By Mohammed Ahmed Kaigama
A Community leader in Jama’are Local Government area of Bauchi State, Alhaji Lawal Mohammed, says lack of safe water, inadequate sanitation and hygiene facilities affect children’s learning processes.
Mohammed said this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Azare, Katagum Local Government headquarters on Saturday.
“We lack safe water in our communities, schools and the health facilities which affects learning process of children.”
According to him, water scarcity in communities prevents many young children, especially girls, from attending school and receiving education.
“They are expected not only to assist their mothers to fetch water, but also to help with household chores that are made more time-intensive because of the lack of readily available water.
“Furthermore, the lack of clean water means the absence of sanitary facilities and latrines in schools, and so once puberty hits, this has a more serious impact on female children.
“In terms of lost educational opportunity, school attendance drops or children skip class attendance day by day.”
According to him, inadequate safe water, sanitation and hygiene facilities affect the education, health, safety, and quality of life of children as children under the age of five die each year from diarrhoea.
“Children in our communities go to schools which have no drinking water or clean latrines — basic things that many of us take for granted.
“Every child has the right to be in a school that offers safe water, healthy sanitation and hygiene education.”
Mohammed stressed that providing quality water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services in schools would reduce hygiene-related diseases and could help curb the schools days missed daily due to fatigue occasioned by search for water.
According to him, girls are reluctant to continue their schooling when toilets and washing facilities are not private, safe, clean, or simply not available.
The community leader, therefore, urged government, policy makers, school administrators, communities and parents to ensure that all children go to a school with child-friendly water, sanitation and hygiene facilities.
He also urged decision-makers and key stakeholders to increase investment for WASH in schools, with the participation of communities, civil society, the media, students and children themselves.
He said providing WASH facilities in schools would improve access to primary education, reduce child mortality and halve the proportion of people without access to safe water and basic sanitation.
Mohammed commended the Network for Civil Society Organisations in Water and Sanitation (NEWSAN) and WaterAid Nigeria for launching the vote4WASH campaign, adding that it would go a long way in the quest for the provision of WASH facilities in the communities. (NAN)