By Joy Odor
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has joined with Taraba State Executive Governor Dairus Dickson Ishaku to formalize a new partnership to improve the management and delivery of water and sanitation (WASH) services to help people live healthier lives through reliable access to clean water.
The USAID Mission Director, Mr Stephen Haykin in a press statement emphasized the importance of water, sanitation and hygiene during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to him, a Memorandum of Understanding signed online on May 21, 2020, outlines commitments between USAID and Taraba State to jointly develop a professionally managed, commercially oriented, and accountable state Water Board.
This, he said, will be accomplished by improving the Water Board’s financial viability, and strengthening policy, institutional, and regulatory frameworks for better WASH service delivery.
“The collaboration marked by today’s agreement will help Taraba chart a path towards a better performing water board and will raise the quality of services for the health of their customers.
“Through the $60.4 million ‘Effective Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Services” (E-WASH) activity, USAID supports Taraba and five other states to increase access to clean water and reduce water borne diseases by strengthening their Water Boards’ capacity to make solid investment decisions, improve billing and collection systems, and ensure greater responsiveness to customer concerns.
Governor Ishaku in his response said his goal was to ensure that reliable water and sanitation services reach at least 90 percent of the state, even in some remote and mountainous areas, before his term expires.
“This is a milestone for our state,” the Governor said via videoconference from his Abuja office.
“We believe we have the potential to provide not only the best water service delivery in the country, but in all Africa.”
Over four years, USAID’s E-WASH will spur the mobilization of an additional $50 million from public and private sources.
It will also provide access to piped clean water to at least 500,000 households. Other participating states include Delta, Abia, Imo, and Niger.
E-WASH is one component of a wider USAID effort to foster closer coordination with federal and state government agencies to advance broad-based economic growth and resilience in Nigeria through improved WASH services.