WaterAid Receives Major Grant From Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for Program in Nigeria

Aug 15, 2012, 09:00 ET from WaterAid

NEW YORK, Aug. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- WaterAid has received a grant of up to $6.3 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that aims to enhance the lives of thousands of poor people in Nigeria through improvements to sanitation.

Across the globe, 2,000 children die every day from diarrheal diseases caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation.  In sub-Saharan Africa, 223 million people have no toilet at all, while 193 million do not have adequate sanitary facilities. Nigeria, the country with the largest population in Africa, is no exception: 103 million people have to defecate in the open or have an "unimproved" or shared latrine.

In addition to the devastating loss of life and impact on health, the costs associated with illness caused by poor sanitation exact a heavy toll on countries' economic growth.  Lack of water, sanitation and hygiene costs Sub-Saharan African countries more in lost GDP than the entire continent gets in development aid.

Over the course of four years, the project supported by the Gates Foundation will improve sanitation in local government areas across three states of Nigeria, bringing about open defecation-free (ODF) status in numerous communities, and bringing affordable and sustainable sanitation services to thousands of people.

The project will build on WaterAid's years of experience of applying and adapting the community-led total sanitation (CLTS) approach in Nigeria. CLTS is an innovative methodology for mobilizing communities to completely eliminate open defecation.

"The Gates Foundation has once again invested in improving the lives of millions of the world's poorest people. We are thrilled that they have decided to support our work in Nigeria," said Dr. David Winder, CEO of WaterAid in America.

WaterAid has worked in Nigeria since 1995, assisting with addressing the huge need for water and sanitation. WaterAid works in seven local areas, in partnership with established non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and state and local governments, according to each area's needs.

WaterAid transforms lives by improving access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation in the world's poorest communities. We work with partners and influence decision-makers to maximize our impact. We enable the world's poorest people to gain access to safe water and sanitation. Together with improved hygiene, these basic human rights underpin health, education and livelihoods, forming the first essential step in overcoming poverty.