Case study

Facilitated learning support to Nigeria's water, sanitation and hygiene civil society network

To sustain positive sanitation gains made in Nigeria, this learning process, facilitated by The Sanitation Learning Hub in collaboration with NEWSAN, addressed an urgent need to share lessons and challenges between geographical areas and organisations.

October 2022 – June 2023
Approximate cost
Customised webinar series to develop understanding of key challenges facing the sanitation and hygiene sector.


To encourage members of the Nigeria WASH civil society network to innovate, adapt and collaborate in a rapidly-evolving landscape, feeding learning into policies and practice.


Globally, 3.6 billion people don’t have their own safe toilet. Living without a toilet and handwashing facilities can cause health issues for the whole community, not just for the individual. As well as the health risks, a lack of access to sanitation facilities is a major cause of risk, anxiety, economic and psychosocial stress.

Nigeria is at a turning point in its drive to end open defecation by 2025. The national “Clean Nigeria” campaign is gathering some momentum. In autumn 2022, Jigawa State (6.6 million people) was declared the first state to achieve Open Defecation Free (ODF) status.

Nigeria now has 100 open defecation-free Local Government Areas. However, these positive gains need to be sustained and an incremental improvement in the sanitation status of the people needs to nurtured and encouraged. There is an urgent need to share lessons and challenges between geographical areas and organisations.


For many years, the Sanitation Learning Hub (SLH), a programme hosted at IDS, has been working with actors in the sanitation and hygiene sector in Nigeria.

During the World Toilet Summit in November 2022, the Sanitation Learning Hub started conversations with NEWSAN (the Nigeria WASH civil society network), representatives from Federal, State and Local Government Area level and the Clean Nigeria – Use the Toilet Campaign secretariat.

Together these actors identified three over-arching themes of interest, drawing on SLH publications and research:

This activity involved three webinars of one hour and 30 minutes each.

The first webinar introduced participants to Guidelines and Framework for Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning, which were designed to encourage stakeholders in the rural sanitation and hygiene sector to take a more comprehensive, comparable and people-focused approach to monitoring and evaluation (M&E). The webinar highlighted some of the proposed approaches and recommended indicators for monitoring area-wide, equitable and sustainable service provision in Nigeria’s context.

Participants were asked to consider their current M&E systems and reflect on where and how these could be strengthened in a short group exercise.

The second webinar drew on SLH’s research on climate change (in collaboration with the Institute for Sustainable Futures), and presented the latest thinking on climate-resilient rural sanitation programming, including practical case studies developed with UNICEF Burkina Faso, WaterAid Bangladesh, SNV Laos and Islamic Relief Pakistan.

The presentation highlighted the direct and indirect impacts that climate change is having on rural sanitation services, practical ways to assess these impacts and ways to respond to climate stress and support more resilient communities.

A short group exercise was conducted with participants asked to deliberate and reflect on how these findings are relevant for their work and what they could do differently.

The third webinar presented the challenges to sustaining gains in sanitation coverage and ODF status. It also drew on experiences from Nigeria and beyond to assess and tackle slippage at the local government and community level.


This webinar series was coordinated by:

  • Nanpet Chuktu, In-Country Focal Point for Nigeria, SLH
  • Jamie Myers, Research and Learning Manager, SLH
  • Ruhil Iyer, Research Officer, SLH
  • Mimi Coultas, former Research Officer, SLH
  • Benson Attah, National Coordinator, NEWSAN

Within the webinars, regular SLH partners presented their work, including:

  • Andy Robinson, Independent Consultant
  • Jeremy Kohlitz, Institute for Sustainable Futures

Participant information

Participants of this learning acivity included:

  • Staff of the Clean Nigeria Use the Toilet campaign
  • Staff of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources – Department for Water Quality Control and Sanitation
  • WASH Consultants for UNICEF
  • Members of the inter-ministerial National Task Group on Sanitation
  • Head and members of CSOs (who are members of NEWSAN)
  • Staff of State agencies for Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (RUWASSA)

Participant numbers

  • Webinar 1 = 100 participants

  • Webinar 2 = over 50 participants

  • Webinar 3 = over 50 participants


A high number of participants reported that, as a result of the learning activities, they had gained significant knowledge of new insights and sanitation solutions.

In particular, they gained new insights on equity and inclusion of marginalised groups including people with disabilities, for example, adding relevant questions to household surveys. Previously these groups had not been included in monitoring and evaluation processes.

Participants also felt more able to formulate policies that assess the quality and availability of sanitation facilities across a whole area, not just a specific target community.

The climate change webinar exposed participants to different experiences of climate impacts across states in Nigeria, increasing their awareness of the impact of climate change on programming. Participants said they hadn’t previously considered how livelihoods can be impacted by climate change, and the knock-on impact on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) (for example, households are poorer and unable to buy soap).

The webinar on sustainability increased participants awareness of the role of local governments in maintaining ODF areas. Some reflected that they found it useful to learn and consider the importance of community participation for ODF areas, and that it’s important for communities to understand how programming can benefit them.

The webinar training provided very useful information and framework for me to take a more comprehensive, approach for monitoring and evaluation on sanitation matters and services. … The webinar clearly taught us that everyone, particularly the marginalised and vulnerable, should have the chance to participate fully in their social, economic, political and cultural processes that affect their lives.
- Dr Agboro Andrew, Executive Director, One Love Community Development, Financial Secretary NEWSAN Delta

Key contacts

Naomi Vernon

Programme and Communications Manager

+44 (0)1273 915684

About this case study

Programmes and centres
The Sanitation Learning Hub
Research themes

Related content


Learning from ODF Districts in Mozambique

SLH Learning Paper;15

20 June 2023