School children ask policy makers for better sanitation

WaterAid, in partnership with the European Union (EU) and Globe Productions, has engaged Members of Parliament and other key stakeholders on the rights of children to access decent toilet facilities and clean water.

Using a play, titled, “Bring Back our Rights” by playwright Latif Abubakar, and acted by students of Kotobabi Three Junior High School, they told the story of school children who were fed up with asking and pleading for unfettered access to toilet facilities and clean water.

It also accentuated the effect of the lack of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) has on their health.

The event, held at the Banquet Hall, State House in Accra, is part of the activities to mark this years’ World Water Day.

Mr Abdul-Nashiru Mohammed, the Country Director of WaterAid Ghana, said Water Aid had over the years provided water for more than one million people.

He said the Water Sector Strategy Development Plan indicated that 387 million dollars was required annually to fulfil water and sanitation needs, adding that, “The goal of achieving universal access to water and sanitation by 2025, needs a lot of push from government and stakeholders.

He, therefore, called for partnerships to address WASH in communities that lacked these services.

Mr Kofi Adda, the Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, who was the guest speaker, said the Ministry would ensure that marginalised groups and regions with lower access rates were prioritised for service provision in the shortest possible time.

He noted that progress made in potable water delivery stood at 89 per cent whilst that of sanitation was still quite abysmal.

“We are going to have a bold approach to improving access to sanitation, which is currently at 15 per cent so we can end open defecation and the attendant diseases that cause deaths of under-fives,” he said.

Mr Adda said the unique commitment to the one house-one toilet; one village -one dam; the setting up of a National Sanitation Agency and a National Sanitation Fund were approaches to resolve these challenges.

He commended Water Aid, World Vision, IRC, United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, Global Communities, amongst others that had been involved in complementing governments’ efforts to improving access to safe water and sanitation, especially by going to the hardest-to-reach.

Mr Christopher Ackon, the Programme Officer of the EU, said the challenges to quality water provision were the continuous deterioration of the water bodies due to high population growth density, illegal mining, urbanisation climate change variability and uncontrolled agriculture, especially along water bodies.

He said: “These problems, amongst others, if not addressed would affect the provision of quality water and may affect Ghana towards importing water in the near future.”

He urged the Government, stakeholders and individuals to collaborate to bring these problems to a halt.

Source: Ghana News Agency