Friday, 20 January 2012

Ezeji : A resolute Commitment to Clean Water

JOACHIM IBEZIAKO EZEJI is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Rural Africa Water Development Project (RAWDP), a leading Nigerian Water and Sanitation Non-governmental Organization. He founded the organization in 2000.

The organization has a coterie of objectives that includes;
(i) The promotion of public health through appropriate water, sanitation and hygiene interventions.
(ii) The improvement of access to safe drinking water through household water treatment technologies and other interventions.
(iii) The promotion of the productive uses and management of water as a poverty alleviation strategy.
(iv) The promotion of gender concerns in water and sanitation projects.

Born to celebrate his birthdays on 9th November, Mr.Joachim Ezeji, an Imo State Nigerian born social entrepreneur, is also currently an author and policy analyst in Nigeria where he lives. Before then he trained as a geologist at the University of Calabar, Nigeria, graduating with a Bachelors (Honours.) degree .While at Calabar he served as the 1996/97 President of the Rotaract Club of the University of Calabar which he capped up with a Rotary International Presidential Citation in February 1997.He later had a Master of Science degree in Water and Environmental Management from the Loughborough University, UK in 2006.

Professional activities:
Joachim’s many years practical experience on household sanitation and water treatment enabled him to coordinate many sanitation and water projects in Nigeria. In 2005 Joachim was among few Nigerians short listed for the National Honours of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, possibly in appreciation of his laudable community development initiatives. He retains core professional competence and interest in utility management, water source development, the productive uses of water, household water treatment, sanitation improvement, applied research and consultancy.

He takes pleasure at attending local and international conferences and symposia to espouse his innovations and community development works. These have greatly enabled him to traverse widely in the United States, Europe and South America as well as many parts of Africa. He has many scholarly publications to his credit and is published by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).In 2006 he was among the very few Africans that were invited to speak at the World Water Forum in Mexico.

Joachim takes great interest in creativity and innovative thinking, research and networking. In 2005, he was awarded the Peoples choice most creative idea award of World Bank Development Marketplace in Washington DC.USA, and in 2006 was elected a grant winner by a coterie of widely composed international jury at the same forum. The World Bank grant is to facilitate the scaling-up of the Mor-Sand filter in 7 oil producing communities in Nigeria. That project is currently on-going and has successfully been introduced and adopted in communities in Izombe in Imo State, Owaza in Abia State and Egbema in Rivers State.

The Mor-Sand Filter, a household water treatment device, is primarily Joachim’s innovation. It is an improved adaptation of the age-long slow sand filter. It recognizes and integrates the fact that the combination of coagulation and filtration is very effective in significantly reducing the concentration of microorganisms and hence the burden of disinfection. It markedly differs from the conventional slow-sand filter by its adoption of a Moringa layer in addition to the naturally forming bio-layer in the former. This layer offers coagulation, a traditional first unit process in conventional water treatment that is crucial for the removal of impurities in water. Proper coagulation followed by sedimentation and filtration achieves more than 99% reduction in bacteria and viruses. Since the debut of his innovation in 2005, Joachim has been greeted with a number of international awards from many reputable groups including the World Bank in Washington; The Tech-Museum of Innovation in San Jose California and the Santa Clara University, San Jose; all based in the United States.

Awards and Honours:
Special Invitation from the Right Hon. Clare Short M.P, the Secretary of State for International Development UK, to a Reception to mark the publication of “Making connections: infrastructure for Poverty Reduction” in London, 2002.

The African Development Bank (ADB) 40th Anniversary Innovative Project Competition first prize award, Sept. 2004.

The Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), WASH Media Awards, November 2004.

The Federal Republic of Nigeria National Award Nominee, July 2005.

The World Bank, Development Marketplace Peoples’ choice, ‘Most Creative Idea Award’, May 2005.

The World Bank, Development Marketplace Project Grant Award, Washington DC, May 2006.

The Business in Development Challenge (BID) Award, Amsterdam, October 2006.

The Tech Museum Award for Innovation, San Jose California, November 2006.

Projects of Excellence:
• Rural Household Bio-Sand Filter Installations; sponsored by the African Development Bank. A safe water intervention that also included Value Based Water, Sanitation promotion and Hygiene Education in local households. The project started in June 2003 and covered 2,000 households in Nigeria.

• Urban Water Quality Test Campaigns sponsored by the International Water Association and American Clean Water Foundation (Sept. – Oct. 2004-2005). A global educational exercise designed to raise awareness and stimulate interest in the importance of clean water for everyone on the plane.

• Participatory Water and Sanitation Assessment Exercise that involved urban stakeholder teams in Jos, Nigeria. It was Water for African Cities Phase II (WAC II) Project that also had a gender lens (2005).

• Moringa oleifera (Mo) for clean water project sponsored by the World Bank and consists of the cultivation, promotion and marketing of the ground seeds of Mo as an alternative conditioner in water treatment (2005).

• Geophysical surveys and Borehole drilling program in urban, peri-urban and rural parts of Eastern Nigeria, 1998 till date and are sponsored by private owners/users.

• Mor-sand filter for oil producing communities’ project sponsored by the World Bank, and consists of the manufacturing, training of community youths and marketing of these clean water filters in environmentally degraded oil producing communities in Niger delta region Nigeria.

In celebrating our young and up-ward moving social entrepreneur of the season, NewsPoint Newspapers Nigeria takes pride to reveal that Mr. Joachim Ezeji is currently a Rotarian of the Rotary Club of Owerri.We salute Mr. Ezeji and wish him better years ahead.

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