As the world counts down to the 2030 United Nations’ clean water and sanitation goal, Guinness Nigeria, as part of its sustainable development strategy, has maintained its commitment towards the provision of potable water across communities in Nigeria. For Guinness, achieving this objective is sacrosanct for attaining the desired global wellbeing.
The assurance was given during the donation of a mini water project to members of the Angwan Albarka Community in Nasarawa State. The project, which was commissioned under the Diageo Africa Water of Life Programme, will bring succor to the over 50,000 thousand residents of the community, who have had to deal with sourcing for portable water for many years.
At the commissioning of the project, the Head of Agribusiness, Guinness Nigeria, Mrs. Jacquelyne Yawa explained that to live healthy, access to clean water cannot be substituted; hence, the desire for Guinness Nigeria to contribute its quota in support of government’s effort in this regard.
“For us and the people of Angwan Albarka Community, this project marks an important milestone. As part of our ongoing commitment to the communities in which we source, make or sell our products, Guinness Nigeria has established several water schemes under the Diageo Africa Water of Life Programme, a project that provides access to clean drinking water and sanitation facilities, thereby contributing to the social-economic development of Nigeria,” Yawa said.
As at the last count, Diageo has completed twenty-two mini water projects across Nigeria to serve millions of people in households and rural communities who may not have access to potable water.
“We have commissioned water mini projects in several states including Abia, Rivers, Lagos, Ogun Niger, Nasarawa, Edo, Benue, Oyo, Imo, Ondo, Enugu, Ekiti, Kwara, Anambra and Kebbi. We are happy that members of these communities appreciate our intervention”, Yawa informed.
It would be recalled that in 2010, Guinness Nigeria initiated the first-ever business imperative round table, which aimed to advance existing corporate, practices around water and identify the roles businesses in supporting effective water policies. The forum, which attracted several multinationals in the country, as well as local companies, made valuable recommendations to support the realization of the sustainable development goals, part of which Guinness is presently executing.
“Since the initial meeting on sustainable water, we have continued to play an active part in water advocacy with other multinationals in the country, non-government agencies, states governments, and even the academia. We congratulate people of Angwan Albarka community, the latest beneficiaries and we hope they will put this facility to good use”, Yawa stated.
Speaking on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Assistant Director/Acting Coordinator, Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet Campaign, Mrs. Chizoma Opara encouraged other multinationals to emulate the gesture of Guinness Nigeria by executing more expansive and inclusive CSR programmes that will bring relief to more Nigerians. She applauded Guinness Nigeria and charged residents of the communities that have benefited from the scheme so far, to ensure the facilities are well kept.
“This Company has contributed greatly to the achievement of the UN sustainable development goal (SDG). Through the projects, it has established several WASH schemes that provide access to clean drinking water and toilet facilities for communities across the country. Largely, this gesture has fostered socio-economic development across these communities. However, it must be noted that addressing the issues of water sanitation and hygiene is our collective responsibility.
Therefore, we must be committed to reconciling our actions so as to control water and sanitation-related morbidity and mortality among adults and children especially those below the age of five”, Opara said.
In his remarks, the Executive Chairman, Karu LGA, Nasarawa State, Hon. Samuel Akala, maintained that the state government would always support any initiative that will enhance the wellbeing of the people.
Expressing the appreciation of the Nassarawa State Government, Akala said “we say a big thank you to Guinness Nigeria for putting together this wonderful initiative. The Agwan Albarka Community will forever remain grateful. We promise to maintain this life-changing facility”.
Recently, reports by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) showed that 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 has resulted in increased vulnerability to water-borne diseases, including diarrhea which leads to deaths of more than 70,000 children under five annually.
Seventy-three per cent of the diarrheal 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.