October 19, 2012

Nigeria – WASH Seeks to Keep More Children in School


USAID/WOFAN’s Access to Water, Hygiene and Sanitation (WASH) project is in its second phase in Bauchi State, North East Nigeria and the project is striving to keep more children in school 

by bringing sources of clean water closer home thereby eliminating long treks in search of water.

Generally, children are saddled with the task of gathering water for domestic and other household uses. In particular however, girls get to carry out this domestic chore more than boys. So, if a community’s water source is far, girls are forced to abandon school so that they can trek the long distances required in search of water. For girls in most rural communities, school takes second place only after important tasks such as fetching water for household use.

But the WASH project is changing this as water points are being provided in schools and clinics so as to improve access to safe drinking water. With water points now closer home, the task of gathering water for domestic use has become so simple that girls, and indeed all children, can carry out this chore and return home in time for school.

In addition to cutting the time spent in gathering water, the WASH project also makes safe drinking water available so that water-borne diseases are drastically reduced even if they are not completely wiped out. And, since children are the most susceptible to diseases, they automatically become the highest beneficiaries of improved access to safe drinking water. This means that fewer children are kept out of school by water-borne diseases.

By bringing water points closer home and improving access to safe drinking water therefore, girls have better opportunities to attend school and water-borne diseases are reduced thereby ensuring that more children remain healthy enough to go to school.

Far from home… girls go in search of water on Donkey back in Alkaleri LGA of Bauchi State even as their age mates walk to school behind them.

Happy days are here! Children celebrate the arrival of safe drinking water in their school during a pump test in another community in Bauchi State.