The Community-Based Initiative for Growth and Sustainability (C-BIGS), a grantee of the Agents for Citizen-Driven Transformation (ACT) programme has improved sanitation and hygiene practices in Zuba and Pyakasa communities in the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria. This has helped to reduce the spread of cholera in the target and hotspot communities from about 81 reported cases and 3 deaths in Zuba in 2021 to zero cases in the same community in 2022.
Having received grant from the ACT programme in 2021 with the objective of improving sanitation and hygiene practices in Zuba and Pyakasa communities, C-BIGS embarked on advocacy, community visits, sensitisation and trainings, modelling of hygiene best practices, water treatment and support to the national plan for the control of cholera.
At the end-of-project dissemination organised by C-BIGS in Kubwa, Abuja, on 2nd August 2022, the Executive Director of C-BIGS, Seyi Olagundoye reported that the project directly reached at least 500 households with the distribution of water purification tablets (aqua tabs), and indirectly 5,000 people who are benefitting from the public water sources that have been monitored and made safe. The project as well brought an increased collaboration between the community and the environmental and health workers.
As a sustainability strategy, volunteers from Zuba and Pyakasa communities committed to giving continuity to the sensitisation activities to ensure the communities do not backslide on the hygiene and sanitation practices. The following were represented at the C-BIGS end-of-programme dissemination: the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA), C-BIGS Board of Trustees, Society for Water and Sanitation (NEWSAN), Community hygiene promotion volunteers, the ACT Programme, Environmental Service Workers and the Primary Healthcare Service.
The Village Head of Angwa-Pada village in Zuba, Barau Haruna Zuba, at the dissemination event, appreciated the improved relationships and the work that C-BIGS has done in his community. According to him, “The work that C-BIGS has done has helped us relate with environmental and health workers in a better way. We have come to embrace the fact that we are now working together to improve the health of our people. C-BIGS used a community-responsive approach to work with us and respected our timings before scheduling meetings and advocacy visits. These are some of the soft skills that have enabled them succeed in improving the hygiene and sanitation practices in our community and bringing the number of cholera cases to zero in 2022.”
Before disbursing grants to Civil Society Organisations, the ACT programme provides a wide range of information, training and skills transfer that enable grantees succeed in the specific projects for which the grants were intended. As of June 2022, over 100 grants have been disbursed by the ACT Programme to organisations across its 10 focal states for strategic interventions in local communities.