One of the best safeguards against coronavirus is handwashing, especially with running water. However, a disturbing challenge is the declining percentage of Nigerians who get their water supply through piped networks – this has plunged from 31 per cent in 1990 to less than 7 per cent in 2017. In Jigawa State, the case is not any different. According to WaterAid, constant water supply is considered a luxury and the shortage of piped water is a long-standing problem in the state, where “Outbreaks of water-borne diseases are very common.”

According to a report published in the Annals of African Medicine journal, many people in semi-urban and urban areas in Nigeria rely heavily on well water as the main source of water supply for drinking and domestic use due to inadequate provision of potable pipe-borne water. Sadly, “groundwater sources can easily be fecally contaminated and thus, increase the incidence and outbreaks of preventable waterborne diseases,” according to the report.

For some residents of Kangire, a community in Birnin Kudu LGA in Jigawa State – nested on the outskirts bordering Kano State, groundwater sources (or well water), used to be the only source of water. But they found succour recently through the United States African Development Foundation (USADF), with technical and programmatic support from Diamond Development Initiatives (DDI). The USADF intervention is part of its Capital for African Resilience-building and Enterprises Support (C.A.R.E.S) COVID-19 Program launched in April 2020, to provide financial and technical assistance to help African enterprises and entrepreneurs mitigate and adapt to the effects of COVID-19 – considering the devastating impact that the pandemic would most likely have on the economy of Africa.


For Kangire Yamma Women Groundnut Oil Processing Cooperative Society, that intervention boosted their working capital (for inputs) and enabled them to purchase a delivery van (to maintain physical distancing and less contact) The funds were also used to provide potable water (for both members of the cooperative society and community members). And immediately, they went into action. The drilling machines were brought in, and the rest, as they say, is now a memorable, life-changing history – according to the beneficiaries.


For instance, Mrs. Kubura Labiru, a Kangire community resident and member of the Cooperative Society was enthusiastic in her response to the question: “What was the source of water in this community before this intervention?” “Before now, we used to drink well water. That was the only source of water in this neighbourhood, and there was nothing we could do about it. We were so happy when this project came, and for the first time, we are now fetching and drinking clean water, many thanks to the USADF C.A.R.E.S Assistance project,” says Mrs. Labiru.

For humanity, water is many things, not only a vital bodily need but also a resource for our everyday benefit – a vital need at home, a local and global resource, a transport corridor and a climate regulator. But for members of Kangire community, they can now access freshwater for the most basic of needs, including handwashing, in the fight against COVID-19 – thanks to this intervention.