Thursday, August 16, 2012

Nigeria Gets WaterAid Major Grant from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

15 Aug 2012 14:00 Africa/Lagos

WaterAid Receives Major Grant From Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for Program in Nigeria

NEW YORK, Aug. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- WaterAid has received a grant of up to $6.3 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that aims to enhance the lives of thousands of poor people in Nigeria through improvements to sanitation.

Across the globe, 2,000 children die every day from diarrheal diseases caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation. In sub-Saharan Africa, 223 million people have no toilet at all, while 193 million do not have adequate sanitary facilities. Nigeria, the country with the largest population in Africa, is no exception: 103 million people have to defecate in the open or have an "unimproved" or shared latrine.

In addition to the devastating loss of life and impact on health, the costs associated with illness caused by poor sanitation exact a heavy toll on countries' economic growth. Lack of water, sanitation and hygiene costs Sub-Saharan African countries more in lost GDP than the entire continent gets in development aid.

Over the course of four years, the project supported by the Gates Foundation will improve sanitation in local government areas across three states of Nigeria, bringing about open defecation-free (ODF) status in numerous communities, and bringing affordable and sustainable sanitation services to thousands of people.

The project will build on WaterAid's years of experience of applying and adapting the community-led total sanitation (CLTS) approach in Nigeria. CLTS is an innovative methodology for mobilizing communities to completely eliminate open defecation.

"The Gates Foundation has once again invested in improving the lives of millions of the world's poorest people. We are thrilled that they have decided to support our work in Nigeria," said Dr. David Winder, CEO of WaterAid in America.

WaterAid has worked in Nigeria since 1995, assisting with addressing the huge need for water and sanitation. WaterAid works in seven local areas, in partnership with established non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and state and local governments, according to each area's needs.

WaterAid transforms lives by improving access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation in the world's poorest communities. We work with partners and influence decision-makers to maximize our impact. We enable the world's poorest people to gain access to safe water and sanitation. Together with improved hygiene, these basic human rights underpin health, education and livelihoods, forming the first essential step in overcoming poverty.


CONTACT: Susannah Gold, +1-917-207-5375,

Web Site:

WaterAid's achievements to date

  • Developed a vulnerability ranking system using criteria developed by poor communities themselves in order to prioritize who should receive priority with assistance
  • Successfully established partnerships between communities and government
  • Shared good practices such as the Local Millennium Development Goals and its monitoring and evaluation system with others in the water and sanitation sector

A woman carries home clean water from a WaterAid-funded pump in Nigeria.
 Credit: WaterAid / Suzanne Porter

WaterAid set up its first project in Etche in 1995 to deliver safe and sustainable water and sanitation services to some of the country's poorest communities. 
In 1996 focus was moved to Benue State to manage the UK Department for International Development's (DFID) Water and Sanitation Project in Oju Local Government Area. In 1999 WaterAid expanded its activities to Plateau and Bauchi states, based on the high levels of poverty and low access to water and sanitation there.

Throughout these areas, local businesses are contracted to help communities with construction work, such as drilling boreholes, installing handpumps or building latrines and to run 'sani centers' which sell materials for latrine construction.

As well as helping communities establish water supplies and latrines, WaterAid and the local water and sanitation units (WASUs) promote good hygiene behavior such as washing hands and keeping latrines clean. A number of innovative approaches are used, including radio jingles, early morning megaphone announcements and school hygiene clubs.

To encourage work between communities and local governments WaterAid has developed a transparent system for selecting which communities to support and the level of subsidy each household is given. Through a 'vulnerability ranking system' households within communities determine their levels of poverty according to indicators which the community as a whole suggests themselves. By eliminating political interference and introducing a self-selection process, communities have a renewed faith and trust in local governments.
This method of working has proved so successful that is has been imported to other projects funded by the Nigerian Government. WaterAid is also assisting local governments in producing their local development plans. These not only prioritize work and forthcoming plans, but they also help them  access funding from other international humanitarian organizations such as UNICEF.

Download WaterAid's Nigeria information sheet (PDF 291KB)

Nigeria Map
WaterAid Nigeria
Area: 923,768km²
Capital: Abuja
Other main cities:
Lagos, Ibadan,
Port Harcourt, Kaduna and Kano
  • Population
    Population icon158.4m
  • Infant mortality
    Infant mortality icon143/1000
  • Child deaths (under five) from diarrhoea per annum
    Under five icon130,000
  • Life expectancy
    Life expectancy icon50 years
  • Water supply coverage
    Water supply coverage icon58%
  • Sanitation coverage
    Sanitation coverage icon32%
  • Below poverty line
    Below poverty line icon55%
  • Development index
    Development index icon156
  • Adult literacy
    Adult literacy icon60%

World Bank (2010) World Development Indicators database -, UNICEF (2010) State of the World's Children 2009 and WHO (2010) World Health Statistics 2010, WHO / UNICEF (2010) Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) report 2010, UNDP (2009) Human Development Report 2010
NB. Official statistics tend to understate the extent of water and sanitation problems, sometimes by a large factor. There are not sufficient resources available for accurate monitoring of either population or coverage. Varying definitions of water and sanitation coverage are used and national figures mask large regional differences in coverage.
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