Some Impediments to the Achievement of Sanitation for all in Nigeria
Indeed a lot of effort has been made in the area of sanitation in Nigeria and just like many reports suggest a lot still needs to be done mostly in the area of behaviour change. Although cost may be one of the reasons for low latrine uptake in the rural areas, there are yet many other factors responsible for this slow pace to achieving the sanitation for all goal, some of these factors are mind-blowing but yet cogent reasons.
1. Myths and Customs: Some communities I have worked-in in Nigeria believe that when you defecate in a house (referring to the latrine/toilet building) you become very poor. In other words open defecation is seen in the community as a path to becoming rich. I keep wondering how this perception can ever be changed. Some say they cannot defecate in the same house that they inhabit since it is an abomination to do that.
2. This practice may also not end because in some other communities especially where the female folks are restricted, going to the bush or open land to defecate provides an opportunity for the females to get to meet their men folks who seldom see them as a result of the restriction.
3. There is also the aspect of politicization of the ODF (Open Defecation Free) status of communities as some organisations working in the WASH sector who have adopted the CLTS approach set unrealistic targets to achieve within limited time frames. This ultimately leads to falsification of figures and rash judgements regarding the statuses of communities.
4. Lack of follow up after ODF certification of communities is yet another reason as my work in the rural areas suggests. Some communities where their status had been ODF over time revert back to the OD status when the heat cools down. In other words they opted to make their community ODF just to be included amongst those in similar categories as a mark of prestige.