Nwakpa O. Nwakpa, Nigerian Red Cross Society and Idorenyin Francis, IFRC

Hawa’u Dauda, a mother of five, is one of many women in Adamawa State, northeastern Nigeria, who had to trek for miles to fetch clean water every day for the family, despite a borehole close to home.

The borehole had not been working properly for some time and the drainage had created pools of stagnant water, creating a huge health hazard for the surrounding villagers. “Most of the community abandoned this water point because it was also muddy and full of bacteria. The water was becoming a breeding ground for mosquitoes.” says Hawa’u.

“Now it is clean and has improved the health of my family and the community,” explains Hawa’u smiling.

With the help of IFRC, the Nigerian Red Cross is helping more than 40,000 people access clean drinking water through household water treatment, safe storage and the rehabilitating of water points in 63 communities in Adamawa state.

63 million without access to clean water in Nigeria

Zakari Issa with IFRC inspects a newly-constructed borehole with the Nigerian Red Cross. 

Lack of safe drinking water is a common challenge in Nigeria, affecting many rural communities and city slums. About 63 million out of 187 million Nigerians do not have access to clean water. In the northeast alone, the persistent conflict has turned 3.9 million people in need of water. According to an IFRC and Nigerian Red Cross needs assessment conducted in 2017, about 39 per cent of water infrastructure is non-functioning in Adamawa State.

“Bringing water closer to home means that women and children – who carry the brunt of collecting water – have more time for their school studies, household duties and quality time with their families,” says Zakari Issa, IFRC water, sanitation and hygiene coordinator for West and Central Africa. “As Red Cross, we’re working to ensure greater access to water for all.”

In 2017, the Nigerian Red Cross reached more than 24,000 people with hygiene promotion, water transport and storage containers and water treatment tablets in Adamawa State.

The Nigerian Red Cross continues to support the urgent and long-term needs of people impacted by natural disasters and conflict across northeast Nigeria. The IFRC and ICRC have come together to support the Nigerian Red Cross in providing critical, life-saving services, such as shelter; community-based health; water, sanitation and hygiene; community resilience; and economic and livelihood opportunities.


Photos by: Corrie Butler