Society

Interactive map uses data to combat water poverty in Nigeria

Abuja-based Media for Community Change is working to make sure everyone has access to clean water.

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An interactive online platform has launched in Nigeria with the aim of combating water poverty.

The Data4WASH programme was launched on Aug. 27, 2020, through a partnership between Abuja-based nonprofit Media for Community Change and US-based NGO, BLI Global.

It has been designed for open source use, and is working to highlight key areas in Nigeria that are in need of water improvement facilities — while also showcasing those areas that have achieved strong water and sanitation facilities to serve as an example.

The platform will create a map, by aggregating data and mapping these with GPS coordinates, to make a case for driving investment in the design and installation of proper water and sanitation facilities in communities experiencing water poverty.

Across Nigeria, vast numbers of people don’t yet have access to clean water and adequate hygiene facilities — an issue that has exacerbated the threat of COVID-19, with millions unable to carry out health and safety measures like handwashing.

According to WaterAid, around 60 million people in Nigeria lack access to clean water supply services, while an estimated 150 million people lack basic handwashing facilities with soap and water.

Data4WASH’s CEO, Jimoh Oluwatobi Segun, described the platform ahead of its launch as one that would highlight those areas in need of improved facilities.

The idea is to empower communities to provide data to the platform, and then use that data to identify areas of water stress and poor sanitation in developing countries — with Nigeria acting as a pilot for the initiative.

Maria Auma Horne, co-founder and CEO of BLI Global, said the platform would be a great way to drive financial and technical support to communities in Nigeria — and gradually to communities in other countries that need improved sanitation facilities and access to clean and safe drinking water.

She also commended the University of Ibadan, Oyo State, for engaging final year students of the Department of Statistics in the data collection process.

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