Karu, Nigeria, 22 April 2021 -  Water, Sanitation and Hygiene facilities have been completed and handed over to communities in Karu Local Government Area on the outskirts of Nigeria’s capital Abuja, under a project funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and implemented by UN-Habitat.

The project is part of UN-Habitat Regional Office for Africa’s COVID-19 Response and Resilient Recovery strategy, in partnership with Tulsi Chanrai Foundation and the Karu Local Government.

At a ceremony held in Karu to mark the handing-over of the facilities,  the State Governor Abdullahi Sule, represented by the State Commissioner for Works, Housing and Transport Chief Phillip Dada, stressed that “Water is Life,” and pledged the administration’s commitment to build on the project to expand the provision of urban basic services and guarantee a healthier life for residents.

The Chairman of Karu Local Government, Samuel Akala Gajere, urged  communities to take ownership of the project to ensure that the facilities are well taken care of. He commended the implementing partners for the quality of the work and pledged closer collaboration with UN-Habitat.

The ceremony was also attended by the Speaker and officials of Karu Local Government, traditional rulers and community leaders, WASH Committee (WASHCOM) members, school children and representatives of various community groups.

Karu is a densely populated Local Government Area in Nasarawa State. A substantial proportion of the population commute each day into Abuja, which has the second highest rate of COVID-19 infections in the country.

Some 100,000 residents will be served by boreholes with solar pumps in the six communities, namely Masaka, Ado, Uke, Keffin Sanu, Kugbaru and Koso with a network of hand washing and water fetching points to three locations from each borehole.

Children in Uke, Karu, Nigeria wait to collect water from the new UN-Habitat facility funded by SIDA
Children in Uke, Karu, Nigeria wait to collect water from the new UN-Habitat facility funded by SIDA

WASHCOMS were established in each participating community and members were trained in the basic management to ensure equitable usage. To guarantee effective maintenance of the facilities, two local mechanics were trained and provided with tool kits, while a community trader was supplied with spare parts to guarantee an adequate supply of replacement parts.

The project also included teaching on hygiene practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other communicable dieases at three community schools. Safety kits were procured for 287 waste collectors, with 100 of them distributed after an orientation session before the formal handing over ceremony.

The COVID-19 Response and Resilient Recovery project will also involve updating existing urban data and the production of a Karu Urban Profile to facilitate evidence-based development planning while local government and state officials will be trained in data collection and analysis to facilitate the COVID-19 response in the state.