FG to turn attention to sustainability of operation & maintenance systems in WASH Sector

The Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Prof. Joseph Utsev, has said the Sector Wide Sustainability Check, SWSC, will serve as a tool to systematically monitor and track factors that contribute to the sustainability of operation and maintenance systems in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene sector.

Apr 18, 2024 - 10:10
Apr 18, 2024 - 20:15
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FG to turn attention to sustainability of operation & maintenance systems in WASH Sector

By: Frank Ajufo 

The Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Prof. Joseph Utsev, has said the Sector Wide Sustainability Check, SWSC, will serve as a tool to systematically monitor and track factors that contribute to the sustainability of operation and maintenance systems in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene sector. Prof. Utsev, stated this in Abuja, while delivering a keynote address at the National Stakeholders’ Workshop for the Development of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, WASH, Sector-Wide Sustainability Checks and Action Plan and Sustainability Compact.

 Represented by the minister of state, Barr. Bello Goronyo, Prof. Utsev further explained that the Sustainability Compact which is a promise to all beneficiary components of WASH, cannot be achieved without the joint support of government, non-government and private sector organisations, as well as the communities themselves.

 “While the WASHNORM has provided data on the functionality of WASH systems, there is a compelling need to systematically monitor and track the factors that contribute to the sustainability of these systems as there was no tool in the country for this purpose. “Therefore, this Sector-wide Sustainability Check (5w5C) is the first attempt by the government of Nigeria, with the support of UNICEF and other partners in the WASH sector to assess and quantify the sustainability factors of WASH services at different levels household/community and institutions (schools, health care facilities and public places).

“A summary of findings reveals that the overall sustainability index for WASH services in Nigeria is 46%. This means that 64% of all the WASH systems in Nigeria are unsustainable. We are all gathered here today to address this challenge head-on. The development of the WASH Sector-wide Sustainability Checks Action Plan signifies our commitment to a more comprehensive, holistic approach to WASH development. No longer shall we focus solely on initial access, rather, we shall turn our attention to the sustainability of these services. This is where the Sustainability Compact comes into play.”

 Prof. Utsev further noted that the Sustainability Compact is a pledge and a pact being made; a promise to the communities, the environment, and to future generations. He said the compact encapsulates stakeholders’ dedication not only to providing clean water and sanitation facilities but also ensuring that they remain functional, reliable, and accessible for years to come. “Today, as we validate the Action Flan and pledge our commitment through the Sustainability Compact, let us remember the faces and stories of those who will be directly impacted. Let us envision the children who will grow up healthier and more prosperous, the women who will have more time to pursue education and economic activities, and the communities that will thrive due to improved living conditions.

“In conclusion, the WASH Sector-vide Sustainability Checks Action Plan and Sustainability Compact are not just documentaries; they are instruments of change, vehicles of hope, and beacons of progress. Let us embrace this opportunity to make a lasting difference in the lives of mi lions, to safeguard our planet's resources, and to stand as champions of sustainable development.” Earlier, United Nations Children’s Fund, Unicef, Chief of WASH, Dr. Jane Bevan, while speaking on the essence of the workshop, said States’ Commissioners of Water Resources were brought together to equip them with requisite skills on how to manage water systems in their various states.

Dr. Bevan advised communities to prioritise issues relating to water by contributing their quota to ensure success of government policies, as water is important in the sustenance of life. Also speaking, the Chief Executive Officer, FordMarx Nigeria Ltd., a water and renewable energy engineering company, Nnaji Clifford Offorbuike, who spoke at the sidelines of the workshop, applauded the Federal Government’s commitment to improving the lives of the masses.

Nnaji, who expressed optimism that a new Nigeria is possible and that Nigeria will be great again, pledged to ensure that all Nigerians have access to clean portable water and provide affordable for Nigerians through his leadership and that of the members of his team. He said Fordmarx is working towards providing a solar-powered irrigation system available to promote all year round farming activities, thereby, increase food production and reduce cost of food for Nigerians, as well as create a minimum of 50 million jobs in one year.

Vision FM Reports that Commissioners from across the federation and strategic stakeholders in the WASH sector participated effectively in the workshop.

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