Water provision to communities fundemental human rights...UNICEF
By Mohammad Ibrahim
United Nations Children's Fund ( UNICEF) Kaduna Field Office, Chief Utpal Moitra described water provision to communities as fundemental human right which every government must endeavour to give to its citizens.
According to him, water is life and so should be made available to every community be it in rural or urban areas.The UNICEF chief who disclosed this in a media chat on the impact of Sanitation, Hygiene and Water in Nigeria ( SHAWN II) project in Kaduna State said the provision of water which is a basic right is not available in some communities.
SHAWN project is a Water Supply scheme jointly founded by UK government, UNICEF and Kaduna State government in 11 Local Government Areas of Kaduna State to provide access to portable water and improved hygiene and sanitation.
Utpal tasked the state government to ensure that this basic right is provided to citizens, saying SHAWN project is to show the government that providing such rights to people is possible.
"Provision of water is a fundemental right of every human and that basic right is being challenged .It's not easily available. This is what SHAWN project is trying to provide but I think we need to be careful because at the end of the day it is the state that need to ensure that this basic rights are provided to citizens.
"SHAWN provides the way and example to share with government, work with government to say that this is possible. I think we need to understand SHAWN project from that line.
"That SHAWN is an example by which some of these basic rights are fulfilled and delivered and we just need to have patience with the government so that LGAs ad communities within the state have these basic rights. So in one hand SHAWN is a project with targets but we need to understand why SHAWN came into being from this angle.
"One is to make government understand that these basic rights are made available to citizens. I think SHAWN gives us confidence that it's possible it's now left to us to find how to do it or how any state government should do it. Ofcourse, there will be challenges on how some of the constructed boreholes are not functioning properly, soil not given clean portable water.
"But if communities are aware that every household or individual should have a core sense of hygiene and sanitation by not defecating openly, they should also understand why it's important to wash hands, why it's important to drink water from right source and the government needs to provide such facilities to them.
" There should be investment because this investment are fulfilling the basic human rights and SHAWN show that it's possible. This is why we are proud of SHAWN and what the project achieved. But it's a good signed of what we can still achieve within this few years.
"Government has so many policies in water and sanitation and this year the state government invest heavily in water and sanitation for example this year they have invested closed to 600 million, last year they invested closed to 200 million which means within two years they invested closed to a 1 billion naira.
"So I'm very optimistic about the direction we are going and I think I will be more happy if we don't do SHAWN but do SHAWN kind of things. I think what we need to understand is that we need these kind of investment. we should know also that it's only 50 percent investment the remaining 50 percent comes from the project. So, it would have been two billion naira if Kaduna has to do it alone.
"We will also like to say that awareness and enlightenment is very important in communities for them to understand the important of the project. DFID is an important donor they will want us to meet our target and we also want to meet the target. What we want to achieve is for the state to take up the responsibility of delivering those various basic human rights," he said.