Minister pushes for youth involvement in campaign against open defecation
Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu has said youth participation is key towards ending open defecation in Nigeria.
Mr Adamu made this known at the Unveiling of the Youth-Led Total Sanitation (YLTS) Strategy.
He noted that mainstreaming young persons was central to the country’s fight towards ending open defecation by 2025.
According to him, the formal launch of the YLTS strategy puts the youth on the frontline and emphasises their roles in reversing the ugly trend.
“I wish to reiterate the fact that open defecation pollutes the environment even as it poses a great threat to the entire population and the dignity of the human person.
“Therefore, our youths are a key resource not only in the clean Nigeria campaign initiative, but also in other aspects of our engagements.
“The need for awareness creation and mass sensitisation on the adoption of good sanitation and hygiene practices became imperative so as to maximise the benefits,’’ the environment minister said.
He said the theme, ‘The Role of Young People in Making Nigeria Open Defecation Free by 2025,’ was apt and also a deliberate call to action by stakeholders in harnessing the young people towards achieving the target.
At the event, Nature Obiakor, Executive Director, Youth Water Sanitation and Hygiene Initiative Africa (YOUTHWASH), says the partnership to promote youth participation in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programs in Nigeria is a deliberate one as they have the zeal and passion as tomorrow’s leaders.
“We have been mobilising and engaging people in campaigns and activities that have to do with ensuring right to access to potable drinking water, sanitation and hygiene services.
“However, with the emergence of Clean Nigeria Use the Toilet Campaign and the declaration by the President through the Executive Order 009, we deem it fit as young people to come together and see how we can work together with the federal government in ending open defecation.
“We believe that youth are more with the burden of open defecation and that young people in their numbers should come out and ensure that Nigeria is open defecation free by the year 2025.
“We have a strategic plan in collaboration with NYSC which covers 774 local governments in Nigeria, through community development service in sanitation groups, with this, we shall reach the nooks and crannies of the country.
“If all Bureaucracies can be removed and we get support from the government and other stakeholders I believe and am very optimistic that we can achieve our goals,’’ Mr Obiakor said.
Dr Edwin Isotu-Edeh, WHO Representative, said scaling up access to water and sanitation at all tiers of government was central to attaining the SDGs and economic development.
He noted that with the inauguration of the Clean Nigeria campaign, Nigeria would meet its country target to scale up WASH, calling on the young person to see the challenge of open defecation as a great opportunity to influence behavioural change.
He urged tiers of government to deliberately invest and support young persons to drive and support the process for WASH interventions.
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