In the remote and often neglected Island Community of Agala, located 20 minutes by boat from the popular CMS Jetty in Lagos, the residents had long faced unimaginable challenges in their daily lives.
Basic amenities such as clean water, sanitation facilities, electricity, healthcare services, and educational facilities were luxuries that had remained out of reach.
However, the winds of change began to blow when the Optimal Greening Foundation (OGF) decided to step in and make a difference.
For years, the people of Agala relied on polluted water sources and practised open defecation. Disease was rampant, particularly among children and women, and the lack of sanitation facilities only exacerbated the situation.
With no access to clean water, even the simplest tasks became monumental challenges.
Recognising the dire situation in the Agala community, OGF embarked on a mission to change their lives for the better. The vision was clear: provide sustainable sanitation facilities and clean water to the community, while respecting the Island’s fragile ecosystem.
OGF deployed the innovative Water Ease for Development Alliance (WEDA) solution in Agala with the drilling of an industrial borehole and installation of a water treatment system, all powered by solar panels.
Agala community now has access to good quality water they had never experienced before.
Additionally, the people of Agala now have access to an improved sanitation facility, which delivers an immediate and profound impact on the health and well-being of the community.
OGF also invested in a circular waste management technology, an anaerobic biodigester system. The biodigester converts organic waste from the sanitation facility into biogas, a clean cooking fuel, and organic fertilizer.
This eco-friendly and sustainable solution will not only improve living conditions in Agala but also help to preserve the environment.
Furthermore, OGF has introduced a safe and efficient cooking space for the utilisation of the biogas produced by the biodigester. This reduces the community’s reliance on firewood and decreases air pollution and the risk of accidents.
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Beyond the tangible improvements, OGF has emphasized community empowerment by conducting comprehensive training programs on hygiene and sustainable living practices, equipping the community with essential skills for long-term self-reliance.
OGF’s commitment to social responsibility extends to job creation as the WEDA project now provides at least a dozen employment opportunities in Agala, a community that now has over 1,100 direct beneficiaries of clean water and sanitation facilities.
The story of OGF’s intervention in Agala is a testament to what can be achieved when a focused and dedicated non-profit organisation collaborates with public and private sector entities to build bridges that plug major gaps in the WASH sector.
However, there is much work to be done, not only in Agala but across many other marginalised communities in Nigeria and Africa.
As we celebrate the transformation of Agala, let it be a call to action for all of us, to support NGOs such as OGF in their mission to create a more sustainable, equitable, and prosperous Africa. Together, we can turn the dream of a greener and healthier continent into a reality.
On behalf of the Agala people, OGF uses this opportunity to express its deepest gratitude to the WEDA project sponsors – Energias de Portugal, Grundfos Foundation, AllOn and GVE Projects, whose shared vision and commitment to social impact has made this positive change possible.
Olayinka, an environmentalist, contributed this piece from Ikeja, Lagos.