The Kaduna State Government has urged communities to take ownership of the 700 million dollars World Bank assisted Sustainable Urban and Rural Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (SURWASH) project.
The Social and Gender Safe Guard Officer of the project, Jummai Ibrahim made the call on Saturday at the inauguration of the SURWASH Community Grievance Redress Committees (GRC) in Kafanchan.
She said it was imperative for the communities to take ownership of the facilities provided under the project in their domain to ensure protection and sustainability.
SURWASH programme is being implemented in Kaduna and six other states across the country.
The programme is designed to provide six million people with portable drinking water, and enhance sanitation services to 1.4 million persons in the participating states.
It also aimed at enhancing access to clean water, hygiene and sanitation services to 2,000 schools and healthcare facilities as well as assist 5,000 communities to achieve Open Defecation Free (ODF) status.
According to her, the role of the GRC is to address complaints and grievances from the locals that might arise from the implementation of the project in selected communities.
“Setting up GRCs is necessary for transparency and accountability during the implementation of the SURWASH programme in communities.
“At any stage of implementation, environmental or social issues such as GBV, child labour, and sexual exploitation and abuse, compensation, resettlement and others may arise.
“It is the duty of the GRC, who are community members to refer those that require referrals to the relevant authorities and address those issues within their purview and when they can’t, they are to report to the local lovernment level.
“It’s going to be unfortunate if you are bringing something good to a community and that thing in the end has a negative impact on the community and you are unable to mitigate that,” she added.
She charged the GRC members to be diligent in discharging their responsibility and contribute their quota towards the development and growth of their respective communities.
The Council Chairman, Yunana Barde thanked the Kaduna programme implementation unit for selecting Jema’a as one the six pilot LGAs of the project.
While pledging council’s support to facilitate successful implementation of the project, Barde said water and sanitation were central to the wellbeing of mankind, hence the need to prioritise SURWASH.
The six pilots LGAs for the Kaduna SURWASH project include Soba, Chikun, Igabi, Sabon Gari, Jaba and Jema’a.