Mr Gilbert Asante, the Policy and Advocacy Program Officer, WaterAid Ghana, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) has called for improved access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities in the Jirapa Municipality in the Upper West Region.
He said WASH played an essential role in ensuring quality health and poverty reduction and facilitating community development in the Municipality, saying WASH was not only a basic need but also necessary to improve livelihoods, agriculture, livestock, industry and commerce.
Mr Asante made the call in a press statement copied to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) after a three-day training workshop organised for selected residents of the Sabuli community in Jirapa Municipality of the Upper West Region.
The NGO organised the training programme aimed at building the capacity of the participants, sharpening their advocacy skills, and promoting regular interactions between them and officials of the Municipal Assembly.
It was attended by youth groups, opinion leaders, women groups and Persons Living with Disabilities.
According to the statement, the training was in line with the “innovative improvement of access to WASH against COVID-19 in Health Care”, a project being implemented by WaterAid International to help improve people’s access to WASH in the Municipality.
Funded by Guinness Ghana Brewery Limited, the project which has established community advocacy groups further sought to empower the people to demand accountability from duty-bearers.
The statement regretted that access to WASH services in the Municipality remained challenging because the people were not empowered enough to demand them, hence the intensified public awareness to facilitate processes and empower the people to demand these services from their duty-bearers.
It stressed the need for the District and Municipal Assemblies (MDAs) to engage the people in development planning processes to be able to address the development needs of the communities.
“A recent study conducted during the preparation of the District Assembly Medium Term Development Plans (MTDP) indicates that many of the Assemblies do not fully involve beneficiary communities in the planning and implementation stages of projects”, the statement said.
“This often contributed to the execution of shoddy works that do not meet the needs of the communities”, it indicated and added WaterAid Ghana would continue to provide common platforms for community members to make input into the decision-making processes of the MDAs.
According to the statement, participants lauded WaterAid Ghana and described the training as timely and an eye-opener which would greatly empower the people to engage and demand their social needs from their duty-bearers.
It commended WaterAid Ghana for the good work it had started in the Municipality and asked the NGO to extend the training to benefit other communities too.
This would help build the capacities of the people and empower them to monitor government projects and help to improve WASH in the Municipality, it said.
The participants expressed appreciation to WaterAid and Guinness Ghana for the training, and appealed to the NGO to construct an incinerator and toilet for the Sabuli Health Centre, the statement concluded.