The project is being funded by United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) and UNICEF.
A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) who visited some of the benefiting communities in Chikun and Kubau Local Government Areas, reports that the project has transformed the lives of rural dwellers.
The project, being funded by United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) and UNICEF, is designed to improve access to sanitation, hygiene and water.
It is also meant to stop open defecation and promote hand washing to improve the health of residents.
Malam Rufa’i Baba, a community leader in Unguwan Bukka, Chikun local government, said that before the project, the community sourced its water from open wells., leading to attacks of preventable diseases like cholera, diahrea and malaria.
“We hitherto were careless about keeping our environment clean and hygienic; we defecate openly because we do not built toilets, and our community was filled with animal and human faeces.
“This unhygienic behaviour made us vulnerable to diseases.
“Our children are always sick from one form of ailment to another, until the SHAWN project came and completely transformed our lives, “he said.
Malam Zakari Isa, Chairman of the project committee in the area, said alot had been done to transform the community.
“We were taught how to keep our wells and environment clean, how to properly wash our hands with soap, encouraged to build toilets to stop open defecation and provided with water facility for access to clean water.
“I can tell you that life has never been this good for the people of this community,” Isa said.
NAN reports that there had been similar interventions in Unguwan Arewa Damishi, Rido, and Unguwan Gogaje Kagurna of the local government.
In Kubau local government, some of the communities described the SHAWN intervention as a blessing.
“During dry season, the wells which are our only source of water dry up and we have to travel long distance to fetch water from the river, which we share with animals,” Malam Mustapha Shuaibu said.
Shuaibu, who lives in Unguwan Kwari Mabuga, explained that life was difficult for the people of the community due to lack of access to clean water.
“Water is life and the SHAWN project has given us life, this is in addition to the improved quality of life through good hygiene practices, such as hand washing and environmental sanitation,” he said.
Hauwa Ahmed, a house wife at Gidan Jifa, said the provision of 24-hour access to clean water was a blessing to the people, especially women that had to travel long distance for water.
Theresa Pamma, a Water, Sanitation and Hygiene specialist with UNICEF in Kaduna, explained that the project began in the state in 2014 in three local governments, namely, Chikun, Kubau and Kachia.
She added that due to the successes recorded, Lere, Soba, Jaba, Jema’a, Kajuru, Zangon Kataf, Giwa and Kudan local governments were added to the project under the second phase.
Pamma said 325 boreholes were constructed and 244 rehabilitated to improve water supply to households in 354 communities with total population of up to 262, 611 people in Chikun, Kachia and Kubau local government areas.
She added that as at November, 502 communities have been certified Open Defecation Free across the three local governments.