In June, 2016, CHESIDS launched an initiative to encourage young people to make impact on the health of disadvantaged rural or urban slum communities. In the first round, over a hundred applications were received from young people wishing to make an impact in communities located in North Central Nigerian states. The successful candidate, Eziedo Chidubem, presented the Zhilu Village, Jabi-Abuja as his beneficiary community and sought to make impact in the health of community members by addressing their sanitation and hygiene.
CHESIDS has provided financial and technical assistance to this successful candidate in pursuance of his vision.
One objective of the intervention was to increase community members’ knowledge on the practices of good sanitation and hygiene and to demonstrate good practice(s) in waste disposal. In a bid to achieve these set objectives, a sensitization exercise was organized for the community members. The exercise held on 8th of October, 2016 within the community and had about 161 community members in attendance. As part of the exercise, the community members received information on Waste Disposal, Poor sanitation, Hygiene and Water Purification (with a demonstration on one water treatment method). A demonstration was also carried out on proper hand washing technique. They were also educated on ways to improve sanitation and hygiene in the community to prevent diseases. As part of the day’s events, community members were offered examination and screening for Blood pressure, Malaria and HIV. Those who tested positive to malaria were administered anti-malarial drugs while those with abnormal blood pressure and HIV test results received referrals and/or prescriptions depending on their test results and medical history. Antihelminthic drugs were also administered to all the children present.
The second phase of the intervention involved the construction of three public pour-flush toilets for use by community members and as a model for good sanitation practice. The toilet facility was commissioned on 16th November, 2016 to mark the World Toilet Day.
The Esu of Zhilu Village, Chief Abraham D. Abeyi, expressed happiness on the provision of the toilet facility for his community and also lauded the Youth Volunteer, Eziedo Chidubem, who presented his community for the intervention. He pledged his support for any such program in the community and also promised to oversee the maintenance of the toilets commissioned.
In her remarks, CHESIDS’ founding director, Dr Charity Chenge reiterated the importance of community members in securing, maintaining and promoting the use of the toilets as a collective responsibility. She also encouraged community members, especially the youths in the community to come up with such interventions that will aid in the development of the community.
Community leaders and members who were in attendance at the commissioning ceremony, expressed their joy and relieve explaining that it will go a long way in reducing the incidence of open defecation in the community.
The construction of the facility, which lasted for about one month, provided job opportunities for some youth members in the community who worked as artisans at the site.