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UNICEF pledges sustained support for Nigeria to end open defecation

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The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has pledged its continuous support to the Nigerian government in ensuring all communities are Open Defecation Free (ODF) by 2025.

Mr Bioye Ogunjobi, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Specialist, UNICEF gave the assurance at a media dialogue on Sanitation “Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet” campaign on Wednesday in Kano.

The meeting organised by UNICEF in collaboration with the Child Rights Information Bureau of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture (CRIB) was supported by the European Union and UK Department for International Development (UKaid).

Ogunjobi identified some priority of the organisation as eliminating open defecation by 2025, bringing Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) to disadvantaged communities in rural areas.

He further noted other priorities of the organisation to include improve access to safe water and sanitation in schools and health facilities as well as hygiene promotion and awareness creation.

He noted that through the efforts of UNICEF no fewer than 1.7 million Nigerians have gained access to improved water facilities while 2.2 million people have access to improved toilets.

The WASH specialist further noted that no fewer than 1,227 schools and 599 primary health care centres have been equipped with WASH services.

“3,908 communities were supported to become certified ODF through community approaches and 2.4 million people have benefitted from UNICEF’s hygiene promotion improvement distribution of hygiene supplies,” he said.

He noted that presently, the organisation was providing WASH services in rural communities, schools and health care facilities.

The organisation according to Ogunjobi is also supporting the open defecation campaign plan led by the government.

“UNICEF is supporting sanitation demand creation through community approaches, sanitation marketing and financing and hygiene promotion strategies.

“It is also strengthening the WASH sector policy and institutional environment at the national and sub-national levels for better WASH governance and service delivery,” he said.

Edited by Ekemini Ladejobi

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