Thursday, 22 September 2016

UNICEF Celebrates Open Defecation Free status in Anambra

Okechukwu Onuegbu

The United Nations International Childrens Education Fund(NUICEF) has assured of their continued assistance to Anambra State government to realize its health developmental programs, especially in the effort to achieve the Open Defecation Free status (ODF) in 2025.

Speaking on the occasion of Open Defecation Free celebration in Aguata Local Government Area, organised by Anambra State Government in collaboration with European Union/UNICE, yesterday, the  UNICEF WASH Specialist, Mr. Anom Saaondo declared Governor Willie Obiano as a friend of all donors, having heard the work he is doing in Anambra.

Saaondon commended Governor Obiano for his developmental efforts and cooperation with donor agencies, saying only Anambra has paid the N24 million counterpart fund among all other states assisted by EU/UNICEF.

He also commended the people of Aguata Council for celebrating the 51 communities declared Open Defecation Free, just as he urged Obiano to ensure other communities were free by 2017.

In his welcome address, the Executive Chairman/Head of Local Government Administration, Aguata Council, Jideani Robbert, disclosed that the exercise for certification and validation of ODF started in 2012/2013 under Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Reform Programme (WSSSRP), when in 2014/2015 Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) was implemented in 224 WASH communities.

He said that these communities were monitored, mentored and followed up by WASH Unit for compliance, and 81 claimed ODF while 51 were certified and are being celebrated today.

Jideani explained that the monitoring is in batches, and urged the remaining communities to sustain their ODF claims by constant follow up, expecting that Aguata Council would achieve a sustainability of sanitation – ODF status.

He added that 10 WASH communities were certified in 2013 while about 120 communities are claiming ODF, perching verification exercise which is still ongoing.

Mr Luke Okafor from Ezike community, said many people have been saved from contacting diseases and lots of lives saved since the sinking of bore-holes in Aguata council area, adding that people now have access to clean drinking water as well as water in their toilets.

The community leader said, “We have been encouraging many homes to build their toilets and stop defecating in the bushes, farmlands, gutters etc.”, adding that the efforts of EU/UNICEF is yielding fruits in Aguata.    

Earlier in her speech, wife of the Governor, Mrs. Ebelechukwu Obiano commended Aguata Council Area for being the first to be declared ODF in the state and urged them to sustain the tempo.

While encouraging the community to aim for more accolades, Mrs Obiano noted, “After these toilets, we need to go higher until the whole 224 communities are covered.

“We have built three toilets in markets at Nteje, Mbaukwu and Dunukofia. We will ensure that all markets have toilets with boreholes to make water available.

“This will also ensure that drinking water is available and safe to all”, she said, hoping that Aguata would achieve the ODF status by 2017, as well as encourage a healthy environment for investment in Anambra.

Highlight of the occasion was the presentation of certificates to ODF communities, as well as demonstration of hand washing initiative (tippy tap) by Mrs. Obiano, Saaondo, the EU representative, Kabiru Abbbas and Jideani among others.



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