The Federal Government on Monday inaugurated the National Youth Volunteer Programme for hand washing and clean Nigeria campaign for Coronavirus (COVID-19) prevention in Enugu State.
Alhaji Suleiman Adamu, Minister of Water Resources, during the event, said that the campaign was aimed at stemming the spread of COVID-19.
Adamu, who was represented by a director in the ministry, Mrs Kogbara Ayaba, said that the programme would involve the engagement of hundred youth volunteers in each of the 774 local government areas across the country for community sensitisation.
He said that the programme would centre on over three months campaign on safe Water, Sanitation, Hygiene (WASH) practices for COVID-19 prevention.
“The national youth volunteer programme is one of the interventions of the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Water Resources to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Aside the health emergency occasioned by the outbreak of the pandemic, it has also brought about severe socioeconomic consequences globally with great impact on Nigeria,” he said.
Adamu said that the situation had heightened the vulnerability of significant part of Nigeria’s population most of which were youths that were unable to find gainful employment.
The minister said that the approval of the programme was part of Federal Government’s National Economic Sustainability Plan aimed at rebuilding the economy and stimulate job creation.
“This aligns with the risk communication and community engagement and effectual prevention control pillars under the global COVID-19 strategic response.
“In line with these, the Federal Government has provided intervention support to states for the rehabilitation and construction of 495 boreholes to enable people have access to water supply,” he said.
Adamu said that the awareness creation became imperative so as to maximize the benefits of having access to safe water facilities.
In an address, the UNICEF WASH Manager, Ms Mamita Thakkar, said that the focus of the programme was on a COVID-19 response through community actions around hand washing.
According to Thakkar, the programme marks a major step towards bringing WASH at the centre stage of COVID-19 response with hand washing and hygiene as the pillars.
“The Federal and state governments have already embarked on an ambitious plan of making the country open defecation free by 2025.
“Enugu State has already declared emergency on WASH and launched the inter-ministerial committee on the water sector and drafted the roadmap to achieving it,” she said.
She said that the open defecation free interventions in the 17 local government areas of the state would soon be rolled out using Igboetiti as a pilot local government area for the takeoff.
In an address, the Permanent Secretary, Enugu State Ministry of Water Resources, Dr Nwonye Ada-John said that 100 youths would be engaged per local government area for the campaign.
Ada-John said that the state would go the extra mile to ensure that it ranked among the first to end open defecation by 2025. (NAN)