Eng. Ebele Ofunneamaka Okeke, CFR, the former Nigerian Head of the Civil Service, has joined forces with the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) to advocate for equity and dignity on behalf of the 2.6 billion people without a decent toilet to use and the nearly one billion without good quality drinking water close at hand.
As a new Ambassador in WSSCC’s Women Leaders for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) Initiative, Eng. Okeke will take a leading role in Nigeria, West Africa and the world as a spokesperson for what Liberian President Ellen John-Sirleaf Johnson last week called in a New York Times commentary “one of the greatest untold development challenges facing the international community”: the Sanitation crisis.
According to a recent report in The Lancet, diarrhoeal disease caused by poor sanitation is the biggest killer in Africa of children under five. Globally, it claims 5,000 lives per day. Conversely, the benefits of improved sanitation are huge: the World Health Organization has calculated that every $1 invested in sanitation brings a return of $9, mainly through time saved by not being sick.
“I have been committed to improving Sanitation and Hygiene practices in Nigeria, and through Africa, for many years now,” Eng. Okeke says. “As a WSSCC Ambassador, I have the chance to step up this work, and be a part of a world-wide group of people who share a similar vision. I believe that providing access to safe, affordable sanitation to all people is possible, and it is our responsibility to make it happen.” She joins the Honourable Maria Mutagamba, the Minster of Water in Uganda, in the growing ranks of the Women Leaders for WASH.
“Women Leaders for WASH are women who care about bringing an end to the growing global crisis in Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene, and who are particularly concerned with the disproportionate burden that this crisis places on women,” according to Jon Lane, Executive Director of WSSCC. “They act as the voice for broad constituencies, both as individual public figures, and as part of a dynamic group of women leaders. They have a shared goal of bringing about positive improvements in the lives of other women. We are honoured that Eng. Okeke has joined us.”
Women Leaders for WASH are not only concerned with the immediate impacts on women of inadequate WASH policy and services, but are also aware of the impacts that WASH have on other development issues. From economic and social development to health concerns and educational opportunities, safe water, basic sanitation and good hygiene practices are key to sustainable programmes that improve the quality of life for all people, regardless of gender.
Engr. Ebele Ofunneamaka Okeke who is a Commander of the Federal Republic of Nigeria(CFR) is a Fellow of the Nigeria Society of Engineers and was also previously the Permanent Secretary in Nigeria’s Ministry of Water Resources as well as the first female to lead the Nigerian Civil Service. She graduated from the University of Southampton, England, in 1971 with a 2nd Class B.Sc Honors in Civil Engineering, thereby becoming the first Nigerian woman to study civil engineering.
(The article below was originally published with support from WSSCC by the International Institute for Sustainable Development, here) Presented by Water Supply and Sanitation Collaboration Council (WSSCC), State of Qatar (Qatar Fund for Development), Global Citizen, and Education Cannot Wait, this side event focused on sanitation as a key determinant of health and education. Panelists shared examples […]
(The article below was originally published with support from WSSCC by the International Institute for Sustainable Development, here) This side event convened to launch and discuss the findings of a global review on the effectiveness of national accountability mechanisms on progress towards the water and sanitation targets of SDG 6. The report is available online […]
On July 11, 2018 Simavi and WSSCC hosted a panel discussion during the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, about “Putting Menstrual Health on the 2030 Agenda.” This event was the 5th of a live webinar series related to menstrual health management and was attended by over 100 in person and online participants. The event […]
Mr. Ali Abdulla Al Dabbagh, Deputy Director General for Planning at the Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD), and Mr. Rolf Luyendijk, Executive Director of the UN-hosted Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), will speak to policy- and decision-makers in New York on Thursday, 12 July 2018, about the high returns that sanitation and hygiene […]