… Sees Fine as Measure to Support UNICEF Implementation
By Victor IHIDERO, Zaria
A community leader in Unguwan Damaru of Soba Local Government Area of Kaduna State, has said that a fine of N200 is being imposed on members of the community caught in the act of open defecation.
The community leader explained that his community is succeeding in its effort to enforce the levy in order to make their environment 100% clean and Open Defecation Free (ODF); and to show their support for the implementation of the Sanitation Hygiene and Water in Nigeria, (SHAWN II), project.
Adda’u Ibrahim, Chairman of the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Committee (WASHCOM) in Unguwan Damaru said, immediately after being trained by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), on hygienic environment for healthy living, and the need for them to make their community open defecation free, leaders of the community swung into action.
According to him, “we set some rules and regulations that was meant to sanction offenders, one of such rules was that anybody caught defecating in the community will pay a fine of N200 after packing it and washing himself thoroughly.
“And there are so many others too. So far, this rule has helped us tremendously. The fear of paying that amount of money and the shame that will follow has made every member of the community to begin to respect themselves.
“Before UNICEF came to our rescue, there was no day you wake up without seeing it everywhere. We use to think that it was only normal without knowing it has effect on our health. Thank God who brought UNICEF to teach us the danger of living in such environment.
“The other day they told us that because of how we have been supporting the project by making sure no one is allowed the defecate openly and in anywhere, that our community has been declared Open Defecation Free.
“Apart from teaching us to clean our environment and washing our hands, they also provided us with Hand pump that is giving us clean drinking water. And that has really helped us here, you hardly see any case of cholera and diarrhea and our children are living very healthy.”
The Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), project being funded by the UKAID through its Department for International Development (DFID) Office, is currently being implemented by UNICEF and the Kaduna State Government, through its State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA).
The WASH project was aimed at providing access to sanitation, hygiene and improved water supply for everyone in the beneficiary communities. Twelve Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Chikun, kachia, Kubau, Kajuru, Kudan, Jaba, Jema’a, Giwa, Lere, Soba, Zangaon Kataf and Igabi are currently enjoying the programme in the state, with access to safely managed drinking water sources, and about 258,412 people living in Open Defecation Free (ODF) Certified communities.
On the maintenance of the faicilities, Ibrahim, stated tha “as committee saddled with the responsibility of maintaining the SHAWN facilities, we ensure that we clean our environment every three days, and now with 24 hours clean water supply, life has never been this good.