Outgoing Head of Governance of WaterAid Nigeria, Juanita During has canvassed for increased discussion on sanitation issues by the public, governments, and development partners in order to draw more attention to identifying and solving sanitation related problems.
At a seminar on ‘Drive to 2015’ during the World Water Week in Stockholm, yesterday, During said: all stakeholders need to talk more about “shit”.
Speaking forcefully that the sanitation target in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) can be achieved, if sanitation becomes trendier to stakeholders, she said “I’m not very good at political correctness, but let’s face it, we are here to talk about shit,”
“It is not pretty, it doesn’t smell nice and we want to get away from it, but it is a matter of life and death. We need to make sure that sanitation and hygiene is trendy, hence the catchy acronym: SHIT”, said Juanita During who represented CREPA (Centre Régional pour l’Eau Potable et l’Assainissement à faible coût) at the ceremony.
Betty Atuku Bigombe, Minister of State for Water in Uganda, said that from a government perspective, politicians have to ensure sanitation does not get lost between government departments. “Sanitation becomes a budget orphan, split between health, water and education and as such no ministry has total control of it,” explained Bigombe. “Sanitation needs to be given greater importance and not just lumped in with water.”
Past approaches also need urgent review. Andreas Proksch from Deutsche Gelsellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) wrapped up the proceedings to a rousing cheer of support from delegates when he argued for “no more pilot projects, and no more projects without the support of government as a way forward to reach this target”.
“Sanitation needs to be given greater importance and not just lumped in with water.”