Bongo (UE/R), June 13, GNA – The European Union (EU) Ambassador to Ghana, Mr William Hanna, has called on Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to adopt pragmatic measures in tackling Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) problems in their respective areas.
The EU Ambassador who made the call during a durbar held in the Bongo District of the Upper East Region indicated that the revealing statistics of WASH problems in the country was not the best, and called on MMDAs and other institutions to adopt pragmatic approach to address the issue.
The durbar which was organized by the District Assembly in collaboration with the Bongo Traditional Council was aimed at providing a platform for the EU Ambassador to assess the impact of the project entitled’ Empowering Citizens and Civil Society Organizations to Improve the Delivery, Equity and Sustainability of WASH Services’, being sponsored by the EU with counterpart funding from Water Aid Ghana.
The project which is being implemented by Water Aid Ghana in collaboration with the Integrated Action for Community Development (INTAGRAD) and the Coalition of NGOs in WASH (CONIWAS) in 10 selected communities in the District seeks to strengthen Civil Society Organization’s capacity to empower citizens groups to effectively demand for the delivery of WASH services in an equitable and sustainable manner from duty bearers.
The Project which commenced in April 2014 and is expected to end in March 2017, is also being implemented in the Gushegu District of the Northern Region and the Accra Metropolitan Assembly.
The EU Ambassador stated that apart from WASH problems constituting a major challenge to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, particularly Goals Four and Five, it also has multiplying effects of the socio-economic development of the country.
He called on the MMDAs, CSOs, Community advocacy groups to embark upon vigorous education and sensitization on the WASH component by targeting communities and schools.
The Ambassador who expressed happiness about the appreciable level of success chalked by the project, impressed upon the Community Advocacy groups in the 10 communities to intensify their activities to make a greater impact.
‘The EU will continue to deepen its bilateral relationship with Ghana to help fight poverty and diseases but it is now left on to you to play your part very well by using the resources judiciously. There are people who are not aware that they have the right to WASH facilities. Such people must be empowered to demand accountability from duty bearers’, he stressed.
Dr Afia S. Zakiya, the Country Representative of Water Aid Ghana said her outfit was committed to a vision of everyone having access to safe water, improved sanitation and hygiene, and stated that barely a month ago Water Aid Ghana supported the Assembly to inaugurate an eleven-member Small Water System Management Team to oversee the operation of water management and governance system.
The Country Director who urged the Assembly and community members to show interest in WASH governance system, also indicated that Water Aid Ghana would adopt a district wide approach in its operational areas to help confront WASH issues.
She gave the assurance that her outfit would support the Assemblies and the community advocacy groups in its operational areas to intensify their education and sensitization on the WASH component in schools and communities.
Speaking on the project’s impact, Madam Anabia Hannah Talata, a member of the Anafobisi Community Advocacy group, said the project had improved upon the WASH situation in the community, and cited for instance that through the capacity building in advocacy, the group was able to hold the District Assembly accountable to improve upon the WASH situation in the community.
‘Through the capacity building we received on advocacy, the community members now do wash their hands after attending to nature’s call. They no longer keep corpses in their houses for a number of days before burial. We are also able to demand accountability from the District Assembly to provide the community with WASH facilities. All these have improved upon the WASH situation in our community and curbing a lot WASH-related diseases’, she stressed.
The Chief of Bongo, Naba Baba Salifu Aleemyarum, who expressed his gratitude to the EU, Water Aid Ghana and its partners for the project, said given the importance of the project and the peculiar water problem in the Bongo District, there was the need to widen the scope of the programme to cover more communities. He pleaded with the EU and Water Aid Ghana to consider his suggestion.
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