man to secure the facility from vandals.
He appealed to WaterAid and PepsiCo Foundation to site more projects in the LCDA.
Goodwill messages were sent from the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, Lagos State Universal Basic Education, etc.
Students and Pupils of the school also acted plays and drama to showcase their knowledge and practice of good personal hygiene..
The highlight of the event was the unveiling of the project by the Chairman of the LCDA, Akinsanya.