By Richard Akintade, Osogbo.
Today is International World Toilet Day. It is being set aside by the United Nations towards ensuring cleanliness through the prevention of open defecation by citizenry of different communities across the globe.
Findings have revealed that World Toilet Day is a day to take action and also raise awareness about all people who do not have access to toilets despite the human right to water and sanitation.
This however prompted the United Nations General Assembly in 2013 to designate 19th November of every year as World Toilet Day and it had previously been marked by international and civil society organizations all over the world but was not formally recognized as an official UN day until 2013.
For effective implementation of the numerous objectives of the declaration of the day, the programme is closely coordinated by UN-Water in collaboration with Governments and relevant stakeholders.
However, communities in Osun State have commended the UNICEF, EU as well as the state government for creating conducive environments for the people through provision of modern toilet facilities.
The residents also emphasized that making adequate toilet facilities available for the use by the people has been preventing open defecation across Osun State and its environs.
The state government’s collaboration efforts with foreign agencies, according to them will further make the people feel more comfortable.
And to support the elimination of open defecation, the Osun State government through a collaborative support from EU-UNICEF has provided about 240 compartment latrines in schools and health centres with 120 completed while additional 120 are nearing completion.
Some of the schools visited by ROYAL NEWS are; St.Michael Primary School, Oluwada, St. Peters Anglican Elementary / Middle School and St. Mathew’s Primary School, Ejemu, Ode-Omu in Ayedaade local government Area of the state.
According to the information gathered, no fewer than 219 communities in the entire state are now open defecation free which implies that all houses in those communities own and have access to household latrines.
The 120 communities are to be celebrated during the World Toilet Day and would be provided with certificates of honour.
However, some of the communities visited by our correspondents includes; Safejo, Oloba, Elepin, Fateegan, Araromi Adekanmbi, Aba I. O, Baba Ijo and Dabongbo among others in Ayedaade local government area of the state.
As this year World Toilet Day Theme suggests: “Toilet and Jobs” the support of EU-UNICEF through the programme tagged “WSSSRP-II” have provided jobs for over 29 contractors for both latrine construction and provision of water facilities.
Similarly, 509 water facilities have been awarded with 216 completed while 293 is ongoing.
The massive construction of household latrines as gathered has generated job opportunity for some unemployed youths in the community who move from one house to another to construct durable low cost household latrines.
Houses with latrines put stickers of various inscriptions with EU-UNICEF logo. Some of the inscriptions are “I have latrine I am healthy”, “I have latrine I am alive” among others.
Meanwhile, household without latrines are eager to construct latrine to also have their sticker pasted by the community WASHCOM (Water & Sanitation Committee).
It was also gathered that, among other activities to mark the world toilet day in Osun is the launching of “Osun State ODF Road Map” which is targeting 2023 to declare the entire state open defecation free and to make this a reality, Osun state have provided over 100 latrines in public places like highways, major markets and motor parks to accommodate tourist that ply the state and the general public that transact all sorts of businesses from open defecation practices.
Other activities expected to mark the event are commissioning of completed water and sanitation facilities in the state and ODF celebration for the successful 219 communities.
“The decision of providing toilets for us has contributed in no measure contributed to our good looking because we are no more going to the hospital, all of us including our children were in good condition, we are physically, mentally and medically alright. So, it is a good omen”, the residents added.
If well observed, World Toilet Day will no doubt enhance the achievement of the ‘Right to Toilet Facilities’ by the entire populace and thereby translate into cleanliness and provide healthy and conducive environments.
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