Sanitation professionals learn use of powerful monitoring tools in Nigeria

Sanitation professionals in Nigeria give the nod to the use of powerful monitoring tools as they acquire critical knowledge on the methodologies available in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector. 
Olajide Adelana
Journalists attending training in Cross River state

48 members of the Society for Water and Sanitation, or NEWSAN, participated in a two-day intensive training programme in Cross River state, August 13 to 14  and from 19 to 20 in Benue State provided by United Purpose, the executing agency of WSSCC’s Global Sanitation Fund.

NEWSAN is coordinating more than 300 civil society groups, non-governmental organizations and community-based bodies from across Nigeria working in the WASH sector. The training programme took place in two sessions, one in Cross River State and the other in Benue State.

“It is important to monitor the progress made in the sector for a cleaner and healthier environment. Stakeholders in the sector must begin to deploy innovative ways of engaging government and other stakeholders,” one of the trainers, Mr Nanpet Chuktu, Programme Manager for United Purpose.

The training began with an assessment of participants’ knowledge of the methodologies available to monitor and evaluate in the WASH sector.

NEWSAN members listen attentively to a facilitator


One of the most important tools is the PEWASH (Partnership for Expanded Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene) Programme. Mr Eyo Offiong and Mr Gwaza Joshua, representing the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency of Cross River and Benue, respectively, presented the PEWASH protocol.

The PEWASH programme seeks to galvanize the efforts of all stakeholders – government, development partners, the private sector and civil society organizations – to create and implement sustainable action in WASH.

To date, 35 states in Nigeria have adopted the protocol. Mr Offiong and Gwaza highlighted the importance of PEWASH to improve public health and eradicate poverty in Nigeria.

Participants were also encouraged to develop their advocacy efforts and learn how to engage with a variety of stakeholders.

Illustration of training content


Dr Bassey Ibor, the Executive Director of the Centre for Community Empowerment and Peace Initiative and the lead trainer for this event, said, “Developing an advocacy plan involves a lot of critical thinking. [You must] identify the issue, understand the ramifications of the issue, and identify allies and decision-makers.”

He stressed the importance of working across the WASH sector and engaging with all levels of government.

Other topics covered in the two-day training programme included a review of the Clean Nigeria campaign and what it entails for the states and an overview of civil society’s response to COVID-19.

Dr Ibor further reminded the participants, “Sustainable Development Goal projects and programmes should be implemented with the intention to integrate as much as possible a wide spectrum of other development needs.”

In Nigeria, 47 million people, or 1 in 4 inhabitants, still practice open defecation, according to a 2018 WASH NORM report. Through the “Clean Nigeria” campaign the federal government hopes to achieve open defecation-free (ODF) status by 2025, an important component of which is monitoring progress in the WASH sector.