Coastal Community Resilience to Climate and Diarrhoea Project Team hold Annual General Meeting

Researchers working on Coastal Community Resilience to Climate and Diarrhoea (C2R-CD) Project met in Accra to take stock of their activities and to strategise to achieve the needed goals. The C2R-CD is a five -year project, which started in 2020 and is being led by the University of Ghana under the Institute of Environmental and Sanitation Studies (IESS) with funding from the Foreign Affairs of Denmark. Aarhus University in Denmark is a co-lead of the project. The overall goal of the C2R-CD project is to build resilience to climate change and improve diarrhoeal management in coastal communities. Dr. Dzidzo Yirenya-Tawiah, the Principal Investigator of the project, said aside from the IESS, there were other Departments involved in the project from the University of Ghana. She said the meeting provided an overview of the project activities for the past three years, explored strategic directions into the fourth year and discussed pertinent issues for achieving project goals. She said the project was looking at climate change and how it affected diarrhoeal in the selected coastal communities in Ghana. The studies, she said, focused on communities found along the eastern and central coastlines of the country, which are the most vulnerable to sea-level rise and flooding events. The communities are Anyako, Anyanui and Atiteti in the Volta region, Opetekwei in Greater Accra, and Mumford in the Central region. Dr Yerenya-Tawiah said diarrhoeal was a leading cause of death in children under five years. She noted that research had shown that out of 10 people that have diarrhoeal, as many as nine were as a result of environmental factor. ‘So, environment plays a key role in diarrhoeal transmission and these environmental factors are associated with unsafe drinking water, poor sanitation, poor waste management, poor sociocultural practices, our behaviour, our health system structures among other determinants that influence diarrhoeal transmission,’ she added. She said climate change has hit the world harder but the most affected were the developing countries and ‘are all experiencing it differently.’ Dr Yerenya-Tawiah noted that the project was relevant, very important and timely because most of their studies were focused research with aspects on diarrhoeal. Professor Chris Gordon, a former Director of IESS, emphasised the need to explore the issues of synergies to sustain the project 10 years down the lane. ‘We Should have a succession plan for the youth to sustain the project…we need to bring the youth into the picture and not only researchers who will phase out with time,’ he added. He said there were different sources of data and researchers must understand its usage and direct it to the source. ‘We also need to change our language depending on our target groups without changing the message’. Prof. Appearing Addo, Director of IESS, said the transdisciplinary approach adopted to engage all stakeholders had created the platform for better update of knowledge generated and the huge awareness created in the targeted communities. ‘As we share ideas, interact and collaborate, I’m certain that the outcome of the meeting will further strengthen the gains of C2R-CD project,’ he said. The study has been grouped into five work tasks, involving characterising the biophysical environment and climate conditions of identified coastal ecosystems in selected case study sites; work task two involves acquiring and processing meteological series data. Work task three engages in generating land-use and elevation maps for instance based on remote sensing, which can be used for spatial statistical analysis in work package four, which involves testing a range of hydrological approaches, which can utilise climate data from task two. Finally, work task five involves assessing the role climate change induced sea level rise and storm surge in driving flooding events in the study area.

Source: Ghana News Agency