Application of the 'Open Government Concept' to WASH Provision in Nigeria

How can governments use technological and democratic innovations to make the provision of basic services more efficient? This paper identifies problem areas in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) provision and proposes three policies in the field of open government initiatives to increase its efficiency.

Published

2020

Other

Authors

Paul Aretin

Ratchana (Nona) Olbrich

Serena Grover

Raymond Akinkuotu

Luiza de Assumpção Costa

Fraser Scott

Executive Summary

Background Information

Nigeria is a relatively water rich country, receiving around 215 cubic kilometres of surface water per year. However, 1 in 3 people do not have access to safe drinking water (WaterAid). Open defecation rates continue to be high and exacerbate public health problems such as respiratory infection rates, which amounted to 240,000 deaths caused by poor sanitary conditions, in 2017 alone (Balarabe, K, 2018).


Ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, is the

premise of Goal 6 in the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals. It is therefore high on the international agenda.


The challenges that plague the current water and sanitation system in Nigeria stem from three key factors:

  • Institutional framework

  • Infrastructure

  • Socio-economic disparity


The ‘Open GovernmentConcept’

The Open Government Concept stipulates that governments increase transparency and

accountability of their work by using technology to publish data and give citizens the

opportunity to gain insights into government work. There are several case studies, those of Brazil, Uruguay, Ghana and Costa Rica, which provide examples of how to implement open government strategies to reduce institutional and transformational problems. Accordingly, the case studies provided illustrate how the open government concept could also be applied to the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) initiative in Nigeria.


This paper examines monitoring methods provided by the open government concept and

analyses the approaches' benefits for the Nigerian water and sanitation sector in the form of a concrete policy recommendation.


Following these case studies, this paper seeks to provide the following policy recommendations:

  • Implementation of a data platform to prioritize problems and increase transparency of large infrastructure contracts which are monitored by Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), municipalities, and donor groups

  • Creation of an action plan to trigger community engagement which enables citizens to report their concerns and needs with regards to public service provisions

  • Implementation of measurement methods to ensure adequate quality standards and their public availability, making them available to the public


Overall, this paper examines monitoring methods provided by the open government concept

and analyses the approaches' benefits for the Nigerian water and sanitation sector in form of

concrete policy recommendations.