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‘Open defecation project threatened by counterpart funds’

The Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion in Nigeria (RUSHPIN) programme is facing funding problem. The programme is being executed by an international charity organisation, Concept…

The Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion in Nigeria (RUSHPIN) programme is facing funding problem. The programme is being executed by an international charity organisation, Concept Universal, in Benue and Cross River states. The two state governments have so far fail to pay their counterpart funds.
The Project Manager, Concern Universal, Mr Oliver Okon, gave the warning at a two-day workshop on the ‘Role of the Media in Scaling up Access to Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)’.
The programme, which is funded by the Global Sanitation Fund (GSF) in the two states, amounting to $5 million, he said, it was saddening to note for three years, had no commitment, despite several advocacy visits.
“The GSF has said that if the governments of Cross River and Benue states do not pay their counterpart funding for the RUSHPIN programme, they would withdraw funding by the end of the year,” he said.
Okon explained that when the federal government signed the MOU with GSF in 2014, the design was for the global body to provide $5million for the project implementation. He said for the programme to be implemented in Benue and Cross River states, the states must commit $2.2 million each, and for it to be replicated in three other local governments.
Notwithstanding the challenge, Okon said the programme had transformed the health of 2.2 million people in over 1,200 communities in Cross River and Benue states, setting the framework for replication in other states.
‘’We are applying a demand-driven ‘Community-Led Total Sanitation’ (CLTS) methodology that empowers entire communities to change their sanitation and hygiene behaviour,” he said.
He said two local governments of Cross River State would soon be certified Open Defecation Free.
He lamented that conflict in Agatu and Logo communities in Benue State had affected their activities in the state.

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