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Improving water and sanitation in Dindima, Bauchi State, Nigeria / Radio Scripts / Farm Radio International

Package 86, Script 7
December 2008

Improving water and sanitation in Dindima, Bauchi State, Nigeria

Notes to Broadcaster

Water is life. After air, the next important and essential need of humans is water. Water is also important to plants and animals. Moreover, the industrial world could not do without water. The relevance of water to humans and their environment is unlimited, and the environment is central to the survival of any human society. Not having clean water or good facilities for the community to urinate and defecate in was a big problem for Dindima community in Bauchi State, Nigeria.

Dindima is a town 38 kilometres from Bauchi city, and is the gateway to Yankari National Park, a tourist haven. While the inhabitants of Dindima regret using bushes as toilets and a dumping ground, until recently they had no other option. The problem was that Dindima slums lacked public toilets and a clean drinking water supply.

WaterAid began its operations in Nigeria in 1995 and extended its activities to Bauchi and Plateau states in 1999. WaterAid Nigeria works through local partners to help communities set up low-cost, sustainable projects using appropriate technologies that can be managed by the community itself.

In this three-part series, we will look at water and sanitation in Dindima, Bauchi State, Nigeria, where a radio host interviewed beneficiaries of the projects carried out by WaterAid Nigeria in collaboration with the Development Exchange Centre, a Nigerian NGO. On the 23rd of July 2008, the radio host visited Dindima, where he asked members of Dindima community what they experienced in terms of water and sanitation before the intervention of WaterAid Nigeria in collaboration with the Development Exchange Centre (DEC) Bauchi. The first part of this three-part series is an interview with one of the traditional leaders in Dindima.

This three-part script could be aired at the same time slot on three consecutive days or three consecutive weeks, or it could be aired all at once.

This script is based on actual interviews, conducted with villagers in northern Nigeria. To produce this script on your station, you might choose to use voice actors to represent the villagers, and change the wording in the script to make it suitable for your local situation. If so, please make sure to tell your audience at the beginning of the program that the voices are those of actors, not the original people involved in the interviews, and that the program has been adapted for your local audience, but is based on real interviews.

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Presenter: Hello and welcome. Today, we begin a three-part series on water and sanitation in Dindima, Bauchi State, Nigeria. I have a guest with me in the studio. (To the guest) First of all, we would like you to introduce yourself.

Danlami Muhammadu Rumfa: I'm happy to be part of the programme and to welcome you to our community. My name is Danlami Muhammadu Rumfa, and I am the Sarkin Yamman Galambi here in Dindima (Editor's note: This man is a traditional ruler in the community and Sarkin Yamman Galambi is his title).

Presenter: Before the arrival of two NGOs – the Development Exchange Centre, also known as DEC, and WaterAid Nigeria in Dindima – what was the situation with water and sanitation in this community?

Danlami Muhammadu Rumfa: The situation was very bad. Four to five years ago, DEC came here and started their work with our women. They taught them about many things. They gave them loans to be paid back at the end of the year. These loans allowed the women to set up small businesses where they made soap, pomade and groundnut oil. After three rounds of these loans, they asked the women what kinds of health problems they were facing. The women informed DEC that their town is a transit area where passengers come at all times of the day. In the process, these passengers used our backyards as their toilets. When the rainy season came, the water carried away the faeces and dumped it in our houses and in our sources of drinking water. This contaminated our drinking water. When our women told DEC, they promised to assist them, but with the co-operation and involvement of the people in the area.

Presenter: Please tell me exactly how DEC assisted the women in Dindima.

Danlami Muhammadu Rumfa: DEC came to us to discuss how to construct latrine slabs. They organized workshops for us in Dindima on how to build them. Three or four of us have learned how to construct and put slabs on our pit latrines. The new pit latrines are located near the mosque, the market, and the primary school, as well as near some houses. We do the digging and put the slabs on top and cement them, which helps tremendously in reducing the way passengers use our backyards or anywhere they like as toilets. DEC had helped us to construct a toilet near the mosque in Dindima, where we dug a pit latrine and put the slab. There is a side for urinating and one for defecation. If a stranger comes and we notice he is trying to urinate or defecate in the open, we draw his attention to the toilet. After that the DEC people asked us what other problems we face in Dindima.

Presenter: And how did the people respond?

Danlami Muhammadu Rumfa: We told them that we lacked good drinking water. We told them that we had ten to twenty hand-dug wells, but they did not give clean drinking water. The town is on a river bank, but the water contains dirt and faeces, so was not good to drink. They agreed to assist us to make boreholes, but the community had to collaborate with DEC to achieve our goals. We contributed financially. After six months DEC returned, we gave them what we had saved, and they helped us to sink boreholes. Now the whole of Dindima community relies on these boreholes for water, unlike before when we used to fetch water from the river and add alum before drinking it. So, to be honest, we gained a lot from DEC. They also taught us how to purify the water we get from the river.

Presenter: How is the water purified?

Danlami Muhammadu Rumfa: Inside the pipe which carries the water from the river, they have placed charcoal, sand and small pebbles. When the water is filtered through these materials, it is purified. You know, we were involved in all these projects because of the relationship that existed between our women and DEC. As I told you, before the arrival of DEC, we were fetching our drinking water from the river Dindima. Everyone knows about water from the river. It came with maize stalks, mud, silt and all sorts of dirt, but we had to use it since we didn't have clean water from our wells. As a result of using such water, we had problems such as cholera, diarrhea and other health problems. But now things have changed for us. Now you rarely find cases of stomach ache, typhoid or any other kind of sickness.

Presenter: I understand that, due to purdah, the women of Dindima were not able to access water and sanitation facilities outside of their yards, and that this was one reason why the women requested help from DEC.

Danlami Muhammadu Rumfa: Yes, that is true. Not only were public latrines constructed, but the unlined hand-dug wells within the yards of the families were also improved and rehabilitated to supply safe water.

Presenter: You said that DEC sought your co-operation to carry out those projects. Was the co-operation very successful?

Danlami Muhammadu Rumfa: To be truthful, the co-operation was there from the beginning, especially with the youth, who have more Islamic and western education than our elders. At first, people thought that the government had given us contracts for these projects. But when they attended workshops, they began to understand. They agreed that DEC was an organization that was trying to assist our people, and promised to give their support and co-operate. But we had the support of the youth from the start.

Presenter: To sum up, what is your message to development organizations and other people in order to assist communities like Dindima?

Danlami Muhammadu Rumfa: If we can receive assistance from organizations like DEC, the problems of toilets or clean drinking water and many other problems will be bygone issues. We really appreciate the efforts of DEC. So my message to them is to show my appreciation and that of the Dindima community. We say thank you, and may Allah help you to progress further.

Presenter: Listeners, that is the end of the first part of our three-part series on water and sanitation in Dindima in Bauchi State, Nigeria. In the second part of the programme, we shall be talking to other beneficiaries of the projects in Dindima.

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Presenter: Hello and welcome to the programme where we look at water and sanitation in Dindima, Bauchi State, Nigeria. In the first part of the programme, we listened to the traditional ruler of Dindima, who talked about the problems with water and sanitation in Dindima before they came into contact with WaterAid Nigeria and the Development Exchange Centre. In this second part of the programme, we are going to hear from some of the beneficiaries of the projects that were carried out in Dindima.

Haruna Ibrahim Dadin Kowa: My name is Haruna Ibrahim Dadin Kowa, and I am a school teacher at Dindima Primary School. When DEC came to Dindima, the organization used our school for their meetings. When they met us at the school, they used the opportunity, with permission from the headmaster, to help teach our children. With the assistance and co-operation of DEC, we dug pit latrines in our school for male and female pupils, which are still being used. We are praying for DEC's success and hope it will be sustained. We are very grateful. My last appeal is that if the DEC has the means of coming back to continue to assist us, they will be welcomed. I would also like to call on other organizations to follow DEC's example by assisting communities.

Presenter: That was Haruna Ibrahim Dadin Kowa, a primary school teacher in Dindima, explaining how they benefited from the projects on water and sanitation in Dindima. As you have heard, DEC first had its contact with the womenfolk of Dindima. We are now going to listen to one of the women who benefited from the projects that were carried out in Dindima.

Malama Rabi Dindima: My name is Malama Rabi Dindima, the Secretary of the Women's Multi-purpose Co-operative Association in Dindima.

Presenter: How did you come to know about WaterAid and DEC in your community?

Malama Rabi Dindima: We had problems that clouded our lives before the coming of these organizations. Strangers and passengers used our environment as their toilets. We really spoke up about this. DEC provided us with an adult education teacher, and we really learned a lot. Then the issue of drinking water: when rain fell we were drinking contaminated water from the river. DEC assisted us with boreholes. This eased our water problems.

Presenter: Is it true that the organization trained you how to sustain yourselves in terms of trade?

Malama Rabi Dindima: Yes, it's true. We were trained how to make pomade and soap and how to manage our homes. They taught us how to make and prepare food for children to carry to school. Apart from that, they opened an adult education class for women. They provided the blackboard, books, paid teachers' salaries and other things. The adult education led to the opening of an Islamiyya school that still teaches our children – boys and girls – and adult women. It was the coming of DEC that brought these developments to Dindima.

Presenter: Were you given financial assistance by the organization?

Malama Rabi Dindima: Yes. They assisted us with loans for almost three years as start-up capital. But we later said we were no longer interested, because we had come of age. We now have our own capital. In fact, DEC really empowered us, and we are still working with them.

Presenter: You said you are still with them. In what respect?

Malama Rabi Dindima: They visit us to ensure that we are putting in practice what they have taught and provided for us, and to ensure that things are really moving smoothly.

Presenter: That was Malama Rabi Dindima, the Secretary of the Women's Multi-purpose Co-operative Association in Dindima, talking about how the womenfolk in Dindima have benefited from the projects carried out in Dindima. And with that, we've come to the end of the programme. In the third and final part of this series on water and sanitation in Dindima, we shall be talking with someone from the Development Exchange Centre in Bauchi city, the organization that carried out those water and sanitation projects in Dindima. Until that time, I'm yours truly, Lawal Ali Garba, saying bye for now.

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Presenter: Good day and welcome to our third and final programme on water and sanitation in Dindima, Bauchi State, Nigeria. Today we are going to look at the role of the Development Exchange Centre in carrying out water and sanitation projects in Dindima. With me on the programme is an official from DEC's Bauchi office. Madam, you are welcome to the programme. To get the ball rolling, could you please tell our listeners who you are?

Fayne Audu John: My name is Fayne Audu John. I'm the Programme Officer, at the Development Exchange Centre, Bauchi.

Presenter: How did the work of the Development Exchange Centre evolve in Nigeria?

Fayne Audu John: The Development Exchange Centre or DEC was born out of research that was conducted in 1989 by CUSO, a Canadian NGO, in collaboration with the Agency for Adult and Non-Formal Education. As a result of the research findings, a Centre was established to address some of the gaps identified by the research in terms of the disadvantaged state of women. That is how DEC came into being.

Presenter: What is your relationship with the non-governmental organization called WaterAid?

Fayne Audu John: WaterAid is a UK-based non-governmental charitable organization. They operate in a number of countries, including Nigeria. When they came to Bauchi in 2000, they were looking for implementing partners, local NGOs that could help them to implement the kind of water and sanitation work they do. So, we are collaborating with WaterAid. In essence, they provide the funds and we carry out the water and sanitation activities.

Presenter: There was a project carried out by WaterAid in conjunction with DEC in Dindima, and we have visited that project. The community there informed us that you performed a lot of work there, such as providing pit latrines and clean drinking water. Why do you involve yourselves in such projects?

Fayne Audu John: As I said, DEC was established for women's empowerment and the development of communities. Now, if you look at Dindima, you can see it is strategically located. It is a place where passersby stop to pray, and it is also a link to Yankari Game Reserve. All through the year, a lot of people stop over on their way to either Gombe or Yankari National Park, and some come outside to urinate or defecate. Because they are in a hurry, they just go to the surrounding bushes. So the whole place was littered.

Presenter: How did DEC's involvement in Dindima begin?

Fayne Audu John: We don't intervene in a community unless that community has expressed their need. But this was what happened with Dindima. I am happy to say that Dindima was one of our pilot projects. The project in Dindima is about seven to eight years old today. I am happy that people can still see some of these things we accomplished together, and the community can testify that such work was done, and that they are still reaping the benefit of the projects. So, like I said, we intervened because the community members themselves said that they needed such things. When we went out for an assessment, we really saw their need. What we did was provide them with a public latrine near the mosque and latrines in their households. We also provided them with boreholes and other things like micro-finance to start small businesses.

Presenter: Apart from expressing their interest in water and sanitation projects, did the community contribute to the projects?

Fayne Audu John: Yes, yes! To ensure sustainability, we have always encouraged that. Take, for example, the water and sanitation projects you've seen in Dindima. A percentage of the funds for those projects were contributed by the community. We encourage that, so the community will know that this thing is their own; it is not a case of somebody coming to provide the facility for them and then off the person goes. Because then, when that facility develops a problem, they will be expecting the person who has provided that facility to come and fix the problem. The community has to be involved.

Presenter: So the community contributes financially to such projects?

Fayne Audu John: Yes, the community members contribute financially and also in-kind. For example, we simply provided the cement for the latrines that were built in Dindima. The community had to dig the holes and do all the other work. This is to ensure that the communities are involved and they know that this project is their own, and when it develops problems, it is their own responsibility to look after it. These projects are not all about DEC. DEC is not even in the community to enjoy these facilities! It is the communities that enjoy such facilities. I want to call on them to ensure that anything that was provided, they should guard it jealously and know that this thing is their own. The responsibility of taking care of that facility rests solely with them.

Presenter: Indeed! Thank you, Ms. Fayne Audu John, Programme Officer, Project and Training, at the Development Exchange Centre, Bauchi, for honouring our invitation and shedding more light on why you intervened to help provide water and sanitation facilities at Dindima, Bauchi State, Nigeria. And now we come to the end of our programme, a three part series on water and sanitation in Dindima, Bauchi State, Nigeria. Until we meet again, I remain yours truly, Lawal Ali Garba.

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  • Contributed by: Lawal Ali Garba, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, Kaduna, a Farm Radio International radio partner.
  • Reviewed by: Alan Etherington, independent consultant in water, sanitation and hygiene promotion, and ex-WaterAid staff.

Information sources

Special thanks to the Harbinger Foundation for supporting this script package on water and sanitation.