By: ALEX UANGBAOJE, Kaduna
A 12-year old, Idris Lawal has observed that if not for the motorised borehole in his community built by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Kaduna State Government, through it’s State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA), a Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) project, funded by the UKAID through it’s Department for International Development (DFID) office, he would have probably been down completely with waist and back pains.
UNICEF, as part of it’s 2017 WASH projects implementation, built a 15,000 litres Solar Powered Motorised Borehole in Lawal’s community, as part of Sanitation, Water and Hygiene in Nigeria (SHAWN II), project implementation. The project was aimed at providing access to sanitation, hygiene and improved water supply for everyone in the benefiting 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.
Lawal, a JSS 1 student of Government Secondary School Saminaka, who lives in Ungwan Rimi community of Sabon-Birni Ward in Lere Local Government Area of Kaduna State, said prior to the completion of the water project, he used to have serious waist and back pains resulting from bending down everyday as he fetches water from the local well in his community.
According to him, “this borehole saved me from serious waist pain that started when I was in primary school because of the way I was fetching water from the well. At that time, every morning I have to go to the well to draw out water to fill our drums before going to school.
“Sometimes, it takes more than one hour to fill a 75 litres drum and I have to be late to school, the process of pulling out the rope hurts my waist and back. It got to a point I was finding it difficult to straighten my waist, yet my parents will still send me to fetch from the well, since it was the only source of water in our community.
“When I saw people working here and I was told that it was a borehole that will henceforth provide us with water, I knew my problems were over. And ever since I started fetching water from this borehole, the waist and back pains gradually left me.
“Today, I get those drums filled in less than 20 minutes without any pains. I thank whoever was responsible for providing for my community and I pray that God will replenish and bless them.”
10 years old Yasir Ya’u, a Primary 4 pupil in the same community, who also shared his experience, said, “I normally get tired after fetching three times from the Well. But now I fetch for as many times as possible as I can without any stress.”
One of the elders in the community, Abubakar Saleh, said apart from constructing the borehole, UNICEF, have also helped them to improve their attitude towards their personal hygiene, as their community now have a new look in terms of cleanliness.
“The issue of hygiene was discussion for those in the city in the past, but today we even take it more seriously than those in the cities. We discovered because of the kind of environment where we live, that is surrounded with bushes on every sides, we need cleanliness more than even those in the cities.
“This is one of the benefit of what UNICEF has done for us, our community is about 80 percent cleaner now, unlike before and we now have toilets in almost all our houses and the issue of Open Defecation has become an alien in our community.
“We do our own environmental sanitation every Saturday and any family that refused to come out, we ensure they pay fine, also any one caught defecating openly is compelled to pay some amount of money, if he is an adult why children are disciplined in other ways.” Abubakar explained.