The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) in collaboration with the European Union (EU) and Cross River state government have concluded the phase two of the water supply sanitation sector reform programme in the state.
At a workshop to mark the end of the second phase of the programme, the chief of field office, UNICEF Enugu, Mr Ibrahim Kante, said the programme, which was aimed at ensuring portable water supply in Yakurr and Boki local government areas of the state commenced in 2013.
He said funding for the programme had ended though they hoped to ensure the sustainability of the gains recorded, explaining that while the programme was on in both LGAs, they were able to drill over 800 boreholes in different communities to the tune of N2 billion which helped in ensuring that both LGAs were declared open defecation free (ODF).
Kante explained further that though they were able to achieve that much, the exploits did not come without some challenges which ranged from the technical incapacity of Cross River government to the delay in implementation due to delay in release of counterpart funds.
“We also had challenges with the weather conditions and topography of some of the rural communities that we needed to drill. You have to try a couple of locations to get drilling done to get high yield and sometimes, the contractors are difficult to deal with, so they delay the process and the quality of work done poor some times
“But I can tell you that the two LGAs we chose are the most deprived when it comes to access to water”, he said, and assured the communities that even though the funding for the phase had ended, the people would not be abandoned by UNICEF completely as they would continue to render technical and other forms of support to them,” he said.