By Jonathan Ugbal: Government House Correspondent
The Cross River State Government has pledged to set aside three million dollars annually to fund the water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH) campaign for the next five years.
This means the State will spend USD15 million for the campaign which aims to see the State emerge the first open defecation free (ODF) State in West Africa.
The Governor, Senator Ben Ayade stated this while delivering a message on Sunday at the 2018 edition of the Global Citizen Festival in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Global Citizen is a movement of engaged citizens from around the world who are using their collective voice to end extreme poverty by 2030. The platform teaches members about the systemic causes of extreme poverty, take action on those issues, and earn rewards for their actions as part of a global community committed to lasting change.
Anti apartheid revolutionary, Nelson Mandela took center stage this year at the festival with the tag; 2018 Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100
And, represented by the Director General of the Cross River State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Betta Edu, Ayade said the road to providing clean water for Africans, requires locally developed solutions.
“Achieving clean water and sanitation requires African solutions. And so, it is my great pleasure to announce today that I am committing three million dollars every year for the next five years, for a total of fifteen million dollars for hygiene, water and sanitation in Cross River State,” he said, adding that: “I also commit to delivering the first Open defecation free state in West Africa.”
Also, Dr. Edu called on Governors in Nigeria and the world in general to pay more attention to WaSH issues in a bid to achieve set goals.
While introducing Dr. Edu, South African comedian, Trevor Noah said called on all to join global citizens and press for action on WaSH.
According to Noah, “one in three people live without basic sanitation and toilets leading to preventable diseases and sometimes even death.”
He said the situation in sub saharan Africa is “getting worse,” as it affects even menstruation in girls and women.
He called on “corporations to step up and take action to ensure that the struggle for clean water and sanitation can be won.”
To global citizens, he said that: “We need your help too. We need you to take action right now, go to globalcitizens.org and demand clean water and sanitation for all.”
Obanliku local government area of northern Cross River State had emerged as the first ODF local government in Nigeria.
Yakurr local government area in central Cross River is said to be ODF too while Bekwarra may be issued an ODF status soon.
These, CrossRiverWatch gathered was part of the pilot program implemented by United Purpose with Cross River said to be delaying the activation of about USD5 million in counterpart funding.
Also, UNICEF had recently began the WaSH media network with the aim of using IT solutions and the media to press for action from relevant authorities to implement WaSH tailored programs.
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