EUROPEAN Union (EU), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), in collaboration with Anambra State Government has established Water Supply, Sanitation And Hygiene Committee (WASHCOM) federations in Aguata and Anambra East Local GovernmentAreas(LGAs).
The election cum inauguration of the executives of WASHCOM federations took place during a capacity building program anchored by Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA) at Otuocha and Ekwulobia..
According to Community Mobilisation Officer, RUWASSA, Okpaladinobi Chinwoke, ‘WASHCOM’ is an elected body in communities concerned with improving water, sanitation and hygiene. From the WASHCOMs, they elected representatives at ward level from which a federation of WASHCOM is formed at LGA level.
She said that the responsibilities of WASHCOM federation executives include unifying the WASHCOMs through exchanging WASH related knowledge, skills, experiences and enrichment of mutual understanding and goodwill in their entire L.G.A. Okpaladinobi stressed on the issue of sustainability, teamwork and transparency needed to maintain the WASH facilities, adding that there should be synergy between WASHCOMs and community leaders to improve efficiency and effectiveness.
Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Programme Manager, RUWASSA, Victor Ezekwo charged the WASHCOM Federation members to endeavor to organise themselves and maintain a sustainable structure that when EU, UNICEF disengage, any other NGO that comes will meet an existing body on ground.
Moreover, UNICEF state WASH consultant and UNICEF WASH Coordinator, Anambra East, Mr. Chigbo Clement and AminaOminI respectively, reminded the participants on the need to continue the fight to stop open defecation.
They enjoined them to ensure that every household, public place has and uses a toilet always covered and having hand washing facilities close by, adding that children must learn how to use potty.
Similarly, the state hygiene officer, Dr. Mrs. Rose Amasiani reiterated the five domains of hygiene practices namely; personal, environmental, safe excreta disposal, safe water chain and food hygiene, urging them to sustain the practices.
Moreso, Water quality officer, Mr. Andy Nwanze asked the participants to ensure that the water they consume was certified or tested, adding that they should tidy the environment of the water facilities to avoid pollution.
Reviewing the WASHCOM challenges, some requested to be provided with identity cards, apron or cover notes, adding that security agents or town union executives should be involved to enforce certain hygiene practices..
Highlight of the event was the election cum inauguration of the LGA’s WASHCOM federation executives.