In Bekwarra, a Local Government Area (LGA) in Nigeria, 131,000 people now live in clean and healthy environments, and all households and key public spaces have 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.
Bekwarra is the 4th LGA to attain Open Defecation Free status under the Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion in Nigeria (RUSHPIN) programme, from 774 LGAs in the country. The 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.
RUSHPIN is a ground-breaking 7-year, $5 million, programme that is transforming the health of over 1,200 communities in the country. The programme’s approach is based in empowering entire communities to collectively change their sanitation and hygiene behaviour, ensuring that every community member uses a toilet and practices good hygiene.
On the 23rd of April 2018, the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Cross-River State Government, through the Cross-River State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWATSSA) declared Bekwarra LGA an Open Defecation Free LGA. This followed the successful completion of a rigorous process, including three-stage verification, certification and a final validation by the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and the National Task Group on Sanitation (NTGS).
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