Some interventions take time before their impact hit the benefiting communities. Others, like the Galinja Small Town Water Scheme, commissioned by the Head of the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ambassador Ketil Karlsen, in Madobi Local Government Area of Kano state on September 25, 2019, make immediate impact. The excitement that coursed through the large crowd of grateful locals as clean water responded to the turning of the tap to signal the end of a communal nightmare was enough proof that the people's lives were changing for the better.
"This is a great relief because lack of water has been a big problem in this community, the Village Head of Galinja, Mallam Hassan Yahaya, told the EU Ambassador.
From the old to the small children that witnessed the well-attended event, it was clear that the people of Galinja understood what that project means for the community. The water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities will serve 9,000 inhabitants of the community.
The Kano state government is also excited by the completion of the project. The State Head of Service, Dr. Kabiru Shehu, who stood in for Governor Abdullahi Ganduje at the commissioning, said the gesture resonated with the state government's policy of addressing the gap in social infrastructure in the state. "This is a good intervention, and Kano state is happy to be a beneficiary of the great works that the EU is doing in Nigeria. This particular project is close to the heart of the governor," he said.
Ambassador Karlsen expressed the joy of the EU in funding the initiative, considering the significance of accessible WASH facilities to the well-being of the people, especially children who turned out in large numbers to witness the event. "The right of children to access safe water should not be compromised. If they don’t have access to safe water, there is immediate impact on their health, which impacts on their education, and therefore, on development," he said.
Noting that the EU was proud to work together with the Kano state government in providing this new facility, he said the need for such intervention has become more urgent, given that President Muhammadu Buhari had declared a nationwide state of emergency on the WASH sector.
According to him, millions of Nigerians – over 25 per cent of the population – have no access to clean water and hygiene facilities, hence the need for sustained effort to address the problem. "Today in Galinja, we have taken a small but significant step in the right direction by providing 9,000 inhabitants with drinking water. This is a tiny corner of our collaboration here," he said.
The Galinja Small Town Water Scheme is implemented in the framework of the EU assisted Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Reform Programme Phase II (WSSSRP II). The facilities under WSSSRP II are designed on the basis of community ownership, operation and maintenance. Upon its completion, 100,000 households in about 61 small towns of the state will benefit from improved water supply and sanitation facilities, to the tune of about four million litres of potable water daily.