WASH policy gets approved by the Lagos state government
The National Water, Sanitation and Hygiene policy was approved in year 2000 and it envisioned institutional and policy reforms at state levels. The broad objectives of the national WASH policy was to improve access to adequate, affordable and sustainable water supply through the active participation of the Federal, State and local government, NGOs, Development partners, private sector, communities, households and individuals for improved health outcomes for urban and rural dwellers. Though Lagos state keyed into the aspect of the policy that supports public private partnership (PPP) in 2007, its focus was on water supply, while sanitation and hygiene was conspicuously neglected. In 2010, the state set up a state Wastewater Management Office under the Lagos state Water Corporation, which effected several reforms in the state’s water sector, including the rehabilitation of water treatment plants and water, however, the WASH policy review failed to secure government signature up until 2015.
Since then, Save the Children International via the Stop Diarrhoea Initiative (SDI) project, has directed concerted efforts towards ensuring that the Government of Lagos creates an enabling policy environment for guaranteeing water, sanitation and hygiene for the people of Lagos state. After a series of attempts, the process reached a culmination in 2015, when the Government set up a platform comprising key stakeholders in Lagos state’s water sector to form the WASH Advisory Council. Amongst other key engagements with the Council, the Council came together in 2017 during a 4- day retreat supported by SCI to review and harmonize the national WASH policy with the Lagos state Environmental Law of 2017, and domesticate it into a state- level policy. Another success story from the WASH Policy Advocacy process is the domestication of the Program on Expanded Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (PEWASH) by Lagos state. The PEWASH is a Federal government initiative that supports Public Private Partnership (PPP). The PEWASH enables the state to benefit from the World Bank and EU funded Federal government counterpart funding for WASH.
Following this, SCI through advocacy effort actively supported the Council with the development of a costed- implementation plan for the actualization of the policy. These and other sustained efforts created critical pressure on the Offices Commission for the Lagos State Ministry of the Environment and the Permanent Secretary of the same, to escalate their engagement with the Governor towards adopting and endorsing the WASH policy of the state.
Despite the constant flux in the leadership of the Ministry which slowed down the policy validation process, SCI was greeted by the cheering news on March 12, 2018, when the Ministry communicated that the WASH policy has finally been approved by the Executive Governor. The SDI project will continue to sustain its ongoing support to the WASH Advisory Council, while monitoring the progress of implementation of the WASH Policy, in addition to accelerating the process towards achieving a final draft of the cost implementation framework.