An NGO, Connected Development (CODE), said on Thursday that a total of 609 public schools in Kaduna State have no toilet and water facilities. The Executive Officer of the organization, Hamzat Lawal, made the disclosure during a visit to the state Deputy Governor, Dr Hadiza Balarabe in Kaduna. The organisation was at the Government House to present an award it received from the United Nations on its activities in Kaduna state. He explained that CODE’s focus was on tracking the execution of the N500 million UBEC funded schools projects in the state, to ensure proper execution according to specifications.
Lawal disclosed that in the two years they have conducted need assessments, 609 schools were found to have no toilet and water facilities among other challenges. “We are looking at how government can put more resources to meet the need of the 609 schools and one critical issue is the need to build more toilets and provide water facilities,” he said. According to him, the provision of toilet and water facilities in schools will help raise girls enrollment in schools. The official said CODE is currently working to enhance and build capacity around data collection, data management and republishing, as well as get more citizens engaged in tracking government projects to ensure service delivery, transparency and accountability.
He added that the NGO had empowered marginalized communities to access information by creating an avenue for debate with government officials as part of its “follow the money” initiative to ensure that projects impacted on the communities. “We also strengthen the capacity of the schools monitoring teams and community-based organizations,” he added, and called on UBEC to hold quarterly meetings with relevant legislators to bridge funding gaps. In her response, the state deputy governor commended the organisation for its support to the development of education in the state. Balarabe said the state government was committed to putting all structures in place to make life better for the citizens.
“We want our strength to transmit into action to make a difference, we are ever ready as a government to partner and work for progress,” she said. She said, “we are proud to have youth like you championing such cause for Nigeria and around the world.” The deputy governor stressed that the government was already committed towards enhancing the education sector and the WASH program, and would welcome constructive criticisms from outside, to get better views on its activities and improve on it.