Oyo state is about to experience a new level of environmental hygiene as an international/non governmental organisation is out to assist. BAYO AGBOOLA reports.
An unnoticed but important revolution is going on in Oyo state towards improving standard of living for all and sundry in and across the state.
It is the WaterAid Nigeria which is among other things about supporting the state government to refurbish installed hand- washing facilities across the state with funding support from Heineken Africa Foundation under the Scale-Up Hygiene phase III project.
The revolution is mainly about inculcating in the people of the state a vital aspect in ensuring adequate hygiene in the residents in and across the nooks and crannies of the state through regular and adequate practice of hand washing to rid our environment of diseases.
In ensuring this, the state government in conjunction with Heineken African Foundation (HAF) and WaterAid Nigeria launched Phase lll of the scale-up hygiene project in Ibadan.
The move lauded
The chairman, Oyo State Rural Water and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA), Najeem Omirinde while speaking after the official launch of the project lauded HAF and Wateraid Nigeria for their support and commitment to good health in the country, especially Oyo.
He said HAF has been assisting the state government through their Corporate Social Responsibilty (CSR) in ensuring that people keep to hygienic living.
According to Omirinde, the state is lucky to be among beneficiaries of the programme out of the 36 states of thefederation.
“Oyo is among six states selected for this project; they went for second face, we were still lucky because we have a governor that is up and doing. This third phase of the project is to ensure sustainability of the phase l and phase ll. If there is anything we have not completed, we want to complete it, if we have completed it we want to sustain it.
“I’m saying this here now that the only drug we have for COVID-19 pandemic is simple hygiene, which is washing your hands. At the time of crisis, they gave us the moveable hand washing machines, which were sent to every schools. They also gave us permanent ones which we distributed to our various palaces across the state like Olubadan’s palace, Alaafin’s palace in Oyo, Soun of Ogbomoso’s palace and we sent it to Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State (BCOS) and other notable broadcasting houses as well as other public places. So, we are very grateful to them for supporting us with all these machines most especially at a time that our people needed them most. They came at the right time of need and that is the first phase of the project and which is really laudable.
“At the second phase, they gave us all the policies that we need before we can have international donor on issue of Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).There was a time the Federal Ministry of Water Resources sent a letter to us that they will give us a sanitation grant and in the requirement we need ODF which we just launched recently. We need WASH policy which WaterAid supported us on this, but we are still on it, so this phase lll of scale up hygiene is like completing what we have in phase ll and at the same time sustain what we have in phase l, so we are having benefits as far as Oyo state is concerned.
“We have the support of UNICEF; UNICEF left Oyo state seven years ago, but when this Seyi Makinde- led administration came on board and they saw that we are very transparent and accountable, and they saw in us that we are people’s government, they now came and supported in two local governments, which are Ona Ara and Egbeda. They did this on baseline data; they realised we have to renovate some boreholes in these selected areas and now we have 10 hand pump boreholes renovated and 12 renovated solar powered boreholes. The project is ongoing and I can assure you in the next two weeks, everything would be completed. But I urge all the residents to manage those facilities well, because all those facilities are their own. They should protect it and maintain it for their own good.”
Rep of NBL speaks
The corporate affairs manager
(West), Nigerian Breweries, Mr Danjuma John Ekele said, “This is the third part of the hand wash in our foundation, which is the Heineken Africa Foundation and we have been doing this exercise since the height of the COVID-19. Phase l and phase ll and today we’ve just launched the phase lll to compliment what we have started in the last two years.
Mr Ekele stressed that, “We have done over 270 placement of hand wash point in the state and we have touched all the 33 local government areas of the state with this hand wash. Beyond those numbers, we have been able to affect hundreds of indigenes; I’m talking of families involving the children, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic that really affected the economy of the state. When other states were on the lock down, Oyo was doing well; everybody was going about their lawful businesses because they adopted the use of hygiene.
“We did not achieve this alone, but by networking with other government agencies and partners who helped to sensitise the citizens on the need for them to be hygienic. So, we have a high level of awareness when it comes to the basic and the core of hand washing. Washing our hands was key in combating the COVID-19 virus. For us in Nigeria, we’ve been here for decades. The next year will be 40 years of operations in Ibadan. Being here as citizens of the state, HAF has been supporting in health and water provision across various part of the country. When I was in the north, we did the same by assisting in areas of provision of health facilities through our foundation, but here as Nigerian Breweries, there are lots of things we do under our Corporate Social Responsibility.”
WaterAid rep speaks
The project manager for WaterAid, Mrs Idowu Adebayo, said in response to outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 that WaterAid received funding to commence implementation of a large-scale hygiene behaviour change project in six states, namely Bauchi, Benue, Ekiti, Enugu, Kaduna and
Oyo under the first phase of the Scale-up hygiene project and the second phase in Bauchi, Enugu and Oyo.
According to Mrs Adebayo, with the support of other partners and stakeholders, WaterAid has achieved key milestones that realized the project’s objectives and that the project in both phases empowered 26 million people with context-specific hygiene behaviour change promotion packages of tools and insights that were designed to help them protect
themselves from COVID -19.
“We have installed 270 non-contact and inclusive hand washing facilities in health centres, schools and public places. Hygiene packs were distributed to marginalised communities to help curb the spread of the disease. Oyo state government has complemented the project’s efforts by tying up a WASH unit in all the local government areas of the state. We commend this remarkable step of the state government in prioritising water, sanitation and hygeine. We are delighted to continue this journey and partnership as we embark on the third phase of the project in Oyo state to curb the spread of Covid-19 and other infectious diseases that continue to pose a huge threat to the public and economy, exacerbating poverty, poor quality healthcare service and deepening already existing inequalities.”
The country lead for La Vie Mot Global Mission aka Living Word Mission (LIWOM), Marcus Williams while speaking said, ”I am optimistic that this project would be consolidated under this HAF III implementing year. Gains from HAF I & II would be leveraged on for sustainability and the entire citizens of Oyo State would enjoy it.”