From JIDAUNA DARING, Riyom
The Plateau State UNICEF WASH Consultant, Mr. George Bekinbo has expressed dissatisfaction with WASHCOM Communities in Riyom Local Government Area (LGA) of Plateau State for not being proactive towards making their communities Open Defecation Free (ODF) in the locality.
Mr. Bekinbo made his feeling known while speaking to the WASHCOM participants during a two-day Fourth Quarter WASH Clinic meeting organized by EU-UNICEF and Plateau State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (PRUWASSA), held at the Riyom LGC Multi-purpose Hall, last Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Consultant urged the WASHCOM communities to brace up particularly in the area of keeping their environments clean, saying that Riyom LGA is suppose to take the lead for other LGAs on ODF in the state to follow.
Mr. Bekinbo called on the local government, especially the WASH department to as a matter of importance give the needed support to the WASHCOM benefiting communities and also urged the benefiting communities to guard jealously against all the EU-UNICEF projects cited in their various communities.
In his remarks, General Manager – PRUWASSA, Engineer Peter Kassam while declaring the clinic meeting opened, appreciated the participants for availing themselves for the meeting and told them that EU-UNICEF has contributed immensely in the provision of safe drinking water to communities in Plateau State.
Engr, Kassam said that the partnership with the EU-UNICEF was to further ensure that every community has access to good drinking water, adding that Governor Simon Bako Lalong of Plateau State is also committed towards providing safe drinking water to the citizens at all times.
He commended Governor Lalong for always paying the state counterpart funds to the donors, saying that such effort has continued to keep the partnership going with the donors, adding that Kanam LGA has been added to the two LGAs, which were Shendam and Riyom for water project and sanitation.
Engr. Kassam told the WASHCOM communities to put more effort in their sanitation and hygiene so that they would Open Defecation Free by the year 2020.
UNICEF State Coordinator under SGS office, Mrs. Agatha M. Dapel while speaking on donor’s contribution to the stat,e especially on the facilities provided both on the water and sanitation, emphasized on the need for the benefiting communities to imbibe good maintenance culture, which she said was very key in the sustainability of any project.
The traditional rulers on their part also expressed delight and thanked EU-UNICEF and the Plateau State Government for considering the plight of their people for all the projects cited in their communities and assured the WASHCOM representatives from their communities of their readiness to give them the needed support and cooperation.
The WASH department of the LGC promised that it would not relent in its effort in promoting clean environment as well as ensuring good sustainability of all the facilities given to the people of the LGA.
The Local Government WASH department stressed the need for WASHCOM members to always have monthly meetings and also reports to the WASH department any challenges faced both on the issue of sanitation and water facilities for proper action.
Declaring the clinic meeting closed, the Management Committee Chairman, Riyom LGC, Hon Mafeng Gwalson said that the impact of the borehole were no doubt much, considering its importance to the benefiting communities, saying that the gesture would reduce the outbreak of diseases which usually come through contaminated water.
Hon. Gwalson encouraged every household in Riyom LGA to build a toilet, saying that giving orientation to people on why they should have toilet was every necessary, adding that “prevention is better than cure”.
Our correspondent reports that the clinic meeting featured presentation on activities, achievement, challenges and the way forward, before functionality status; achievements, challenges and way forward, WASH activities implementation; achievements, challenges and way forward, review of 2018 4th Quarter WASH Clinic communiqué, common challenges encountered during boreholes construction and discussion on the programme exit strategies among others.