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UN Political Forum: Mrs Toyin Ojora Saraki builds Bridges of Action over Troubled Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Conditions

H.E. Mrs Toyin Saraki at the US Congress
H.E. Mrs Toyin Saraki at the US Congress

H.E. Mrs Toyin Ojora Saraki Builds Bridges of Action Over Troubled Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Conditions – At United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, New York City

World Bank reveals alarming decline in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene conditions in Nigeria

11th July 2018 – Her Excellency Mrs Toyin Ojora Saraki, Wife of the Senate President of Nigeria and Founder-President of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA), today made a formal submission to the 2018 United Nations High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. The intervention was made in relation to the forum event “Partnerships that Deliver for Girls and Women – an interactive dialogue to break down silos and achieve the SDGs” organised by Women Deliver.

The formal submission follows a recent high-level visit undertaken to Washington DC by Mrs Saraki to Members of Congress, the World Bank and the US State Department, as part of her new global campaign to improve Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) standards in healthcare facilities, schools and communities. The campaign was launched in Nigeria alongside the World Health Organization, Global Water 2020 and other global partners.

H.E. Mrs Toyin Saraki canvasses for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) standards in healthcare facilities, schools and communities.
H.E. Mrs Toyin Saraki canvasses for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) standards in healthcare facilities, schools and communities.

In Mrs Saraki’s call to action at the High-Level Political Forum, she highlighted recent data on WASH in Nigeria and called for greater action at all levels, commenting:

“As the Founder-President of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA), I am committed to delivering for women, girls and communities – through safe births, education and wellbeing, so I am pleased that there is a strong representation at this dialogue to discuss water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) – not only because the High Level Political Forum is reviewing progress towards Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, but because WASH is, in my view, the strongest example of a goal which is affected by silos – from a global health perspective, as well as on national and regional levels.”

“Recent World Bank Water data reveals that in my country, Nigeria, WASH indices have actually suffered an alarming decline from an already critical condition. Access to piped water on premises in urban areas dropped from 30% in 1990, to less than 10% in 2015. The World Bank has also revealed that for Nigeria to achieve the WASH SDGs, it must invest at least three times more than it does today. Unfortunately, inadequate priority has been given to this demographic imperative in the nation’s approved World Bank loan application, despite the fact that WASH standards will be a fundamental element of any successful economic recovery plan. At the Foundation’s program locations across Nigeria, our MamaCare midwives are lifesavers – but they can only do so much for women and their infants if WASH conditions are dangerous.”

H.E. Mrs Toyin Ojora Saraki at the US State Department
H.E. Mrs Toyin Ojora Saraki at the US State Department

“UNESCO estimates that 130 million girls between the age of 6 and 17 are out of school and 15 million girls of primary-school age—half of them in sub-Saharan Africa— may never enter a classroom”.

“Poor WASH conditions are a key factor inhibiting girls attending school. One in ten girls in Sub-Saharan Africa do not attend school during their menstrual cycle, and can miss as much as twenty percent of a given school year. That is a question of both resource allocation and the input of those who know what girls need to be able to feel safe at school”.

“I know that together we can build bridges of action over troubled water, sanitation and hygiene conditions in health facilities, schools, homes and communities, to achieve the SDGs, and deliver for good, for women and girls”.

Credit: Jack Tunmore

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