The United States Government has launched a new water and sanitation project in Nigeria to improve the health and hygiene of vulnerable citizens in the country.
The project was launched at the State House through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Two states, Kaduna and Bauchi are expected to benefit from the scheme.
A statement issued by the United States Embassy in Nigeria said, “Under the two-year, $2.5 million Water and Sanitation Coordination Project (WCP), USAID will work with Bauchi and Kaduna states. Both states have recently received substantial investments for water and sanitation infrastructure from the World Bank and African Development Bank.”
“The WCP will provide governance support for these new infrastructure facilities and also generate data critical to develop enhanced Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programming and build a community of practice for WASH professionals throughout Nigeria.”
“USAID is working with the Kaduna and Bauchi state water boards to maintain a path toward financial and commercial viability.”
The statement said, “By strengthening their capacity to make solid investment decisions, improving billing and collections, and being responsive to the concerns of their customers, more people and businesses will ultimately have access to water and sanitation services.”
“Infrastructure investments are essential, but not sufficient to extend water and sanitation services to even more residents,” USAID/Nigeria Mission Director Stephen M. Haykin said at the launch. “This is where [our] new project lends support.”
According to the UN, about 57 million people lack access to safe drinking water in Nigeria.
Each year, waterborne illnesses kill around 1 million Nigerian children under the age of five.
The new activity builds upon the USAID Sustainable Water and Sanitation in Africa activity in Bauchi, Ebonyi, and Rivers states.
“Improving WASH services is a component of a broader Memorandum of Understanding in support of economic growth between USAID and the Kaduna state government signed in April,”the US Government said.
Speaking on behalf of the two benefiting states, the Governor of Bauchi State, Barrister Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar, pledged the commitment and political will of the people and states of Kaduna and Bauchi in ensuring the success of the project. “There is no gainsaying the fact that support from USAID is very essential in building the capacity and good governance of key institutions of Bauchi and Kaduna states,” he said.