WASH Global Ambassador Canvasses for Establishment of WSSCC Country Office in NigeriaLatest News, News Wednesday, July 20th, 2016
By Eric Ojo, Abuja
WASH Global Ambassador and a member of the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) Steering Committee, Engr. Ebele Okeke, has lent her voice to the call for the establishment of a full-fledged office of the Council in Nigeria.
The WASH Ambassador said as Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria deserves a country office to further facilitate the activities of the WSSCC in the water and sanitation sector, adding that it will go a long way in strengthening the role of the agency in Nigeria.
The WSSCC is a United Nations (UN) agency that is devoted solely to the sanitation and hygiene needs of the most vulnerable and unserved people around the world. The agency’s cardinal aim is to accelerate the achievement of sustainable Sanitation, Hygiene and Water services for all people through effective collaboration and coordination of all sector stakeholders.
In addition, its activities and projects are coordinated from the Geneva-based Secretariat and it currently operates in several countries in Africa and Asia, and with 5,000 members in 150 countries.
Meanwhile, the WSSCC has also through its Strategic Engagement Plan (SEP) aimed a filling the gap in the WASH sectors, become a critical agency to be reckoned with in the water and sanitation sector of the Nigerian economy.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Consultancy Workshop on WSSCC Strategy Development (2017-2020) and WSSCC Membership Retreat on Monday in Abuja, Engr. Okeke said stakeholders in the sector should support the clamour for a country office in Nigeria.
She also urged participants in this year’s on-going Africa Water Week holding in in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, to equally use the forum to drum up such support for Nigeria, which according to her, is far bigger than several countries in the continent put together.
She further advised that those participating in the event which is being organized by the African Minister’s Council on Water (AMCOW) and hosted by the Tanzanian government, should equally endeavour to raise the issue of increasing the WSSCC’s presence in Africa.
Also speaking in a similar vein, the WSSCC National Coordinator in Nigeria, Priscilla Achakpa noted that the need to set up a country office in Nigeria cannot be overstated, adding that it is the only way the WSSCC can make greater impact.
“We need a country office in Nigeria. We really look forward to having it established to further enhance our work and visibility. I am being referred to jokingly in some folks as a Coordinator without portfolio”, she added.
She noted that operating without an office in Nigeria has inadvertently undermined the activities of the WSSCC, but also deprives it of more opportunities to engage and participate fully in the sector.
Achakpa further observed that Nigeria is very strategic to the operations of the WSSCC worldwide because the country currently has its Minister of Environment, Mrs. Amina Mohammed, as Chair of the Council’s Steering Committee and Engr. Okeke as its Global Ambassador.
Earlier in her presentation, a representative of the WSSCC Secretariat in Geneva, Liz Wamera harped on the need for WSSCC members in Nigeria to ensure that they give best always by contributing their quota to efforts geared towards addressing the challenges confronting the sector.
Wamera said the Secretariat in Geneva can do only but a little without inputs from its members who are on the field, adding that they rely on national information to do the global work.
“At the global level, the feedback we get helps us to do the job. Otherwise we cannot do without ideas and contributions from you. It is not about us. There is so much you can do. We have come to the end of 2012 -2016 programme and now we have to work on our 2017 to 2030 programme.
“We want to make it better and we have planned to go back and learn more. We want everyone of you to make your input so that we can have a working document that many people have contributed to. We shall consolidate and analyse all contributions that will emanate from the consultations we are doing now.
“We are looking forward to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Everyone must have access. The campaign will leave no one behind. We have equity. We will share our experience and have a better understanding of what the needs are. This is the essence of this meeting”, she further explained.
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