State of slum dwellers in Africa critical – PDG

Accra� Mr Farouk Braimah, Executive Director of the People’s Dialogue, Ghana (PDG) has revealed that one in eight people or about one billion people live in slums, based on United Nations Habitat 2017 Report.

The proportion of slum dwellers is most acute in Africa 55.9 percent, followed by Asia 27.9 per cent and one fifth of slum households are headed by women who are often the poorest and most vulnerable.

Additionally, about 55 per cent of Accra’s active labour force earns their income from informal trading and services sub-sector activities, Mr Braimah stated at the launch of clean cook stove project in Accra.

Quoting the United Nations-Habitat 2017 report, to support his submission, Mr Braimah noted that in Accra alone, slum dwellers together with informal traders and those in the services sub-sector earn their living in informal markets, along pavements, along railway buffers and at home in informal and squatter settlements.

Together with services/artisans like shoe repairs, Cobblers, Barbers, Mobile phone call services, Kayayei (female head porters) and truck pushers constitute over 80 per cent of housing and livelihood activities of Accra’s populace, Mr Braimah again quoted the Ghana Federation of the Urban Poor (GHAFUP profile reports, 2006, 2009, 2010).

He therefore called for distinct approach, which must place emphasis on strengthening social organisation and social relationships. This strengthens communities and reduces their vulnerability as individuals as they seek to advance their claims for equal rights.

He said the Peoples Dialogue believe that simply to claim rights and entitlements is not strategic both because it reinforces the imagery of a passive citizenry and benevolent.

We have successfully used our model to provide shelter, sanitation, land and lately solar and now clean stoves under the Energy Justice Programme which is in line with SDG 7, he said.

Ms Janet Adu, Chairperson GHAFUP commenting on the clean cook stove project explained that the it emanated from the troubles that women went through before they prepared meals based on the type of cook stoves used.

Our mothers, daughters in the quest to feed the family go through difficult moments in the kitchen inhale smoke and in some cases very costly to their health, she said.

Ms Adu noted that in the light of this the Shack/Slum Dwellers’ International through its affiliates including the Energy Justice Programme, had launched the clean cook stove project that was intended to reduce indoor air pollution from wood smoke, reduced deforestation and to improved living standards of women and children.

The programme is expected to benefit over 5000 households (our mothers especially who are mostly in the kitchen) to have access to sustainable energy as a key driver of development.

We want to use this project to also empower local artisans to be able to build improved stoves for our fish smokers as well. We have seen what they go through in the fish smoking business and we know that the smoked fishes have had problems in terms of the pollutant levels not meeting standards, she said.

The clean cook stove project which is a two-year programme in a nutshell seeks to save lives, improve livelihoods, empower women, and protect the environment by creating a thriving market for clean and efficient household cooking solutions.

The programme is being funded by the Shack/Slum Dwellers’ International (SDI) as part of the Energy Justice Programme to support the achievement of SDG 7.

It is set to be rolled out in some selected inner cities within the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area including Chorkor, Agbogbloshie, James Town, Madina Zongo, Ashaiman and Shukura.

The successes and lessons learnt in the course of implementation within these areas would be replicated and scaled up.

The project also seeks to support fish smokers in the Ga Mashie area who use ovens that expose them to pollutant smoke to shift to more improved and efficient ovens.

Source: Ghana News Agency

   

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