FG certifies 3,000 communities in Benue, Cross River Open Defecation-Free
About 3,000 communities in 10 councils of Benue and Cross River states have been certified Open Defecation-Free (ODF) through improvement on access to basic sanitation facilities.
Nigeria has reportedly overtaken India as the country with largest number of people defecating in the open. But the Federal Government, through the Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion in Nigeria (RUSHPIN) programme implemented by an international non-governmental organisation, United Purpose, worked in 10 councils of the two states and assisted them to attain ODF status.
During RUSHPIN’s review and exit meeting in Abuja yesterday, the Programme Manager, Mr. Nanpet Chuktu, said the organisation adopted the Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach to reach 2,927 communities in the two states in seven years.
Chuktu said the intervention successfully transformed the health of 2,772 communities across six councils in Benue and Cross River, using the CLTS approach.
“So far, we have over 2,900 communities that have been declared Open Defecation-Free in 10 council in Cross River and Benue states,” he said.
The RUSHPIN programme is a $6.6 million grant initiated by the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, with funding from the Global Sanitation Fund (GSF)/Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC).
He noted that the programme empowered communities to end open defecation through a collective change process to improve their sanitation and hygiene behaviour, while ensuring that every community member uses a toilet and practises good hygiene.
“All households and key public spaces in these communities have constructed for themselves toilets and sanitation facilities and practise handwashing when required.
“This uptake of improved sanitation and hygiene practices has impacted greatly on the lives of 1,377,684 people who now live in clean and healthy environments,” he added.
According to him, the sanitation model of the RUSHPIN programme was specifically designed for replication and expansion to scale, noting that the success was proven with additional funding from United Kingdom Agency for International Development (UKAID), resulting in additional councils in Yala and Ikom in Cross River.
“This model has also been adopted by the Benue State Government and is being implemented in Ado, Gboko and Gwer West councils, with success stories rolling in already as several council wards are already ODF,” he added.
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