Project #1831

Give Safe Drinking Water - Save a Child from Dying

by Rural Africa Water Development Project
Group photo of project stakeholders
Group photo of project stakeholders

We share in the vision of a world where people have the opportunity to live in good health and prosperity because their basic water supply and sanitation needs have been met through cost effective appropriate technologies. Deriving from the foregoing is the mission to work as a center of expertise, collaborating with relevant local and international groups as well as other stakeholders to provide simple and appropriate technologies in water supply and sanitation for the poor and disadvantaged groups in African communities. To support poor children in rural Schools in Nigeria, RAWDP has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Latrine-Tec Ltd, a local latrine building and consulting company based in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, to upgrade vulnerable latrines systems in rural public schools. These are mostly unlined pit and poorly built pour- flush latrines; making them flood resilient and child friendly. In designing these latrines RAWDP is not unmindful of the fact that certain latrine components are vulnerable to flood damage and that some are most likely to lead the users to abandon the latrine. If inside the house, children, especially young girls can visit the toilet in complete privacy without wading through flooded compounds to access it. Either indoor or outdoor, the elevation in design places it safely above invading flood water; and its external structures are well sealed. By introducing this latrine system in public schools we encourage all time safe excreta disposal. The project will therefore pilot the new latrines by directly upgrading 15 existing communal school latrines in various parts of Imo State, Nigeria. By seeking to upgrade 15 communal latrines we aim to support over 35,000 children enrolled in these 15 schools to access latrines at all times regardless of rainfall intensity or severity of flooding. This also translates to direct ‘‘one-on-one’’ meeting with 15 school heads and their teachers as well as staging sanitation and hygiene dramas vital in making impression and sending the message to the children.  The result is that flooded rooms, compounds and spaces around the latrine will not affect its use. The raised pit volume means increased volume which extends the life of the latrine. In this type of latrine, any type of pit lining whether it is porous or non-porous can be used above the ground level for raising the pit. To meet the objectives of the project are activities such as meetings with project partners, including Latrine-Tec Ltd and stakeholders; building of sanitation rings and slabs; surveys; selection and training of artisans; promotional activities; marketing, building and evaluation activities etc. Some of these activities may run concurrently.

We are grateful to Global Giving and all our benefactors and donors who use its platform to reach us with the critical funds required in achieving our objectives. Please accept our warm gratitude and appreciation. Please kindly do not get bored or fatigued in supporting project - Give Safe Drinking Water - Save a Child from Dying!


Thank You!

Construction of latrine slabs in progress
Construction of latrine slabs in progress

In our region of operations, over 25% of children under the age of five die every year from effects of drinking unsafe water. Also barely half of the population has access to disinfected water; while 80% of illnesses detected in the region originate from the water people drink. Sadly about 95% of the population depends on the potentially contaminated water points; and worse still, over 50% of the people are without access to sanitation. Coupled to this scary situation is the fact that many families in the Niger Delta region are unable to afford to send their children to school. Most adults in the region are illiterates. For those children who are fortunate enough to attend school, 20-25% is absent due to intestinal illness or caring for the needs of other family members afflicted.

In partnership with community based groups such as the Rotary Clubs of Aladimma and Owerri respectively (District 9140 of Rotary International), we have designed and developed communal pour-flush and Ventilation Improved Pit (VIP) latrines in two public schools. Collaboratively, we have achieved this milestone because of our conviction that it takes the art of leadership to prove that poverty is much more than a lack of income or a shortage of material goods. And that human poverty, the lack of basic capabilities for participating in the activities of the community, is greatly exacerbated by lack of sanitation or toilets.

Therefore, for a group of students/pupils living in hostels surrounded by human waste, it is stigmatizing and marginalizing. It creates embarrassment and deprives them of participation, choices and opportunities. This sadly was the lot of the students of the Amakohia Secondary School, Amakohia, Owerri and the Special School for the Deaf, Orodo, Mbaitoli LGA of Imo State. Before the collaborative interventions, these schools which collectively have a population of 1,350 students had no toilet facilities any kind. Both schools are also mixed/co-educational (boys and girls together).

Then, students answering the call of nature adopted open defecation. It was a nauseating site to behold these students – male and female alike do this. The result was that these students were accordingly deprived of some primary economic benefits linked with having toilets; and these included; saving time; reducing direct and indirect health costs; increasing the return on investments in education; and safeguarding nearby water resources etc. The biggest element in all these was saving time. By lacking toilets at the hostels, the students spent a great deal of time each day looking for secluded places to defecate within and around the school premises. The World Health Organization estimates this time has an economic value of well over US$ 100 billion each year. Many workdays are lost to diarrheal disease –when the student is ill as well as when he is caring for a sick friend/colleague.

Other social factors concurrently addressed by the intervention are those of privacy, dignity, safety, convenience and status. The hundreds of students who must defecate behind bushes, in plastic bags, in roadside ditches face daily assaults to their human dignity. The female students were hit hardest by the absence of toilets in the school as they have their dignity vulnerable to assault by locals. Therefore, the design, building and donation of 2 blocks of Pour flush and VIP latrines in the school at this time is a welcome accomplishment.

According to Ebuka; the head boy of one of the schools: ‘‘…..a clean toilet in my school and in my time here is a breakthrough. Please tell your fund raisers that we are grateful’’

This further enriches our project outcomes as follows:

•        Saved over 300,000 Children from every day diarrhea diseases

•        Gained over 129,100 School Attendance Days for Children

•        Contributed in reducing endemic cases of gastro-enteritis in the region

 We are grateful to Global Giving and all our benefactors and donors who use its platform to reach us with the critical funds required in achieving our objectives. Please accept our warm gratitude and appreciation. Please kindly do not get bored or fatigued in supporting project - Give Safe Drinking Water - Save a Child from Dying!

Thank You!

The toilet commisioning day event
The toilet commisioning day event

Beyond household gains, and the allied opportunities being appropriated by micro-entrepreneurs as filter artisans and technicians etc are those of market groups emerging as filter distributors in the Niger Delta.

Rural markets represent a critical segment of rural life in Nigeria. Asides providing commercial outlets for rural goods vital in fighting rural poverty, they provide rural folks a place for social networking and meetings. However, these markets receive limited priorities by government especially in the provision of basic amenities like safe water supplies and clean communal or shared toilets.

This approach mobilizes and motivates traders to invest in their own WASH infrastructure in a manner devoid of external hardware subsidy. The promotion of self-sufficiency rather than dependency is a key component of the approach as it focuses on the development of sustainable services rather than the external provision of infrastructure. Also, as a decision-support action-based tool our current initiative primarily uses a combination of participatory rural appraisal (PRA) techniques and related seven- step participatory approach similar to those used in Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation (PHAST) to facilitate community planning and action.

The seven steps are: Problem identification, problem analysis, planning for solutions, selecting options, planning for new facilities and behaviour change, planning for monitoring and evaluation and participatory evaluation. It works on the premise that as traders gain awareness of their water , sanitation and hygiene situations through participatory activities, they are empowered to develop and carry out their own plans to improve this situation within a timeline. The plans adopted may include construction or purchase and management of new physical facilities over the long term as well as safer individual and collective hygiene behaviours. Our initiative utilises specifically designed tools comprising of a series of photographs that depicts disgusting local market situations; connecting it with optimistic scenarios of healthier people, cleaner environments and adequate water supplies and wealth creation for all in the markets.

By focusing on providing traders and buyers  with an effective and healthy buying and selling environment and changing the hygiene behaviour of market people, this initiative mainstreams the ability of a coterie of people – adults, children, girls, boys, men and women who come to the market to act as change agents within a community or conduits for carrying those messages far beyond the market walls, bringing lasting improvements not only to their personal well-being, but also to that of the family and the wider community.

With a view at reaching a huge number of those at the bottom of the pyramid especially those with limited political voices and lobbying capacities, our project recently (10 – 15th February, 2012) organized a workshop in Owerri, Nigeria for female headed households and other groups. The workshop was aimed at maximizing the opportunities of scale at improving the quality of their drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and freeing the poorest people from the burdens of ill-health. In other words the main aim of the workshop was to support vulnerable women and children of poor households in target communities to overcome the basic obstacle posed to their social and economic development by poor access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene. Part of the workshop program was supporting this vulnerable population to sustainably access clean and safe drinking water through the construction and installation of 1000 Bio-sand water filters in their homes etc. Activities included:

1. Staging of interactive WASH Workshops for women

2. Training of 45 women and girls in filter making                                                                                                                             

3.Supporting 1000 female headed households with water filters

4. Following up support services for 2 years (2012 – 2014)                                                                                                                   

 5. Report and Articles in local and international conferences and journals

The project is obliging many local households the robust opportunity of good health which the scaled up production of the filters provides. The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that as many as 80% of all infectious diseases in the world are associated with insufficient and unsafe water, and this is in abundance in our work area. This is particularly well established for diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, typhoid and paratyphoid fever, infectious hepatitis, amoebic and bacillary dysentery etc. The prevalence of some of these sicknesses in the region is well documented. Diarrhea in particular remains a killer disease, especially for babies and children below the age of five.  Safe, adequate and accessible supplies of water combined with proper sanitation, are surely basic needs and essential components of primary health care. They can greatly help to improve the health of underprivileged populations in communities in the Niger Delta. Public health concerns associated with industrial pollution, and poorly managed on-site sanitation systems are yet to abate in oil producing communities hence giving relevance to our filters. In these Niger Delta communities water pollution has continued to impair water sources and threatening the health and wellbeing of thousands of people in the communities.  Our filter continues to provide a reliable, accessible, adequate and cost-effective water treatment device for poor households.  Our Point-of-Use multi-barrier filter technology has proven significant at reducing intestinal illnesses particularly among children who are prone to stomach pain, diarrhea, dehydration and death due to the contaminated water they drink. In the region, over 25% of children under the age of five die every year from effects of drinking unsafe water. Also barely half of the population has access to disinfected water; while 80% of illnesses detected in the region originate from the water people drink. Sadly about 95% of the population depends on the potentially contaminated water points; and worse still, over 50% of the people are without access to sanitation. We are grateful to Global Giving and all our benefactors and donors who use its platform to reach us with the critical funds required in achieving our objectives. Please accept our warm gratitude and appreciation. Please kindly do not get bored or fatigued in supporting us. Thank you!

Our mission @ RAWDP is to make safe drinking water and sanitation available to marginalized households in environmentally ravaged communities in Africa. Our project drives equilibrium change by widening the distribution and accessibility of our clean water filters within record time through the training and engagement of filter entrepreneurs; all of us working together to assist households in oil producing communities in Nigeria to maximize the quality of their drinking water supplies and freeing them from the burdens of ill-health caused by human (sanitation, agriculture etc.) and industrial pollution. To effectively consolidate on the gains already made, filter artisans and micro-entrepreneurs affiliated with the project have developed a 2012 milestone that will facilitate the delivery of the target 78,000 filters by 2012 aimed at reaching unreached critical areas and achieve sustainability. In 2008 we developed the operational strategy of: “Project 78 for 78,000 filters in 2012”. This entailed the setting up of 78 local filter factories, in 78 different and well dispersed rural communities, each being headed by each of the trained 78 entrepreneurs. Each of these factories was to manufacture at least 1000 filters by the end of the set milestone end date. Under this arrangement, the 78 trained personnel were supported with already purchased tools and materials required to set up the filter factory and conveniently produce the filters in the remote rural communities. They received filter steel mold, tool box and other relevant materials in addition to other support from us, including quality standards checks that support them work over the long term. Today, with just less than 12 months to this target most of the artisans have aggressively realized an average of 50 – 60% of the target. Meeting the target balance is a challenge for the next 12 months and greatly depends on the immense generosity of our donors - kind hearted people like you.

Central in the promotion and adoption strategies is the optimization of relevant tools and approaches in community participation to engage the communities, promote household hygiene and achieve sustainability in filter use and efficiency. By doing this, we are not only achieving a sustainable cost structure but courageously capturing and managing the huge clean water needs of thousands of locals. Other key operational activities being developed for region-wide impact includes; the appointment of filter distributors in parts of the urban areas; capacity building initiatives; community participation strategies and the direct engagement and involvement of households, new partners and volunteers. The main source of financial support over this period has come from donations but possibly beyond 2012, this would come primarily from filter sales. This will be leveraged by a micro-credit scheme we are about setting up at the close of 2012. This is desired to assist our afar entrepreneurs enhance productivity in their various catchments communities. The Model is designed to safeguard the funds and revolve its reach into new areas as the project expands in the region.

Through this, these entrepreneurs  will work on targets that aims to generate reasonable incomes especially from filter sales and other related services which are vital in sustaining our ‘’burn rate’’ and aid the filter manufacturing business to flourish and achieve its optimum objective.  By so doing we hope to expand the impact of the project as well as tremendously energizing the local economy through job creation. Households give ultimate meaning to these efforts through their purchase and sustained use of the filters. The impact is enormous as it is helping thousands of households to access clean drinking water at minimal costs, and reducing cases of water borne pathogens.



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Organization Information

Rural Africa Water Development Project

Location: Owerri, Imo State, NIGERIA - Nigeria
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Joachim Ibeziako Ezeji Ezeji
Project Coordinator/CEO
OWERRI, Imo Nigeria

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