Makoko Waterfront: A Community That Thrives on Water Without Access to Portable supply

Country/area: Nigeria

Organisation: The Nation Newspaper

Organisation size: Small

Publication date: 31/03/2021

Credit: Code for Africa analyzed the water sources and worked on the visualization


Justina Asishana is an award-winning Data and Investigative Journalist who is passionate about data, human interest issues, transparency, and governance.

Currently, the Niger state correspondent for The Nation Newspaper, Justina tries to look at various ways of telling gender-balanced, human interest and investigative stories using a solutions lens with an infusion of data in her reportage.

Justina has done a lot of investigative reporting for her media organization, The Nation Newspaper and other media organizations including the International Center for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), the Wole Soyinka Center for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ), the Premium Times Center for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ), and the International Center for Journalism (ICFJ).

Justina was one of the pioneer Dubawa Fellows, a fact-checking fellowship to combat misinformation in Nigeria; she was the 2019 ONE Champion in Niger state and was the ICFJ 2018 and 2020 Safety Fellow, an Alumnus of the School of Media and Communication Pan-Atlantic University, a Fellow of the African Science Literacy Network and a Fellow of the Report Women Network.

Justina was the 2021 Africa Media Development Foundation (AMDF) Journalist of the Year, the IJNET Journalist of the Month in May 2021, she was the runner up of the Feature Writer of the Year and Business Journalist of the Year in the 2021 Nigeria Media Merit Awards (NMMA).

Another focus of Justina’s reporting is conflict reporting. Being in a state where insecurity is apt, Justina has been at the forefront of reporting insecurity and issues affecting Internally Displaced Persons and communities affected by the insecurity. 

Her investigative reports are usually a point of reference by Legislators and government and as such, some of the issues reflected in the reports have been used as advocacy tools to get the change to the affected people.

Justina loves reading, writing, networking, listening to good music, exploring and mastering new digital tools and travelling.

She has benefitted from several grants and fellowships, one of which is this project from Code for Africa as part of the Water Commons initiative and the Code for All Exchange Program.

Project description:

The report is about Makoko, a community in Lagos state where residents live on the water. The report shows that despite being surrounded by water, the residents lacked potable water for domestic usage. The report states the challenges faced by the community in terms of drinkable water. The report analyzed tests from some of the water points to analyze how clean the water is and found that most of the water points and sources are not safe for drinking and cooking as the water contained some hardness. It also analyzed the diseases gotten from hard water. 

Impact reached:

Although stories have been written regarding Makoko, this however showed a different aspect into the difficult lives the people are living. Water is an essential commodity in any area but to these people, even though they stayed on water, they have no water. The report brought the attention of government to the health danger the people are facing and there were pledges by government of providing water which can be assured to be clean and portable

Techniques/technologies used:

Field interviews – The Reporter went to Makoko to speak to the people on how they get water for domestic use. Residents, water sellers and community heads were interviewed.

Research – adequate research was conducted on contamination of water and its impact. It added more information to the report as results from the research was infused into the report.

Collection of water samples – water samples were collected from 20 water points in Makoko for testing to analyze the safety and portability of the water sources in the community.

Testing – Testing was carried out on the water samples gotten from the water sources. The result of the testing was used in writing the report to add richness to the report.

Data visualization – Flourish was used to create infographics to show data regarding the outcome of the test and analysis of the water sources in Makoko. 

What was the hardest part of this project?

One of the most difficult aspects was getting the water samples for testing. We had to collect the samples from 20 water sources, all was done on the water with a boat. Makoko is a water community which meant that all the interviews were carried out on a boat. We had to move from one point to another to interview residents and water vendors. We could not get to the health centre because we were told that the water level is not high enough for the boat to cross to the place where the health centre is. 

What can others learn from this project?

Other Journalists can learn how one can infuse data into the story to make it richer and more understandable. Journalists also need to understand that it is not enough to have the data at hand but to do a comprehensive story, one would still have to carry out fieldwork to get the views of the people who are directly affected by the data collected.

Project links: