The Global Sanitation Fund programme in Nigeria

Date: 15th May 2015

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Executing Agency:
United Purpose
Programme duration:
Programme Coordinating Mechanism:
Chaired by the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Department of Water Quality Control and Sanitation

The GSF-supported Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion in Nigeria (RUSHPIN) programme covers six Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Cross River and Benue states. An additional six LGAs in these states are targeted through counterpart funding from the Government of Nigeria. Through joint implementation by state and LGA WASH bodies, as well as civil society organizations, RUSHPIN is intended to be a catalyst for achieving sustainable sanitation for all in targeted states.

2016 Highlights

In 2016, Obanliku was verified as the first of the 774 LGAs in Nigeria to achieve ODF status (read more). This landmark achievement in the RUSHPIN-supported LGA was the result of community-led efforts to change behaviours and address sanitation challenges. ODF status was verified through a rigorous process led by the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and National Task Group on Sanitation.

Overall, the triggered-to-ODF community ratio steadily increased throughout the year. By December, the programme reported a cumulative total of over 424,000 people living in ODF environments, an 80 percent increase from December 2015. Having ended open defecation in many households, communities, and an entire LGA, the emphasis is shifting to sustaining behaviour change and moving communities up the sanitation ladder. To this end, 2016 saw the piloting of Sanitation Clinics, which are community platforms for exploring improved sanitation technologies and options. Once community members see how easy it is to move to improve latrines, local artisans can be called upon by households to construct these facilities, providing income-generating and entrepreneurial opportunities.

In addition, the programme continued to build partnerships and secure additional funding to leverage and sustain its impact. This included the rollout of its sister programme in Cross River State, funded by the UK Department for International Development. The Community-Led Health Improvement through Sanitation & Hygiene Promotion in Nigeria programme is also managed by United Purpose, replicates the RUSHPIN model, and benefits from mutual learning with RUSHPIN.


In 2014, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Government of Nigeria, the Cross River and Benue State Governments and WSSCC to match the GSF’s funds and scale up RUSHPIN. This funding has not yet been released, delaying implementation in six additional LGAs. RUSHPIN will continue to help strengthen inter-ministerial coordination and drive state-level advocacy, to mobilize the release of funds. In addition, intercommunal conflict in parts of Benue State has compromised ODF achievements and put CLTS activities on hold. RUSHPIN continues to liaise with the State Government to monitor the security situation. To address data management capacity gaps among Natural Leaders, hands-on mentoring has been provided. Finally, the programme had to re-sensitize some Environmental Health Officers working as CLTS facilitators in the CLTS approach, after it was found that they had reverted to their previous methods of fining non-compliant households.

Learning and innovation

RUSHPIN has proven itself to be a leader in Nigeria’s WASH sector, driving learning and innovation. In 2016, the programme played a major role in Nigeria’s National Round Table Conference on Community-Led Total Sanitation, supporting coordination and sharing key lessons and best practices at the event.

Two key innovations were introduced and tailored to the programme, as a result of a learning exchange with the GSF-supported Uganda programme: Follow-up MANDONA and Institutional Triggering. Both have led to significant improvements. For example, during CLTS pre-triggering, the programme found that Institutional Triggering among ward leaders was more effective than only facilitating informational meetings for these leaders.

During the year, 1,657 teachers and school administrators were trained to establish Education Hygiene Clubs in schools, which focus on improving hygiene for children and empowering them as change agents. In addition, Natural Leaders have become a cornerstone of RUSHPIN, as they have proven crucial to supporting communities to achieve and sustain ODF status. Moreover, those that have led their communities to ODF status have been empowered to create groups of Natural Leaders that trigger and support other communities to achieve ODF. This approach has contributed to scaling up the programme.

Looking ahead

RUSHPIN and its partners have begun developing a reorientation strategy for the programme, to gradually transition to an expansion phase over the next four years. This will include a focus on securing the release of counterpart funds, supporting counterpart-funded LGAs, and sustaining achievements.

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