A group, Rural Africa Water Development Project (RAWDP) has urged students, traders, rural dwellers and other stakeholders in Imo State to partner with efforts that would help preserve and sanitize water for healthy usage.
The group made the call at the official flag-off of a project known as the “Resilient Watershed for All” aimed at improving water security, biodiversity, community development and climate change in the state.
With sponsorship from Coca-Cola Foundation, RAWDP also launched, “Water and Sanitation Club” in primary and secondary schools across the state to help enhance water preservation and sanitation.
Speaking at the event held in Owerri, the Chief Executive Officer, Ogechi Ezeji said the project was largely a community-based intervention “that focuses on watershed governance, sanitizing and protecting watershed sources through the conservation of forest and woodland ecosystems.
According to her, “the project will help Imo State communities, especially Health Care Facilities (HCF), Schools, Motor Parks and Markets in over 25 locations in the state to secure safely managed water and sanitation services and retard the prevalence of water-borne illnesses.
She said: “Over a 24-month period, this project is set to reach a total of 2.5 million people across the three urban local government areas of Owerri North, Owerri West and Owerri Municipal LGAs of Imo State. This intervention will restore and replenish over 15,000m3 of riparian landscape using nature-based solutions especially riparian buffers on the riverbank.”
“By adopting nature-based solutions, implementing robust water management practices, and fostering community engagement, we can safeguard our precious water resources in the target communities,” she added.
In their remarks, the state Commissioner for Water Resources, Dame Ann-Dozie and Director, Public Affairs, Communication and Sustainability, Coca-Cola Nigeria, Nwamaka Onyemelukwe, who represent the President of Coca-Cola Foundation, Saadia Madsbjerg applauded the project and pledged the continued support of the Imo State government and Coca-Cola to ensure that the objectives of the project were achieved.
“The Coca-Cola Foundation will continue to improve access to safe water, facilitating sanitation and reliable protection of natural water resources in Nigeria through meaningful partnerships with the government, the private sector, non-governmental organisations and local communities.” Onyemelukwe assured.