Water With Development, with support from Open Knowledge Foundation, organised an event tagged “The Realities of WASH Data”. an event that sparked up conversations on to best use data to fuel transparency and accountability in the WASH sector .
Data were drawn from UNICEF, Nigeria Bureau of statistics and Water Aid were used as reference points for the discussion where it said 3 in 10 people in Nigeria don’t have safe water close to home, 3 in 5 people in Nigeria don’t have a toilet of their own.; 4 in 5 people in Nigeria lack handwashing facilities at home. 60 million Nigerians, or 33 per cent of the population, do not have access to safe water. We displayed out communities in Plateau state, Kaduna and the country’s capital Abuja, where it can be seen that 10 in 10 people had no access to safe water, 5 in 5 not having access to handwashing facilities, with our research, we discovered that lack of access to WASH facilities is greatly caused by corruption and lack of access to data, which leads to low participation of citizens in governance and its processes. To change this narrative, we built the capacity of participants on budget data sieving, how to effectively use the Freedom of Information Act as a tool for demanding information on the project and providing oversight on its implementations, leveraging social media as a tool for engaging government officials and amplifying corrupt cases in their communities.
Garba, a participant highlighted how he used the FOI and social media to engage and amplify corrupt practices as well as amplify the living conditions of people around his community, but it came with a price, he was invited by the government security agency for questioning, but he was able to get out of it easily as he posted on social media, and tagged relevant CSOs which came to his aid with legal council.
Another participant, Precious Adigwe was concerned about how citizens in rural communities are able to have the knowledge of data since it is complex and it is hard for them to understand and make actionable decisions. Wilson Atumeyi explained that in such cases, it is even unwise to use their local languages to make print works, as some of them can not read their local dialect, so it is advisable to make creative designs that when you have a glance at them, you will know what it means without reading a text, then get someone that understands their language to take them on the session for better understanding.
Finally, we agreed to create a knowledge-sharing platform where members can share data sieved for better engagement and a coalition that would ensure that this information is used to drive transparency and accountability in governance.