WaterWide - The Conflict for Water

Posted by I Take Actions Admin in Active Citizen Fellowship, 09 Oct 2021 20:34

At a young age, Wilson Atumeyi knew what he had to do in his life. Having gone through a period of his childhood where people lacked access to safe and sufficient water facilities, Wilson, with the help of his experience, started WaterWide. It is a team of young Nigerians with only one goal - to improve sanitary conditions in the marginalised communities of Nigeria.

 

When in secondary school, the children, including Wilson, went through a lot of troubles just to get one sip of water. They had to travel long distances to fetch water from the well, and even then, there were farmers, who would implement ill techniques just to ensure that children do not fetch water from their wells. The people had no other option except the wells since there was no other water source nearby. Experiences of this sort determined Wilson to work for this issue the moment he graduates from his college.

 

As easy as it may sound, it posed a lot of difficulties when he started out. His first challenge was funding the projects. It was not easy to raise funds at that moment, so he had to use his personal savings for his project. He has applied for mini-grants for funding purposes, but they are not sufficient enough that he can pay the volunteers and his staff. Another source for getting funds, for Wilson, is to consult other organizations. Wilson had initially thought that he would just help people sink wells and boreholes which would eventually solve the issue. However, he realized that most of the funds are usually allocated to WASH (Water, Agriculture, Sanitation, and Health) projects, which are mostly diverted in the pockets of the crony capitalists which end up getting used for corruption.

 

With an experience of four years, his organization - WaterWide - has successfully learnt how to tackle such challenges and has moved forward to going through numerous measures to ensure the sanitation of the marginalized communities. They track government spending and how much international aid WASH projects are receiving. On a second level, they advocate their policies and agendas to the masses - at both policy and decentralised levels. They aim to equip the stakeholders with the right knowledge as to how they can contribute to their sanitation, hence the sanitation of the rest of the community. They also raise funds in order to build toilets and boreholes to support the government efforts in rural communities.

 

Wilson believes that the youth has a significant role to play in matters like these since governance and policymaking are becoming developed as the days go by. People are engaging in the politics of the nation, and at this point, it is crucial for the youth of Nigeria to engage in discussions like these because they have innovative minds and are leading organizations that are working towards sustainable development.

 

With the collective efforts of the people who have contributed to the efforts of improving sanitation facilities, WaterWide has successfully been able to let the marginalized communities get access to safe water. They wish to see a future where everyone in the country is not struggling to get water but have access to proper sanitation facilities and safe water. What brings a smile at the end of the day to their faces is when they are able to restore people’s basic rights and hold the government accountable.

 

This story was written by Tulika Karmakar

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