Connected Development (CODE) in preparation for the 2019 general election has unveiled its plan to launch what it tagged the #Vote4WASH campaign. The Non-Governmental Organization, with a focus on empowering marginalized communities by tracking government spending at the grassroots, is launching a partnership with WaterAid will take place in three states of Lagos, Edo and Kano between January to February 2019 to mainstream water and sanitation (WASH) related issues in 2019 political debates and have candidates of political parties publicly sign pledge cards that would require them to pay adequate attention to WASH sub-sector when elected into office.
The campaign couldn’t be more timely than now when political parties are selling themselves for acceptance will help in no small means to raise awareness to WASH issues in the country. In the year 2018, WaterAid in a report estimated that nearly 60 million Nigerians live without clean water, about 120 million lack access to clean toilets and another 46 million practice open defecation which is one of the highest figures in the world. The numbers are staggering and threatening.
Threatening in the sense that this will halt the possibility of achieving SDG Goal 6 which is clean water and sanitation. With 12 years left for the 2030 SDG target, Nigeria may not beat down these numbers if the necessary things are not done. In the words of Hamza Lawal, the CEO of Connected Development he said, we are doing this because we know that today in rural communities over 80 million people do not have access to drinking potable drinking water while over 70 million people do not have access to toilet facility. Taking into cognizance that this is a period where politicians vying for various offices will make promises to the electorates, we will like the electorates to engage these individuals on how they will make a radical change in the water and sanitation sector when elected for their four year term. It’s also a means to get the commitment of the candidates by signing the pledge card for citizens to hold them accountable after the election while there will be a follow the money process after the election to make the campaign a viable one through tracking of funds released for WASH.
Commenting on how it’s impact would be measured, CODE’s Project manager Chambers Umezulike said, “the impact of the campaign would be measured toward the reach numbers through the multi-media platforms sensitisation and number of pledge cards to prioritise WASH made by political aspirants.”
The WASH campaign will feature signing of pledge cards by individuals contesting for state and National legislative positions, Radio sensitization Programmes and community outreach to a community having acute WASH issues in the three states of Kano, Lagos and Edo.