The European Union signed an agreement with UNICEF that will bring sustainable and integrated water supply and sanitation as well as hygiene promotion to 200,000 people in rural communities in selected states and local governments.
The EU’s investment of 9 million Euros (1.9 billion naira), which will be funded under the Support to Reforming Institutions Programme, will also stimulate accountability and transparency in state and LGA budgeting processes in six states: Anambra, Osun, Cross River, Kano, Jigawa and Yobe. UNICEF will implement the programme over the next two (2) years.
“We at the EU believe that the provision of water and sanitation and the promotion of hygiene are essential public services,” said Dr. David MacRae, Ambassador/Head of the EU Delegation to Nigeria. “They protect populations from diseases that particularly affect children, including cholera and diarrhoea, and they help contain malaria. We will be pleased to support the state and local governments that are leaders in this area.”
The first phase of the agreement is for a public expenditure management and financial accountability review in the six states to assess their public finance management; the extent of their investment in water, sanitation and hygiene so far; and the activities required to bring water and sanitation to rural areas. Only states and local governments that the review shows to have committed to and made progress on reform, particularly in public finance management, will win EU investments in the second phase.
The second phase will comprise a series of activities in the selected local governments and states, including
- mobilizing schools, communities and local governments to develop community action plans for promoting sanitation and hygiene;
- building the capacity of communities and local governments for delivering sustainable water and sanitation services;
- establishing community-based water, sanitation and hygiene models in rural communities, including increasing access to improved source of water for about 200,000 rural people;
- raising awareness and visibility of accountability and transparency practices that contribute to good governance in the water and sanitation sector;
- strengthening monitoring and evaluation systems at community, local government and state levels.
“We are proud to partner with the EU on this innovative programme,” said Dr. Suomi Sakai, Representative of UNICEF in Nigeria. “Communities and governments that provide sanitation and safe water – and promote good hygiene as well – save lives, particularly of children.”