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USAID awards $841,217 to CSOs for WASH interventions

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Lagos Urban Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (LUWASH) Activity have awarded $841,217 grant to support seven organisations to improve hygiene services in Lagos State.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the grant approved by USAID will be implemented through the Capacity Building, Research, and Advocacy Fund.

It is to strengthen the sustainability and help Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in delivering safe water, sanitation, and hygiene services in Lagos State.

The recipient organisations include the Clean Borehole Water Sellers Association of Lagos, Youth Empowerment Foundation, Optimal Greening Foundation, Lagos Civil Society Participation for Development (LACSOP).

Others are Development Communications Network, Initiative for Disaster Risk Reduction and Urban Resilience, and Organisation for Peaceful Society in Africa.

Some of the grantees spoke to NAN at the sidelines of an orientation workshop organised by USAID LUWASH in Lagos.

The three-day workshop was to strengthen the technical and managerial capabilities of the grantee organisations and ensure they utilise the grants for successful outcomes of their interventions.

Mrs Anthonia Bakare, Project Lead, Lagos State Civil Society Partnership for Development, said their project was aimed at tackling inefficiencies in the water sector, especially the Lagos State Water Corporation (LWC).

According to her, many are not aware that the LWC for Lagos residents.

“Even in areas where the corporation is supposed to provide water, they are not available.

“So, our intervention is aimed at checking what is happening in terms of government investment into the sector.

“We are going to start by carrying out studies to find out the budget that the government has been investing for the past few years and what policies are available guiding water resource management in the state.

“To ensure sustainability, we are going to be engaging community members, civil society groups and community based organisations,” Bakare said.

She added that the project expected to run for 16 months with 10 target communities namely Agege, Abesan, Baruwa, Ikoyi, Obalende, Saka Tinubu, Lekki, Badore and Iju.

Mrs Bimbo Eluwole, the General Secretary, Clean Borehole Water Sellers Association of Lagos State, said the project would span a period of 18 months with activities such as mapping, needs assessment, training, and surveys on boreholes in Lagos State.

Eluwole said the project is targeted at ensuring people have access to clean and safe borehole water by bringing the sellers under regulations.

“We want to regulate every borehole water seller and charity provider such as churches and mosques and train them on how to install filters, test their water and meet up with regulatory standards.

“Our intervention will also include providing youth empowerment by training them to take up selling water as a business.

“We are collaborating with the Lagos State Water Regulatory Commission, the Lagos Water Corporation and Ministry of Environment and Water Resources,” she said.

She said the intervention would also create an avenue to sensitise the communities on cholera prevention and control.

“Some people dig their borehole close to their septic tank and even release faecal to the gutters which are close to the borehole.

“This means we are guilty and we have a lot of work to do,” she said.

Mr Akin Jimoh, Programme Director, Development Communications Network, said the intervention would focus on building the capacity of community-based organisations in governance, resource mobilisation and sustainability in providing quality WASH services.

“The provision of clean water is important. Governments private organisations and individuals need to be able provide services according to the rules and standards.

“Our grant contract is for 18 months and we intend to work in three local government areas, six community development associations and 30 community-based organisations,” he said.

Earlier in his presentation, the Deputy Chief of Party LUWASH, Mr John Soni, said the grant would  be managed in compliance with USAID and U.S. Government regulations governing Grants Under Contracts, as well as LUWASH’s internal grant management policies.

According to him, the organisations will implement interventions aimed at improving Menstrual Hygiene Management practices, establishing the Citizens-led Accountability and Inclusion Mechanism for WASH service delivery.

“One of the grants will facilitate effective fecal sludge management and restore water supply and sanitation facilities in the Okobaba community in Ebute Metta East, Lagos Mainland Local Government, among other initiatives,” he said.

He urged the grantees to prioritise the USAID LUWASH principles in implementing their interventions.

“The LUWASH project principles include gender, equity and social inclusion, monitoring and evaluation, financial management, youth engagement, private sector engagement, collaboration, and do no harm principles,” he said. (NAN

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