A COMMUNITY’S QUEST FOR H20 AND AKINYELE LGA CLEAN WATER PROJECT
We are told in the book of Genesis that when God decided to make earth habitable for man, he met the entire surface of the planet filled with water, “…and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters”, before he called forth land.
Today, experts tell us that 71% of the entire surface of the earth is covered with water, although 96.5% of it is salt water, man has been able to master the art of treating water for consumption.
In other words, we are quite literally surrounded with water so that no human being should lack water.
But, did you know that up to 300 million people live in areas without access to clean water? This applies especially to countries lying in Sub-Saharan Africa…although, Nigeria is not mentioned among countries with acute challenge, from reports, we are not any better.
Water, one of the most plentiful and essential elements on earth, is a tasteless and odourless liquid at room temperature, and has the important ability to dissolve many other substances. It carries nutrients to all cells in our body and oxygen to our brain, allows the body to absorb and assimilate minerals, vitamins, amino acids, glucose and other substances and most importantly, it helps to flush out toxins and waste from our body. Going by this definition, we cannot begin to imagine what dangers are inherent in the lack of access to clean, portable, drinkable water.
Yet, according to various aid agencies, only 19% of Nigeria’s population has access to safe drinking water. This is despite the fact that Nigeria is so rich in water resources that many of its 36 states are named after rivers. In addition to surface water found in nearly every part of the country, there’s also plenty stored in the ground. The country has 215 cubic kilometres a year of available surface water. This is a lot higher than many African countries, particularly those in the southern and northern regions of the continent. South Africa, for example, has about 49 cubic kilometres a year.
Because of the above, one would be tempted to imagine that Nigerians have plenty of water to drink. That is not the case, and the lack of accessible, reliable and safe drinking water, together with poor sanitation and hygiene, is estimated to cost Nigeria about USD$1.3 billion in access time, loss due to premature death, productive time lost and health care costs and so on…
Why is this happening in a country with abundant water resources? Why do we suffer from what experts have called an “economic water scarcity”, which is the inability to properly manage, use and protect water resources for socioeconomic development and environmental sustainability? What can we do to reverse this trend?
These and more questions inspired the Akinyele LGA Clean Water Project, a project that seeks to construct Borehole Water System for communities in Oyo State.
For many years, indigent members of Ojo-Baale community of Akinyele LGA, Oyo state, Nigeria have yearned and pressed on with their quest for H20, and yet have failed as there still is no source of water in the entire community which has a population of 5000. The rural dwellers trek about 10km to a nearby village to fetch water even though nearby water isn’t good enough for human consumption…
Akinyele is one of the eleven local governments that make up Ibadan metropolis. Ojo-Baale is situated close to Onidundun, Eleepo & Ogbogbologun communities of Akinyele East Local Council. It is the wish and prayers of the inhabitants of this community who are mostly farmers, to be blessed with water…
The Akinyele LGA Water Project is a brain child of the “Praise Until Something Happens”, also known as the PUSH Foundation. Established in the year 2015, PUSH is a Nigerian registered charity organization CAC/IT 102606 aimed at putting smile on the faces of the less privileged through evangelism, motivation, feeding, clothing, free health care delivery, community development projects and empowerment…
As of today, the PUSH Foundation has conducted outreaches in 2 countries (Nigeria & Ghana), 6 States, 9 cities and 44 communities. More than 12,000 lives have been touched by their work and their monthly charitable projects are designed to reach out to indigents who reside in rural communities and slums across the country…
The Akinyele Project is one of their latest project and its Ojo-Baale community borehole programme aims to sink the borehole vertically into the ground to extract clean drinkable water for the people. Being a community that doesn’t have electricity, a solar powered borehole will be installed with water tanks, placed in strategic locations, will be distributed evenly in the community.
A properly designed Borehole Pump should last 8 to 10 years. This means for 10 years, the current generation and generations-to-come of this community will benefit from this water project. The problem of hunger and thirst will be solved. The lifespan of Ojo-Baale inhabitants will be increased as there won’t be any reason to trek for kilometers before accessing water. The economy of the community will be more buoyant as there will be enough water to grow their crops and feed their livestock.
Asides what the PUSH Foundation is doing, as a country and a people, we need to change the way we manage water, for the sake of our people. Firstly, our approach should include a wider range of stakeholders and secondly, it should draw on the knowledge and disciplines of a variety of sectors.
Providing potable water involves science, policy and practice. All these must be considered in developing the proper management system for water in the country. The Federal, State and Local governments should work together to update and tighten regulations controlling water quality.
Above all, we must support NGOs like the PUSH Foundation to ensure that we bring water to as many Nigerians as we can. Please click on the link below to learn how you can help.
Albert Afeso Akanbi is a writer, documentary filmmaker and humanitarian. He writes from Abuja, FCT, Nigeria.
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