22nd of March is the day set aside to mark World Water Day.
This year, the Lagos Business School and Guinness Nigeria Plc held a symposium to commemorate this event with the theme: “Water as a Driver for Sustainable Growth”
The event commenced with a welcome address from the Dean of The Lagos Business School – Dr Enase Okonedo, which was followed by a general remark from the current MD of Guinness Nigeria Plc – Mr Peter Ndegwa.
The Panellists comprised of highly experienced and informed thought leaders including Mr Sesan Sobowale (Corporate Relations Director, Guinness Nigeria), Mr Osita Abana (Sustainable Development Manager, Guinness Nigeria), Dr Grace Oloukoi (Senior Lecturer, Lead City Universisty), Oluyomi Banjo (Environmental Expert, UNIDO), Iyaduni Olubode (ED, LEAP Africa Ltd), Mr Tim Connell (Country Director, Concern Universal), Bunmi Otegbade (MD, Generation Enterprise), Krishna Rao (Chief Technical Officer, Water Health West Africa) and Mr Afolabi Imoukhuede (SSA to Mr President on Job Creation/Youth Employment). Dr Ijeoma Nwagwu(The Director of the First bank Sustainability Centre) moderated one of the sessions while Professor Pat Utomi (Founder, Centre for Values in Leadership) gave the keynote Address on “Water and Jobs in the partnerships for Sustainable Development”.
A detailed communiqué on Panel Sessions as well as the Keynote Address compiled by the Lagos Business School is below:
Panel Session: Transforming Livelihoods through Water, Sanitation and Health (WASH) Initiatives
- Water is the most crucial element for human survival second only to air. The World is facing water stress since water is not available in the quality and quantity required by the world’s population.
- In Nigeria, the recommended daily water consumption is at least 36 litres per day. However, the reality is, many Nigerians do not have access to 10 litres per day. The World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF recommend at least 200-litre daily water consumption per individual.
- There is a gendered face to the water stress as the livelihood of women and children is being affected. The productivity of women is hampered because of the time spent in search of water and women also experience physical stress collecting water while many times nursing their children. The health of women in small scale agro- businesses and school children are also negatively affected by the lack of access to clean water.
Panel Session: Jobs and Entrepreneurship Opportunities Within & Beyond the Water Value Chain
- Creativity and innovation play important roles in utilizing water for economic growth. Job opportunities for Nigeria youths in the water value chain were identified including: tourism, water transportation, health (e.g. home kits for testing the quality of water) and manufacturing.
- The goal of individuals and corporations should be ensuring that there exists sustainable job creation in the water sector.
- The role of the government is not to create such jobs but to create an enabling environment that supports job creation.
Going Forward: Recommended Areas for Business and Individual Action
- Identify water stressed areas, sustainable corporate social responsibility initiatives and interventions to benefit the disadvantaged and marginalized.
- Resource efficiency: Corporations/industries engage in sustainable use of water at every point in their value chain (e.g. providing irrigation faculties to farmers; industries create clusters to reduce water consumption and pollution – maintaining common sewage facilities).
- Foster public, private and civil society partnership.
- Begin the conversation on the water crisis and sustainable social entrepreneurship solutions (e.g. recycling).
- Engage young people to create solutions to water problems thereby creating jobs (e.g. water treatment projects in the rural areas create at least 24 jobs, as the people in the community operate the plant, work as marketers etc. – combining job creation and sustainability).
- To address the recent work challenge and take on the water challenge head-on. Mind-sets must move from focus on white collar jobs to entrepreneurship. Volunteering and interning is important to this process of skills-building.
- Leverage on the opportunities in the environment to make progression the “better water and better jobs” agenda.
- Change our attitude to knowledge; learning and education (emphasize basic and executive vocational education within and beyond the water value chain).
- Engage local governments not simply as political areas but economic government areas who can play a key role in job creation and sustainable economic growth.
You can find pictures of the event here