Launch of the Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Improvement Project in Oyo and Taraba States

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The Governor of Taraba State, Danbaba Suntai, on October 24, and the Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Chief Moses Alake Adeyemo, on November 1, launched the Urban Water and Sanitation Improvement Project - with an African Development Bank loan of approximately US $100 million for the rehabilitation, expansion and construction of water and sanitation facilities in Jalingo, Taraba State, and Ibadan, a city located in Oyo State, Nigeria. The project will improve access to clean water and sanitation for an estimated 1.5 million people.

Taraba Water Supply Agency and Oyo State Water Corporation, the water utilities managing water supplies in the two cities, along with other small-scale service providers will benefit from capacity-building activities to improve their performance. Women and girls are to gain from the projects' various gender-specific benefits promoted throughout the project.

The Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Improvement Project in Oyo and Taraba States is intended to address the persistent shortage of water supply and inadequate sanitation that has resulted from a fast-growing population and inadequate infrastructure. Upon completion of the project, the number of residents having access to clean water and safe sanitation should rise considerably from 25 to 80 per cent. A majority of beneficiaries will be women, who represent 51 per cent of the population.

While the main cross-cutting benefits of the project will be the improvement of living conditions and public health, special attention will be given to ensuring that women and girls are empowered and that their particular needs are met.

Forty-two boreholes will be rehabilitated or constructed in Jalingo; 250 km of transmission and distribution will be rehabilitated and constructed in Jalingo, with another 450 km rehabilitated and constructed in Ibadan. In addition, 100 water kiosks will be built.

To improve access as well as improve water management, 30,000 and 20,000 new water connections will be made in Jalingo and Ibadan, respectively.

Regarding sanitation, 300 public water, sanitation and hand-washing facilities, with sufficient space to accommodate men, women and the disabled, will be constructed in schools, health centres and public places.

The project also ensures that women will constitute 50 per cent of consumer committees and that women's groups will be trained on hygiene education and promotion, giving them the opportunity to play a central role in sensitizing their communities and to participate in decision-making and actions affecting them.

Moreover, institutional reforms and capacity training will also be offered to the water utilities of Taraba and Oyo States to improve service provision and ensure sustainability of services.

Another special aspect of the project is the focus on access for low-income households. A unit for low-income households within the water utilities will ensure inclusion and provision of services for poor and marginalized people. In total, 30,000 low-income household connections and 100 water kiosks will be constructed in the two cities.

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