UNICEF, Netherlands Launch Sanitation Project

Government of Ghana (GoG), in collaboration with UNICEF, has launched a Euro 5.9 million project aimed at improving sanitation in the urban areas of the country.

The project is a component of the Ghana, Netherland WASH Programme, which is funded by the Kingdom of the Netherlands through its embassy in Ghana.

It is said that access to improved sanitation has not progressed despite Ghana’s status as a middle-income country, as it’s believed that the poor sanitation situation is a significant factor in the 4,500 child deaths annually caused by diarrhoea.

It is against this background that the Kingdom of the Netherlands, through UNICEF, has decided to launch a project to address the situation through a combination of targeted on-ground programme to support sanitation in poor communities and schools, and through development of a national approach for urban household sanitation.

Three urban settlements are targeted in the project which would commence implementation in September 2015 with the building of some bio-field toilets in households at Ashaiman, Ho and Tamale in the Greater Accra, Volta and Northern Regions respectively.

Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Alhaji Collins Dauda, who launched the project dubbed ‘Improving Sanitation Access in Urban Ghana Project’ at Ashaiman, noted that although strides had been made by Ghana in terms of national development, that of sanitation continued to elude the country, despite efforts collectively put in place.

He explained that the country, having missed the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) for sanitation – which is 54 percent by 2015 – Ghana continues to trail among countries which did not measure up to its achievements.

‘There is therefore something fundamentally wrong with us as a people; our attitudes, behaviours and mindset require urgent re-conscientization. It is therefore our fervent hope that the implementation of the project, which is being launched today, will assist in defining the right approach to unraveling the sanitation dilemma we find ourselves as a people,’ Alhaji Dauda stated.

The minister expressed his special interest in the project and therefore urged the metropolitan and municipal assemblies (MMAs) to do same as the project was intended to be replicated in other MMDAs).

Fred Smiet, a senior staff of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, noted that the project would reach at least 300,000 people in the urban areas as well as almost 9,000 children with improved sustainable sanitation, water facilities and improved hygienic behaviours.

Deputy Representative of UNICEF Ghana, Rushnan Murtaza, promised her outfit’s support to GoG to use the programme to develop a national strategy that would ultimately lead to the elimination of open defecation in Ghana’s urban areas.

From Vincent Kubi, Ashaiman

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