Improving access to water and sanitation via effective community engagement: Study of urban Abakaliki, Nigeria

Obinna Paul Uguru

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

    Abstract

    Lack of access to improved water sources and safe sanitation facilities remain a major developmental challenge facing many developing countries; especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. In the past 10 years of the United Nations’ water for life decade, huge attention as well as resources at last have been given the issue, but the outcome in SSA in general and Nigerian in particular have been mixed and the current level is well below set targets.

    This study set out to explore improved water and sanitation (WATSAN) access in Nigerian communities and factors influencing progress in the sector. A case study was designed and carried out in Abakaliki, the capital city of Ebonyi State, located in South-Eastern Nigeria. The study used mixed methods for data collection, which included structured household survey and focus group discussion carried out in the case study location.

    The findings from the study indicates that access to improved drinking water and sanitation facilities remain a significant challenge for households in the case study community, as is still the case across communities in Nigeria. Furthermore, critical WATSAN infrastructures are undeveloped, and when they exist are so poorly managed that technical water losses are very high, as is the potential for re-contamination of even treated supply. There were also the issue of the municipal water service provider responsible for public water supply in the community lacking the necessary capacity and resources to be effective and deliver acceptable quality of service to households in the area. In other words, their quality of service was generally poor and most households in the community prefer or had to depend on the private sector water service providers (water vendors) to meet their water needs. Similarly, the quality of drinking water in the community is generally poor given that more than 80% of households in the sample, expressed concern about the quality or safety of their drinking water sources, but less than 50% of households carried out any form of further treatment at home before use. Consequently, reported incidences of waterborne diseases by households in the sample were high. Moreover, although there was a better overall gender parity (56% female and 44% male) in terms of the burden of water collection in the case study in contrast to the SSA region (81% female and 19% male), the proportion of households where young female bore the burden for water collection alone remained unacceptably high in the community (32%), much higher than indicated for the region (9%).

    Taking into account available resources from literature and the field study, a framework to achieve better WATSAN outcomes in the community was proposed in this study. The framework is built around stakeholders’ participation and emphasises empowerment and capacity development in the community as a way to achieve universal coverage as well as ensure sustainability and accountability through participatory governance in sector.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationPh.D.
    Awarding Institution
    • Glasgow Caledonian University
    Supervisors/Advisors
    • Meldrum, Anita, Supervisor
    • Pahl, Ole, Supervisor
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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