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October 19, 2019370

When my daughters were small they had a favorite bit of doggerel that prefigured some early feminist leanings.

“Girls go to college to get more knowledge/Boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider,” they would chant at me, and, with more evident passion, at any young males in their vicinity. I’d try to take issue with the grammatical betise in the second line that, I would point out, slightly undermined the premise of the jibe, but it was no good. Girls were smarter than boys and immeasurably superior in just about every other respect.

On that, of course, I have never dared demur.

But as it turns out, and as my girls progress with grace and accomplishment up the gilded escalator of their liberal education, there’s a searing piece of truth in that couplet that points up a deep demographic chasm in this country and in much of the developed world.

The gender imbalance in educational attainment is getting larger every year. That may spell good news, ultimately, for income and employment equality—but it presages increasingly problematic social conditions for generations of men and women.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, more than 57% of the class of 2018 who graduated with bachelor’s degrees were female. The gap for master’s degrees was even wider: 59% to 41%.

This gender imbalance has existed since 1981, when more women than men graduated for the first time, and it’s widened just about every single year since then. In fact, the Department estimates that by 2027 women will account for about 60% of all bachelor’s degrees awarded.

Now, from the perspective of economic justice and equity, we can surely stipulate that this is progress. It may be the most tangible piece of evidence of a fundamental change in sexual equality since women were given the vote. If education really is the key to lifetime earning potential, then slowly, perhaps, steadily, we can expect the gap in pay and opportunities to narrow.

I realize of course that there are many other reasons for gender differences in economic outcomes, and many of those aren’t going away. But the impact of a more highly educated female population in the workforce should be substantial.

But while the economic consequences may play out this way, it’s worth pondering some of the social effects. In the much larger game of life, love and relationships, the growing educational disparity between men and women is a problem.

It is estimated that for every three men with bachelor’s degrees in their 20s and 30s, there are now four women. Most studies of human heterosexual attraction suggest both that intellectual capacity and achievement is an important attractor and that people tend to gravitate toward a partner with roughly the same level of attainment.

But every year, the pool of eligible male graduates is getting smaller relative to the number of women. Now of course college isn’t everything, and many women will find a perfect mate who hasn’t been through the four-year playground of parties, sleeping and the occasional lecture. But the reality is that more of them are going to have to if they want a meaningful relationship.

And there’s a larger problem confronting these new cohorts of well-educated women. It’s always been assumed that women are more selective in seeking out a partner of the opposite sex. Men are notoriously undiscriminating; women, obviously more refined and sophisticated, are more choosy. But with data now available from dating apps we are beginning to get a sense of just how big this gap is too.

Aviv Goldgeier, an engineer with the dating app Hinge, was recently interviewed about data he’d compiled on the “likes” of straight men and women. If we think of attractiveness in terms of an economic asset, we can measure how evenly or unevenly distributed that asset is among men and women. Economists use a measure—the Gini coefficient—to estimate the level of inequality in an economy. The nearer the number is to 0, the more evenly distributed the wealth. The closer it is to 1, the more unequal it is.

It turns out that the Gini index for males is 0.542—a high level of inequality. A small number of men hold most of the attractiveness assets. For women, in the eyes of men, the attractiveness assets were much more evenly spread—a Gini index of just 0.376. Grim confirmation: A much smaller number of men are considered eligible by women than is the case for women as viewed by men.

In other words, when they’ve finished college, it’s women who may need to go to Jupiter to find a decent partner.

This article appeared with original title, A Good Man Is Getting Even Harder to Find on WSJ, and written by Gerard Baker.


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October 15, 201970

By Jonathan Ekhator, WASH Specialist

Osun, NIGERIA – As the sun sets behind the hills of Oke Aladie village, one of the first communities certified as open defecation free (ODF) in Nigeria, Simbiat Afolabi rises from her sitting position to address a group of women gathered for hygiene promotion sessions.

Afolabi is one of the volunteer hygiene promoters trained by the Local Government Area (LGA) Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Department to promote safe hygiene behavior in communities.

As a volunteer, her goal is to ensure that the members of her community embrace safe hygiene practices as the norm.

“I don’t want us to go back to the times when we use to defecate in the open and don’t care about washing our hands after using the toilet or before cooking and eating,” Afolabi said.

Although her community has been declared open defecation free, efforts are still being put into ensuring that they maintain their ODF status. The WASH unit facilitators, with support from UNICEF provide trainings on safe hygiene practices such as proper handwashing at critical times.

In Nigeria, about 50 per cent of the population live in rural areas. But this group of people are disproportionately served and have less access to WASH services than their counterparts in the urban areas.

According to the 2018 WASH National Outcome Routine Mapping (WASH-NORM) conducted by the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and National Bureau of Statistics with support from UNICEF, only 26 per cent of the rural population in Nigeria have access to basic water and sanitation services compared to 45 per cent in urban areas and 30 per cent of rural population practice open defecation compared to 11 per cent in urban areas. Thus, those living in rural areas are about two times less likely to access basic water and sanitation services and are three times more likely to defecate in the open than those in urban areas. If Nigeria is to end open defecation by 2025 and meet the SDGs on water and sanitation by 2030, attention must be given to improving access to WASH services in rural communities.

With the adoption of the “Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet” campaign by the government in May 2019, the momentum to revitalize the WASH sector is growing. UNICEF, through the support of the European Union, DFID and DGIS, is supporting many rural communities to tackle issues related to open defection and poor sanitation and hygiene practices. Through the Community-Led Total Sanitation with Sanitation Marketing and Financing (CLTS++) approach propagated by UNICEF and adopted by the government in 2016, LGA WASH units visit rural communities to facilitate community dialogue processes on open defecation using participatory tools. This enables community members analyze and appraise their sanitation and hygiene situation. During this process, people often realize that they have been eating and drinking food and water contaminated by their own feces. They are also made aware of the negative health, social and economic impacts of poor hygiene practices. To tackle the issue, they all work in collaboration to draw up an action plan to end open defecation in their communities and adopt local solutions for all households to own and use a toilet. Communities and their leaders, with support from state agencies and LGA WASH units, build and strengthen supply chains, link sanitation entrepreneurs to households and create financing opportunities for households to scale up the uptake of improved toilets in their communities.

With the critical role of women in promoting WASH services clearly defined and recognized, women in these rural communities have been placed at the heart of CLTS++ activities. Like Afolabi, these women serve as volunteer hygiene promoters, community influencers, toilet business owners, and key Adashe (community local savings and loans group) and WASH Committee members, who have supported many communities to end open defecation. With support from UNICEF, 8 LGAs (out of 13 ODF LGAs) and over 18,000 communities have attained their ODF status, and the proportion of improved latrines has increased from 40 per cent to over 60 percent since 2016. Narrowing down to Oke Aladie village, all households now own and use a latrine and practice safe hygiene and handwashing at critical times as a result of the influence of women who are amongst the key community leaders that lead the CLTS++ process. A similar trend is taking place in all the 160 communities under Ifedayo LGA. This LGA is on its way to becoming the first to attain LGA-wide open defecation free status in southwest Nigeria.

While these may be early days in the journey to an open defecation free Nigeria, lessons from women in Oke Aladie village who are driven by their passion to see their communities become open defecation free is a beacon of hope for the country. Engaging women in CLTS++ processes such as toilet business owners, WASH entrepreneurs, sanitation or hygiene officers, WASH facility caretakers, amongst other activities, has played vital roles in boosting community ownership of WASH services and women empowerment. Government at all levels, with the support of partner organizations, should continue to engage rural women when facilitating community action to promote safe hygiene and end open defecation in Nigeria.

Jonathan Ekhator is a WASH Specialist at UNICEF Nigeria.


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October 15, 2019170

Save for the relentless desire of some bad eggs in the Nigerian society, Nigeria would have by now been described as a crime free state. This is not unconnected to the equally relentless and new strategies in which the Inspector General of Police’s Intelligent Response Team keep adopting.

Headed by a cool headed, intelligent and smart Abba Kyari, the Response Team has become a thorn in the flesh of deadly criminals and armed robbers, kidnap kingpins and high level perpetrators of crimes in the society that, within 24 hours of any incidence, they swoop on the perpetrators with such amazing surprise.
It could take long in planning but it doesn’t take long for them to make arrest. Take the cases of Evans the kidnapper and the notorious Lord of kidnapping himself, Alhaji Hamisu Bala Wadume still ring a bell across Nigeria.
Kyari knowing how dangerous these men were and how well connected they were, properly drilled his men, went through simulations to ensure all loopholes were plugged before snapping on their heels and subsequently arrested them.
To prove how dangerous one of them was, Wadume was alleged to be well connected with the Nigerian Army such that when he was first arrested in Taraba, it resulted to the brutal murder of three (3) Police Officers and two (2) civilians, and injury to five (5) others.
Such is the danger associated with curbing high level criminality in Nigeria that many Nigerians are left stunned and surprised how Kyari alongside his men still brought them down.
In fact, despite being the head, Kyari enters the fray himself combing forest and bushes in search of kidnappers in their hideouts, something not a few Nigerians have applauded.
Members of Kyari’s IRT told this newspapers that they love to work with him because he takes part in operations himself unlike many ‘ogas’ who sit in their offices to direct the affairs of their offices.
Kyari, who is currently the Deputy Commissioner of police has shown his mettle since joining the police in 2000. His exploit has, apart from Evans and Wadume, led to the arrest of Nigeria’s most dangerous men such as the most wanted Boko-Haram Commander Umar Abdulmalik and Eight of his Terrorists gang members, arrest of Twenty-two Boko-Haram Terrorist gang members responsible for the kidnap of the Chibok School Girls in 2014 and also responsible for series of suicide bombings and several attacks and ambush against security agents in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States.
The team captured the most deadly kidnapper in the history of Nigeria, Henry Chibueze Aka “Vampire” in Owerri, Imo State and his gang members, arrest of the deadly Offa Bank robbers that invaded Offa Town, Kwara State and robbed five commercial Bank. The gang also murdered over Thirty-one innocent Nigerians making it the deadliest bank robbery in the History Of Nigeria.
They also arrested kidnappers who kidnapped a serving Assistant Comptroller of Customs in Portharcourt, and the killers of former Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) Air Marshal Alex Badeh ‘rtd’ along Keffi-Gitata Kaduna Road.
Deadly kidnappers responsible for the kidnap and murder of Mr. John Iheanacho, a staff of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)/President of Eastern Zone Investment Cooperative Society Ltd, in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State was undertaken by IRT under Kyari.
They also swiftly arrested a suspect responsible for the murder of Lieutenant Abubakar Yahaya Yusuf, a serving Naval Officer and his girlfriend, Miss. Lorraine Onye, in Rivers State, just as they arrested the kidnappers responsible for the kidnap of two South African Citizens in Kaduna State.
One of the names that sent shivers down people’s spine then was Abiodun Egunjobi aka Godogodo. He was arrested in Ibadan, Oyo State, a dare devil armed robber responsibled for the death of over Five hundred (500) innocent Nigerians and Police Officers.
The list is endless and keeps expanding stretching the IRT, a team Nigerians solely rely on to solve every crime no matter how dangerous and difficult.
But the undaunted Kyari noted that,  They know that, “criminals are also not happy with us and what we have been doing. Some of them have been sponsoring lies against us. But it is normal; whenever you are fighting crime, they will fight back.”
Some of these criminals are so rich and well connected that if not for the diligent and transparent ways of Kyari and his men, things won’t have been working.
Kyari said,  “These criminals have money and what it takes; they are even richer than us. They use money to sponsor the publication of lies without even crosschecking whether it is true annoying or not.”

He pleaded pointing out that, “This is our country; we don’t have any other country other than Nigeria. So when somebody brings lies against somebody, you investigate it to know whether it is the truth or not before you publish it; that is what we are recommending for our friends in the media.”

According to the Head of Buypower.ng, Benjamin Ufaruna, “The police department has tremendously worked hard to keep Nigerians safe and secure from the terrors of the underworld.

“We wake up every morning and are able to go about our business because of the sacrifices they make on our behalf. They lose their sleep so we can gain ours.”


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October 10, 2019120

By Babtunde Irukera
Pursuant to Section 17 (p) (s) of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act (FCCPA)
The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) strongly condemns acts of sexual harassment and other forms of exploitation in institutions of learning. Students, as consumers of educational services are entitled to safe, secure and liberal educational environments where the relationship between faculty and students promotes confidence and robust knowledge sharing.  Therefore, the FCCPC has consistently taken and urged relevant authorities to take necessary action in response to allegations of inappropriate conduct.
On April 30, 2018 FCCPC requested authorities of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) to act both swiftly and decisively regarding an allegation of inappropriate conduct, specifically, sexual misconduct against a member of faculty that emerged by the disclosure incontrovertible evidence by the victim and student.
The Commission remained in communication with OAU to ensure the investigative and disciplinary process was both transparent and timely.  OAU ultimately disciplined the member of faculty in a decisive manner.  On June 21, 2018, the Commission welcomed and commended OAU’s action.
On October 6, 2019, the Commission again applauded Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) for its unprecedented bold and resolute action in disciplining 15 employees for sexual misconduct, and conduct bordering on corruption.
Subsequent to, and perhaps contemporaneous with these actions, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) was apparently journalistically investigating institutions in West Africa in a Sex For Grades menace.
This investigation has led to swift and commendable responses by the University of Lagos authorities, specifically the suspension of the implicated lecturers and the closure of the “cold room”. The open disclosures and naming by victims and others of possible violators across the country underscores what is essentially a problem of rampant proportions. This conduct is not limited to the identified in this statement. We strongly urge others to take decisive and transparent action as well as limiting enabling fora for such conduct in their school communities.
In the absence of strong, collaborative and coordinated action and a robust policy framework that addresses the demand/solicitation of sex for grades by faculty or student, sexual and non-sexual harassment and other forms of exploitation, the inevitable consequence will severely undermine the educational process and create a cloud of questionability over educational outcomes. Whether as a willing participant, a victim, or an unsolicited student, this insidious practice compromises all and undermines the validity of degrees obtained, or failures/delays in graduating.  Ultimately, it impugns the credibility of our institutions.
The Commission, in furtherance of its mandate to protect consumers, and in recognition of students as a vulnerable group of consumers receiving services from educational institutions and members of faculty that wield substantial power over them, is leading an effort to establish a framework to provide adequate protection and accountability, and to address this obvious and inexcusable pattern that appears prevalent in schools.  The Commission is immediately engaging the Federal Ministry of Education, the National Universities Commission, the Nigeria Police Force, the National Human Rights Commission, the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation, the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, the Federal  Ministry of Youths and Sports, Student Union groups across the country, relevant Civil Society Organizations and other stakeholders, to develop a robust  mechanism to support prevention, retribution and accountability.
As an initial matter, the Commission is interested in harvesting credible intelligence to assist with engaging the relevant school authorities to encourage decisive action, and standing policies regarding sexual harassment, exploitation and other misconduct. The Commission therefore urges anyone with credible information to provide same to our dedicated email: sexforgrades@fccpc.gov.ng<mailto:sexforgrades@fccpc.gov.ng>

Babatunde Irukera is the Chief Executive Officer, Consumer Protection Council, CPC.


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October 7, 2019100


October 7, 201980

Vietnam seems to be the consensus pick for winner of the U.S.-China trade war, as Chinese and other manufacturers shift production to the cheaper Southeast Asian nation. If there’s a loser, at least in terms of missed opportunities, it may be the countries of South Asia.

To understand why, remember that the trade war has only accelerated an important trend a decade in the making. Faced with rising costs, Chinese manufacturers must decide whether to invest in labor-saving automation technologies or to relocate. Those choosing the latter present an enormous opportunity for less-developed countries, as Chinese companies can help spark industrialization and much-needed economic transformation in their new homes.

There may not be another such chance this generation. The only proven pathway to long-lasting, broad-based prosperity has been to build a manufacturing sector linked to global value chains, which raises productivity levels and creates knock-on jobs across the whole economy. This was how most rich nations, not to mention China itself, lifted themselves out of poverty.

Yet the evidence suggests that South Asian countries are lagging behind in attracting manufacturing investment. It’s not just Vietnam that’s racing ahead. African countries, too, are making manufacturing a top priority. Ethiopia alone has openednearly a dozen industrial parks in recent years and set up a world-class government agency to attract foreign investment. The World Bank has lauded sub-Saharan Africa as the region with the highest number of reforms each year since 2012.

A Chinese factory in Ethiopia.
Photographer: Jenny Vaughan/AFP/Getty Images

Vietnam seems to be the consensus pick for winner of the U.S.-China trade war, as Chinese and other manufacturers shift production to the cheaper Southeast Asian nation. If there’s a loser, at least in terms of missed opportunities, it may be the countries of South Asia.

To understand why, remember that the trade war has only accelerated an important trend a decade in the making. Faced with rising costs, Chinese manufacturers must decide whether to invest in labor-saving automation technologies or to relocate. Those choosing the latter present an enormous opportunity for less-developed countries, as Chinese companies can help spark industrialization and much-needed economic transformation in their new homes.

There may not be another such chance this generation. The only proven pathway to long-lasting, broad-based prosperity has been to build a manufacturing sector linked to global value chains, which raises productivity levels and creates knock-on jobs across the whole economy. This was how most rich nations, not to mention China itself, lifted themselves out of poverty.

Yet the evidence suggests that South Asian countries are lagging behind in attracting manufacturing investment. It’s not just Vietnam that’s racing ahead. African countries, too, are making manufacturing a top priority. Ethiopia alone has openednearly a dozen industrial parks in recent years and set up a world-class government agency to attract foreign investment. The World Bank has lauded sub-Saharan Africa as the region with the highest number of reforms each year since 2012.

By contrast, in terms of foreign direct investment as a percentage of GDP, South Asia lags both the global average for least-developed countries and sub-Saharan Africa. While South Asia’s total GDP is more than 70% greater than Africa’s, the continent received three-and-a-half times the investment from China that South Asia received in 2012, the most recent year for which the United Nations has publishedbilateral FDI statistics. In the last five years, the American Enterprise Institute’s China Global Investment Tracker has recorded 13 large Chinese investment deals in Africa and only nine in South Asia.

The World’s Next Factory Won’t Be in South Asia

The region is losing out to Africa and elsewhere in the race to attract manufacturing investment.

A Chinese factory in Ethiopia.
Photographer: Jenny Vaughan/AFP/Getty Images

Vietnam seems to be the consensus pick for winner of the U.S.-China trade war, as Chinese and other manufacturers shift production to the cheaper Southeast Asian nation. If there’s a loser, at least in terms of missed opportunities, it may be the countries of South Asia.

To understand why, remember that the trade war has only accelerated an important trend a decade in the making. Faced with rising costs, Chinese manufacturers must decide whether to invest in labor-saving automation technologies or to relocate. Those choosing the latter present an enormous opportunity for less-developed countries, as Chinese companies can help spark industrialization and much-needed economic transformation in their new homes.

There may not be another such chance this generation. The only proven pathway to long-lasting, broad-based prosperity has been to build a manufacturing sector linked to global value chains, which raises productivity levels and creates knock-on jobs across the whole economy. This was how most rich nations, not to mention China itself, lifted themselves out of poverty.

Yet the evidence suggests that South Asian countries are lagging behind in attracting manufacturing investment. It’s not just Vietnam that’s racing ahead. African countries, too, are making manufacturing a top priority. Ethiopia alone has openednearly a dozen industrial parks in recent years and set up a world-class government agency to attract foreign investment. The World Bank has lauded sub-Saharan Africa as the region with the highest number of reforms each year since 2012.

By contrast, in terms of foreign direct investment as a percentage of GDP, South Asia lags both the global average for least-developed countries and sub-Saharan Africa. While South Asia’s total GDP is more than 70% greater than Africa’s, the continent received three-and-a-half times the investment from China that South Asia received in 2012, the most recent year for which the United Nations has publishedbilateral FDI statistics. In the last five years, the American Enterprise Institute’s China Global Investment Tracker has recorded 13 large Chinese investment deals in Africa and only nine in South Asia.

Bangladesh is a striking illustration of the problem. The country needs to create 2 million jobs per year at home just to keep up with its growing population. Yet, despite a world-class garments manufacturing sector, it seems unable to cut red tape and enact the reforms needed to attract investment to diversify beyond apparel. In the past few years, Bangladesh has fallen to 176 out of 190 countries in the global Ease of Doing Business country rankings. DBL Group, a Bangladeshi company, is investing in a new apparel manufacturing facility that will generate 4,000 jobs — in Ethiopia.

The fantasy, most common in India, that a country might somehow “leapfrog” from a rural, agriculture-heavy economy straight to a services-based economy is just that: a fantasy. South Asia can’t afford to lose this chance to grow its manufacturing sector.

Attracting manufacturing investments will require, first and foremost, that governments in the region acknowledge the competition is passing them by. India, for example, must abandon its overconfidencethat investors will come simply for its large population. Pakistan needs to stop relying on its government-to-government friendship with China. Chinese state financing of infrastructure won’t automatically lead to manufacturing investment, most of which is dominated by private Chinese companies motivated by competitive forces, not government diktats.

Secondly, South Asian countries need to undertake a concerted, whole-of-government push to boost investment levels. Specifically, they need to create the conditions manufacturers need to thrive, from steady power supplies to efficient port operations and customs clearance.

Moreover, they need to understand the specifics of these businesses. Factories have unique requirements depending on what they make. For example, cloth and clothing factories, despite their seeming similarities, have extremely different requirements: The former is capital-intensive, with huge amounts of power-hungry machinery churning out bolts of cloth, whereas the latter is labor-intensive and features rows of workers cutting and sewing.

Countries need to analyze which manufacturing sub-sectors they are best positioned for, meet the requirements those manufacturers have in order to set up shop, and target the regions of China (and elsewhere in the world) where those types of manufacturers are to be found.

The good news is that all of these measures are eminently feasible. And in many cases, the first steps are already being taken, such as with the construction of Bangladesh’s first deep sea port at Matarbari. The bad news is that unless South Asia moves faster, others may have already seized the opportunity to industrialize. (Irene Yuan Sun for Bloomberg).


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September 21, 2019110

The potential role of the private sector in ending open defecation in Nigeria

By Zaid Jurji

At nearly 200 million inhabitants, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa. With a population of this scale, any progress or regression in development clearly has a significant impact on both African and global development indicators.
In 2018, the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, National Bureau of Statistics, and UNICEF initiated a survey to assess the state of the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) sector in Nigeria. The results were appalling. The survey revealed that only 11 percent of Nigerians have access to basic water, sanitation, and hygiene services, 24 percent of the population practice open defecation, and rural dwellers have an average per capita share of fewer than 4 liters of water per day. Nigeria’s level of access to WASH services lags far behind those of other countries in the region. The initial results of the survey were so shocking that they were used as one of the platforms to declare a state of emergency in the WASH sector by the Nigerian President.
There is sufficient evidence to suggest that WASH has a huge effect on many other development aspects of the population. Safe water and sanitation services positively impact the health status of people. For instance, proper WASH reduces WASH-related diseases and sustains the nutritional status of children by avoiding/reducing episodes of diarrhea, which translates into improved school attendance and learning opportunities, as well as improved work productivity and family income in the case of adults.
In November last year, the president of Nigeria – Muhammadu Buhari – committed to ending open defecation. He reiterated the commitment made earlier through the 2016 endorsement of the National Roadmap on ending open defecation by the year 2025. This was followed by the establishment of an open defecation free secretariat, which was in turn approved by the Federal Executive Council and is now fully functional and with budgetary allocations.
The Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach that empowers communities to self-assess their sanitary practices and initiate actions to practice safer ones has been widely and successfully used. So far, out of the 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Nigeria, 13 have now been triggered using the CLTS approach and certified as open defecation free (ODF). There are also thousands of communities, in other LGAs, that have attained an ODF status.
These are all steps in the right direction that have led to good results. However, the scale of these results will always be overshadowed by the rapid increase in the Nigerian population, with recordable achievements tiny in comparison to WASH service gaps.
If Nigeria is serious about tackling the challenge of open defecation, then the country needs to explore every single available asset to progress exponentially instead. But what does that mean in practical terms and how should the country move from where it is right now?
Firstly, and very importantly, Nigerian leadership needs to appeal to and attract the private sector (PS) by providing an enabling environment for the latter to effectively engage in sector development. The PS can bring a wide spectrum of skills that the public sector usually lacks; innovation, efficiency, effectiveness, trust, confidence to name a few. Also, and unlike other public and external resources, the PS avails a critical local resource that is never depletable. Once given the opportunity, this unexplored treasure could potentially play a critical partnership role in revitalizing and developing the WASH sector and help ending open defecation.
Moreover, the commitment at the federal level needs to be replicated at state level. State leaders need to hold their state WASH authorities responsible for domesticating the Roadmap and closely and continuously follow up on progress in implementation – this is implicit in true leadership to face and combat this challenge. Financial commitment is also needed to construct public toilets and support communications campaigns for behavioral change so that people start rejecting open defecation as a norm, then build and use toilets. Part of this campaign would entail leaders directly appealing to their communities and help defeat open defecation by constructing household latrines. Nigerians listen to their leaders who, in turn, should also make sure that all operational hurdles to reach this goal are eliminated.
This is line with UNICEF senior management’s set vision with regards to PS engagement, as voiced by ED Fore, who stated, “Often, nonprofits and government think of businesses to give them money to fund their programs or to be a contractor to deliver something. They don’t think of them as a partner to co-create with. If you’re really going to have a country that has a literate, engaged, safe, protected, healthy, well-nourished population, then you will need all of the assets of business co-creating with you.”
The private sector can work closely with the government, states and local authorities and communities to actively create sustainable solutions to address the WASH needs of unserved and underserved communities through the lens of corporate social responsibility, Public Private Partnerships (PPP) and else. This includes but is not limited to sustaining WASH facilities in public places, building toilets, training WASH entrepreneurs and toilet business owners, providing loans to the poor to construct their toilets, using innovations in sanitary materials technology to enhance construction quality or manage sludge treatment, relaying the correct hygiene message to the population through toiletry products and telecommunications, etc. Through donor funds, UNICEF is already using its convening power in supporting Sanitation Marketing by empowering Toilet Business Owners (TBOs) and local masons to build improved sanitation facilities, establishing the connection with local manufacturers of sanitary components and trigger a demand for its use. UNICEF is also supporting sanitation financing by advocating for the use of and canvassing local resources to loan to the poor who can in turn build their latrines. These successful experiences could be shared amongst the different states to expand the impact.
This is a big challenge – but in Nigeria, big challenges come with big opportunities. Nigeria is a resourceful country – both in terms of human and financial resources – and has the largest economy in Africa. There is also the highest-level commitment to address the WASH sector’s deficiencies. The goal to end open defecation – as daunting as it may appear – can be achieved should a sustained will to change be adopted. Nigerian leaders and people need to continue to look inward and explore every single asset in the country, build partnerships with the private sector, adopt successful approaches, and learn from best practices. UNICEF will continue to play its role as a catalyst and convening power to help Nigeria translate these plans into reality and achieve the goal of eradicating open defecation.

Zaid Jurji is the Chief of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene section at UNICEF Nigeria. Connect with him on



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