Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

Clean water, basic toilets and good hygiene practices are essential for the survival and development of children. See how UNICEF is supporting the Government of Nigeria to provide access to these basic needs for children.

A girl with a glass of water
UNICEF/2018/Esiebo

The Challenge

Poor access to improved water and sanitation in Nigeria remains a major contributing factor to high morbidity and mortality rates among children under five. The use of contaminated drinking water and poor sanitary conditions result in increased vulnerability to water-borne diseases, including diarrhoea which leads to deaths of more than 70,000 children under five annually.

Seventy-three per cent of the diarrhoeal and enteric disease burden is associated with poor access to adequate water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), and is disproportionately borne by poorer children. Frequent episodes of WASH related ill-health in children, contribute to absenteeism in school, and malnutrition. Only 26.5 per cent of the population use improved drinking water sources and sanitation facilities. Also, 23.5 per cent of the population defecate in the open.

Children bathing in a stream
UNICEF/2018/Esiebo

The use of contaminated drinking water and poor sanitary conditions result in increased vulnerability to water-borne diseases. Only 26.5 per cent of the population use improved drinking water sources and sanitation facilities.

Achieving Sustainable Development Goal 6 by 2030 requires extraordinary efforts. Based on World Bank estimates, Nigeria will be required to triple its budget or at least allocate 1.7 per cent of the current Gross Domestic Product to WASH. The ambition is highest for rural sanitation where the gap for improved services is 64.1 per cent. Funding for the sub-sector is weak, and significant household contribution is needed to eliminate open defecation despite low family incomes. 

Solution

Women getting water from a tap

Provision of equitable access to water, sanitation and hygiene services. 

A woman beside a sanitary latrine.

 Strengthen government efforts to eradicate the practice of open defecation.

A boy washes his hands at a handwashing station in his home

Strengthen tailored community approaches to total sanitation including Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) in rural, peri-urban and riverine settings.

Two schoolgirls at a water facility provided by UNICEF at their school.

Strengthen national and subnational bodies’ capacity to develop and implement equitable and gender-sensitive WASH policies, strategies and guidelines.

A girl drinking water from a cup

Ensure sustainability of water services in rural communities.

Resources