ASDA makes modest gains in sanitation, hygiene battle

 By Ray Ankomah, GNA     

Awutu Beraku (C/R), Oct. 25, GNA – The Awutu
Senya District Assembly (ASDA) has taken steps to clear unauthorized dumpsites
in three communities and would deal with two more in the coming months.

The beneficiary communities are
Bawjiase-Asempanyin, Mankessim and Adawukwa.

Asempanyin was noted to have received a new
skip container from the Assembly whereas the construction of a shared toilet
facility to mitigate open defecation is underway on the reclaimed Mankessim
dumpsite.

At a district-level stakeholders’ coordinating
meeting held in Awutu Beraku, the actors agreed that while some progress had
been made, further intra-coordination, buoyed by adequate budgetary support and
logistics would be required to deal with the burgeoning sanitation and hygiene
issues afflicting the more than 150 communities in the District.

The meeting was organized by Intervention
Forum (IF), a non-governmental organization (NGO), under the Voice for Change
Partnership (V4CP) programme in collaboration with ASDA.

It was held to take stock of actions taken by
district actors to address the emerging sanitation issues of the 2017
stakeholders’ coordination meeting to deliberate on key issues of financing,
intra-collaboration and capacity building to deal with current sanitation and
hygiene issues.        

Representatives from the ASDA, comprising the
District Environmental Health Unit, Department of Community Development, Ghana
Education Service, National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Information
Services Department, Urban and Area Council representatives, among others,
attended the meeting.

The stakeholders reviewed some emerging
issues, prior commitments and actions taken by the key departments to deal with
sanitation and hygiene issues.

They also discussed matters relating to the
achievement of an open defecation-free (ODF) society in the Central Region by
2019.

Crucial to the agreed targets is the crafting
of bye-laws by ASDA and its subsequent approval and gazetting to deal with
sanitation offenders, capacity building and strengthening of Area Councils to
effectively deal with sanitation and hygiene issues.

Towards these objectives, the meeting stressed
the necessity to rope in traditional heads, private financial institutions,
churches and Islamic bodies to help finance sustainable sanitation access,
waste disposal and allied matters.

Generally, the stakeholders agreed that the
ASDA had done quite well in tackling various issues and meeting timelines for
some citizens’ requests and commitments rendered during the 2017 stakeholders’
coordination meeting but said there was still room for improvement.

The meeting agreed to the need to sensitize
the communities to embrace and take initiative in constructing household
toilets instead of looking to the Assembly to provide community ones.

To this end, the stakeholders stressed that it
was important to offer expertise to the communities to construct household
toilets.

Mr. Stephen Kwame Quaye, District Chief
Executive, commended the V4CP initiative for the good work it had so far done
in terms of evidence-based advocacy to ensure improved sanitation and hygiene
in the district.

He informed the participants that the assembly
was in the process of acquiring a 30-acre land for use as a final disposal site
and was due to meet an investor to convert the huge volumes of waste generated
in the district and even beyond into something useful.

Mr Quaye also lauded the idea of giving the
citizens the much needed education and expertise to construct their household
toilets, urging the stakeholders to come together to build consensus on the way
forward.

“We are putting something together. Let us
take our citizens through training to facilitate our dealing with the
sanitation and hygiene situation in our communities. Whatever knowledge we
acquire here must be communicated to area council and unit committee members,”
he said, adding that with a little push from IF, the Assembly had been able to
do a lot.

He assured the participants that he was behind
them and would do whatever he could to push ASDA to the next level.

In a presentation, Mr Isaac Owusu, IF
official, took the gathering through key 2018 activities so far undertaken in
its V4CP project at both the district and national levels.

This covered focus group discussions to
determine baselines on citizens’ perception on sanitation service delivery by
ASDA and Zoomlion through the use of community score cards with expanded
criteria in March 2018.

It also included interface meetings to share
and validate result of citizens’ scorecard assessments in relation to
sanitation and hygiene by ASDA. 

Mr Owusu also touched on one-on-one meetings
with key ASDA staff and Zoomlion on emerging sanitation and hygiene issues as
well as capacity-building workshops for district and sub-district actors on the
Rural Sanitation Model Strategy.

He said IF had also organized capacity
training for MMDA officials on Results-based Monitoring and Evaluation as well
as strengthened the capacity of the Municipal Sanitation and Hygiene Advocacy
Teams.

Mr Owusu again mentioned other meetings and
conferences on sanitation and hygiene at the national level as well as Alliance
for WASH Advocacy meetings, among others.

The District Environmental Health Officer, Mr
John Kwasi Gavi, listed various activities he and his team had undertaken
towards triggering open defecation-free (ODF) statuses in some eleven
communities by 2019, but observed that more needed to be done to achieve this
target.

He listed problems they encountered as
inadequate funds, lack of a vehicle and the absence of bye-laws to deal with
sanitation and hygiene offenders.

Mr Gavi said ASDA was hoping to secure
external financial support to continue the implementation of its Community-Led
Total Sanitation (CLTS) project to deal with the problem of open defecation.

Calls were made by IF on the need for the
Assembly to pursue night time sanitation enforcement and make provisions for
night-time revenue mobilisation to augment its internally generated funds
(IGF).

IF also called for stronger collaboration from
all the stakeholders to deal with the issue of sanitation and hygiene problems
affecting the communities.

GNA

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