BENUE STATE CELEBRATES ITS FIRST OPEN DEFECATION FREE LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA
The People of Logo local Government Area of Benue State are celebrating the feat of becoming an Open Defecation Free (ODF) Local Government Area. This achievement is worthy of note because it is the first in Benue State and the entire North-Central Nigeria and the third under the Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion in Nigeria (RUSHPIN) programme to attain this status, following Obanliku and Bekwarra in Cross River State.
On the 31st January 2019, the Federal Ministry of Water Resources (FMWR) and Benue State Government, through the Benue State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (BERWASSA) declared Logo LGA an Open Defecation free LGA. This followed the successful completion of a rigorous process of three-stage verification, certification and a final validation by the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and the National Task Group on Sanitation (NTGS).
Representatives of the people of Logo- Chiefs, WASHCOM members and Local Government authorities have thus rolled out the drums and will gather on Tuesday, 3rd of September, 2019 at LEGA Primary School Ugba, Logo LGA to dance to the tune of their success.
At a press conference in his office, the commissioner for water resources and environment, Engineer Dondo Ahile expressed the joy of the people of Benue State in attaining the feat. He appreciated all donor agencies and partners for their unrelenting efforts towards attaining the prestigious status and sued for more from all partners in breaking more grounds.
He expressed hope that the Executive Governor of Benue State, His Excellency, Samuel Ortom will be in attendance to celebrate with the people of Logo along side Other representatives from the State Government, relevant Ministries, Departments and agencies.
Delegates from the Federal Government are expected to join in this celebration. Among them are – the National Task Group on Sanitation, the WASH Ambassador – Engr Ebele Okeke, and the National Coordinator WSSCC, Mrs Elizabeth Jeiyol.
Logo LGA is the Seventh (7) in Nigeria to be celebrated ODF by the Federal Ministry of Water Resources. With this LGA wide achievement of ODF, the LGA’s estimated 200,000 people now live in clean, healthy environments, and all households and key public spaces have constructed for themselves latrines and sanitation facilities. They have put an end to open defection through a collective behaviour change process. The impact of this change process is most felt by children under 5 years old – the main victims of diseases resulting from poor sanitation and hygiene practices.
The Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion in Nigeria (RUSHPIN) programme is a ground-breaking 7-year, $5 million, programme that is transforming the health of over 2,000 communities in Benue and Cross River States across nine LGAs in Benue State and Cross River States. The programme uses the ‘Community-Led Total Sanitation’ approach, empowering entire communities to collectively change their sanitation and hygiene behaviour, ensuring that every community member uses a toilet and practices good hygiene.
RUSHPIN programme is an initiative of the Government of Nigeria, implemented with funding from the Global Sanitation Fund (GSF)/Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC). United Purpose (UP), an International NGO headquartered in the UK, is the Executing Agency of the RUSHPIN programme.
The sanitation model of the RUSHPIN Programme is specifically designed for replication and expanding to scale into three additional local government areas. This commitment is embedded in the MoU signed between the Benue State Government, the Federal Government and the donor (UNOPS/WSSCC) in 2014.
The Government of Benue State has honoured their commitment to the RUSHPIN programme, through the release of an initial 50 Million Naira out of the expected 400 Million Naira.
The released funds are presently being used to scale-up this sanitation and hygiene programme in Ado, Gboko and Gwer West LGAs. With the expectation of the release of further funds and the appointment of the new General Manager for BERWASSA it is hoped that, more ODF LGAs in Benue State will also be celebrated in the near future.
Congratulations to the People of Logo LGA and to the people of Benue State.
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