Thursday, December 6, 2012

How Ghana’s political parties perceive WASH services


Though these are not being trumpeted like other issues, some of Ghana’s leading political parties have made pledges in the provision of water, sanitation and hygiene services, should they be voted into power at Ghana’s general elections on December 7, 2012.
The pledges have not been made on campaign platforms such as issues of job creation and education, which have been hammered on by almost all eight presidential candidates in the race to become the next president of Ghana’s fourth republic.
They are however hidden in their manifestos, albeit some have given just little mention of the issues of water, sanitation and hygiene, although they are very essential to the existence of the very people they seek to rule.
Interestingly too, although the elections is just hours away, some of the major parties contesting in the 2012 edition, have not even made public their manifestos – that is – if they actually have them.
Only three of the contesting parties – the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), New Patriotic Party (NPP) and Convention People’s Party (CPP) have manifestos that have been made public and which spell out the plans they have for the Ghanaian people, including plans for water, sanitation and hygiene.
The rest – People’s National Convention (PNC), Progressive People’s Party (PPP), United Front Party (UFP), Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP) and the only independent candidate,  Mr. Joseph Osei-Yeboah have not as much as made known to Ghanaians what they have to offer them by way of a documented manifesto, should they be voted into power.
However, having identified that Ghana’s potable water supply in both urban and rural areas is inadequate, the NPP pledges in its 115-page (59 PDF) 2012 manifesto titled “Transforming Lives, Transforming Ghana”: “We will implement a strengthened National Water Policy,
which will greatly improve supply, hygiene and sanitation. Our goal is to ensure that every Ghanaian has access to potable water. We will continue the programme of the Kufuor government, which undertook major water systems improvements nationwide including Cape Coast, Mankessim, Koforidua, Kumasi, Kwanyarku, Ada, Sogakope, the Accra East – West interconnection and Tamale,” adding, “The programme led to the completion of over 9,000 new boreholes and 500 new pipe water systems.”
Water and Sanitation
Specifically, the party promises in its six-chapter manifesto: “To improve further the supply of water, we will build more urban water systems, sink at least 5,000 more boreholes, and build 300 more small water systems.” With regards to sanitation, the New Patriotic Party pledges to use waste to generate electricity in Ghana and also encourage the use of biodegradable plastics. How much it will devote to that and how it plans to embark on that project is however not spelt out.
Touching on the environment, the party says “We will embark on an ambitious reforestation programme” to restore degraded forests, adding; “This will serve the multi-purpose of protecting the environment, creating immediate jobs for our youth and creating future wealth. We will employ the same concept to use waste to generate electricity in Ghana.”
For its part, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) party in its 2012 manifesto titled “Advancing the better Ghana agenda” first prides itself of its achievements in water, sanitation and hygiene before outlining further plans for the people of Ghana if their mandate is renewed.
The NDC lists its achievements as; the adoption of the Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) strategy, which has started in the Northern, Upper East, Upper West and Central Regions as a response to poor attitudes and behaviours and the resultant waste management challenges; the procurement of 200 motorcycles, 5 pickups and computers for Environmental Health and Sanitation directorates for distribution to regional and district environmental health offices for effective facilitation of sanitation service delivery at the community level and the allocation of 700 assorted waste management equipment to all the MMDAs during the last four years.
In order to sustain water delivery, the party says it has been able to adopt a proposal for the establishment of a ‘Water Fund’ to insulate the poor and marginalised who cannot afford to pay for water; expanded the coverage level for rural and small towns water from 57% in 2008 to 63.34% in 2011 and also expanded the coverage level of urban water to 63.3% at the end of 2011.
“The NDC Government will make even more interventions in the next four years with the goal of attaining ‘Water for All’ by 2020,” the party promises.
This it hopes to do, by rolling out strategic measures to ensure the efficient management of water resources through the integration of water resources management and development with environmental management, to ensure sustainability of water resources in both quantity and quality, co-ordination of water resources planning with land use planning and reforestation programmes for all major river basins.
If given a second term, the NDC plans to promote climate change adaptation measures, promote re-use and re-cycling of water through the use of effective water treatment systems, establish schemes to support, encourage and promote rainwater harvesting; identify and assess ground water resources to enhance water availability.
Urban Water
To improve urban water coverage, the NDC Government promises to mobilise funds for the construction of new, and the rehabilitation and expansion of existing water treatment plants; encourage Public Private Partnerships in water services delivery; and establish a “Water Fund” to support the implementation of a pro-poor water pricing regime.
Rural Water
To enhance rural water supply, the party says in addition to the 20,000 boreholes to be drilled nation-wide, the NDC Government will: establish and operationalise mechanisms for water quality monitoring; and introduce ultraviolet water purification schemes in rural communities where the new approach will be cost-effective.
With respect to sanitation, the NDC says it will put the provision of sanitation facilities at the core of Government’s social policies and programmes over the next four years with key policy initiatives, including the establishment of a National Sanitation Authority (NSA) as an autonomous agency under the Local Government Service to coordinate a harmonised sanitation policy and programme, for implementation by the MMDAs and private sector operators.
The NDC also pledges to implement the “Sanitation for All Ghana Compact” and have it managed sustainably by the  new National Sanitation Authority as a special body under the Local Government Service with independent sources of funding and a strong enforcement mandate on issues of sanitation and waste management.
Open defecation has become a scourge on the country Ghana and the NDC pledges to promote behavioural change for ensuring open-defecation free communities, acquire and develop land and sites for the treatment and disposal of solid waste in major towns and cities, provide modern toilet facilities in public basic schools, establish new and renovate old recycling plants, enforce bye-laws on sanitation by all MMDAs, particularly the prosecution of landlords who fail to provide toilet facilities in their homes and establish special courts to deal with persons or industries that do not comply with sanitation bye-laws – these however, already exist and it is not known if they will add to the already existing sanitation courts.
The Convention People’s Party (CPP) devotes few lines of its 13-page manifesto to the environment and even fewer lines to water, sanitation and hygiene.
The party states generally in chapter nine of its manifesto that touches on the environment, that it will monitor on regular basis all violations of regulations concerning the environment, particularly those pertaining to the production and dumping of chemical and industrial waste, the pollution of the air, water and the damage of land and shorelines through indiscriminate exploitation of resources and the uncontrolled disposal of waste.
Specifically, it mentions that it will “liaise with the Ministry of Health to educate the public on the disposal of human waste and the management of such waste as not to become a health hazard.”

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

WASH in emergencies workshop opens in Dodowa

Jazy Souleymane
Natural and man-made disasters occur everywhere in the world and bring about emergencies that need to be tackled to save humanity from untoward sufferings and deaths as a result of inadequate access to water, sanitation and hygiene services.
It is as a result of this that a four-day WASH in Emergencies workshop (WinE) organised by the Ministry of Water Resources Works and Housing, in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, has opened in Dodowa, the Dangme West District capital of Ghana.
The training workshop for national level staff, is being held with support from United Nations agency UNICEF, from December 3, 2012 to December 6, 2012.
According to the organisers, the training is to enable participants understand and be able to explain key elements for WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) in emergencies.
Some of the participants at the training
It will also afford the over 20 participants drawn from 15 organisations such as the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), NGOs in Water and Sanitation, Ghana Health Service (GHS), Ghana Education Service (GES), UNICEF and the two organising ministries among others, the ability to identify links between regular WASH programme, emergency preparedness and response, risk reduction and early recovery.
The training, which also includes participants from Ghana Urban Water Limited (GUWL) and Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA), is further aimed at enabling participants recognise and explain the implications of cluster approach on WASH programming for emergencies.
 “We want to build capacity in terms of emergency. This is the first ever training we are organising for national level players and we will follow it up with the help of UNICEF at the regional levels,” Mr. Enoch Ofosu, Water Resources Engineer (Specialist), Water Directorate and representative of the Water Resources, Works and Housing Ministry, stated.
“Whenever there are emergencies such as earthquakes, like during refugee situations, like floods and other such occurrences, water and sanitation services are needed whenever there is cholera outbreak, which in itself is a WASH-related disaster – within such emergency, there is need for  water and sanitation services.
“So all what we do that pertains to sanitation, water and hygiene during emergencies, is what we call WASH in emergencies,” Enoch Ofosu explained during an interview.  
Mr. Enoch Ofosu
He continued that as water, sanitation and hygiene services are very essential, their absence during emergencies might exacerbate the situation, hence the importance attached to the training.
Touching on what informed the training, Jazy Souleymane, the UNICEF consultant and sole resource person for the training, told participants that it was as a result of Ghana’s lessons from recent flood events and cholera outbreaks from 2007 to 2010.
Those occurrences suggest that specialised capacity for effective WASH planning and response coordination and implementation during emergencies, needs to be further enhanced, both at the national and regional levels, the UNICEF consultant added.
Saying this will provide direction for more effective response at the district levels, he noted that it is thus pertinent to improve WASH in Emergency (WinE) capacity in emergency preparedness and response planning, emergency assessments and appraisal methodologies, response coordination, WinE information management and monitoring and evaluation.

Monday, November 26, 2012

First CLTS stocktaking workshop held in Tamale


The first ever  three-day community led total sanitation (CLTS) stocktaking forum has been held in the Northern regional capital, Tamale, against the backdrop of Ghana’s deplorably low national sanitation coverage, which currently stands at 14%.
Theme for the forum held from November 20 to 22, 2012, just a day after the commemoration of World Toilet Day on November 19, 2012, for which a national durbar was incidentally held at the Jubilee Park in Tamale, was, “Achieving Open Defecation Free Ghana Through Effective Learning and Sharing”.
One of the very revealing statements made at the forum by operators in the CLTS programme, was that their efforts at ensuring Ghana becomes an open defecation free country are being hampered by the lack of logistics, especially means of transport.
On their part, regional, metropolitan, municipal and district environmental health officers, as well as CLTS focal persons, said they could not achieve the operation 1,500 Dodowa declaration targets, due to the late release of funds, lack of motor bikes for monitoring and the fact that it coincided with the farming season.
Although the government of Ghana has adopted the CLTS strategy as the approach to sanitation delivery, uptake has, at best been erratic, with 20 per cent of Ghanaians (almost 5 million) still practising open defecation on a daily basis; a practice CLTS is expected to bring to a halt.
The use of improved toilets has not fared any better, with more than half the country’s population (16 million Ghanaians) still depending on unsanitary or shared latrines to perform the basic natural function of emptying their bowels daily.
This, in many circles, has been considered a national shame on a country that prides itself as a middle income country and a leader on the African continent.
In Ghana, CLTS is currently being implemented in five regions - the Volta, Central, Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions, with the last three presently experiencing an average open defecation rate of more than 70 per cent.

On the national open defecation chart, according to a 2008 assessment by the Water and Sanitation Monitoring Platform (WSMP), the Upper East Region tops with 81.9 per cent, followed by Upper West with 78.7 per cent.

The Northern Region is third with a rate of 72.9 per cent, followed by the Central Region as the fourth highest on the table with 18.1 per cent, while the Volta Region places fifth with 13.8 per cent. It is thus no wonder that the five regions have been selected for the CLTS programme – they are the top five open defecation areas in the country. 
Participants at the forum, who were drawn from both regional and district offices of the Environmental Health and Sanitation Directorate (EHSD) of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, as well as CLTS focal persons, NGOs and development partners, listened to the success stories of the regions doing relatively well in implementing CLTS, while finding ways of tackling the critical challenges militating against the successful implementation of the strategy.
Meanwhile, as a result of the poor sanitation coverage in Ghana, sanitation related diseases such as cholera, diarrhoea and dysentery among others, have become a regular feature in the country, leading to thousands of needless deaths, especially of children under five years of age.
Available statistics say about 2,000 children die daily from sanitation related diseases globally, and it is believed that the stepping up of community led total sanitation (CLTS), would do the country a lot of good by encouraging communities to take their sanitation destiny into their own hands.
The forum was organised by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Environmental Health and Sanitation Directorate, in collaboration with WASH stakeholders and sponsored by WaterAid in Ghana, UNICEF, USAID and CIDA among others.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Over 10 million Ghanaian women, girls lack adequate sanitation

A female public toilet in Ghana
Over eight in ten women in Ghana have no access to a safe toilet, which threatens their health and exposes them to shame, fear and even violence, says WaterAid in Ghana, a non-governmental organisation in water, sanitation and hygiene.
In a statement released on World Toilet Day commemorated globally on Monday, November 19, 2012, the organisation said currently in Ghana, a total of 10.5 million women and girls lack safe and adequate sanitation, out of which 2.3 million don’t have access to a toilet at all.
This then suggests that 2.3 million of the 4.8 million Ghanaian populace that currently practice open defecation every day, are women and girls.
Globally however, more than one in three (1.25 billion) women in the world lack access to safe sanitation, out of which 526 million of them practice open defecation.  
On what the current state portends for Ghana’s female population, WaterAid states: “Lack of decent sanitation also affects productivity and livelihoods. Women and girls living in Ghana without toilet facilities spend 425 million hours each year finding a place to go in the open.”
It adds that poor hygiene has serious implications on health, with 3,600 mothers in Ghana losing a child to diarrhoeal diseases caused by a lack of adequate sanitation and clean water every year.
Obtainable statistics show that currently around 2,000 children die every day from diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation.
Commenting on the situation, Dr. Afia Zakiya, WaterAid in Ghana’s Country Representative, said: “When women don’t have a safe, secure and private place to go to the toilet they are exposed and put in a vulnerable position and when they relieve themselves in the open they risk harassment. Women are reluctant to talk about it or complain, but the world cannot continue to ignore this.”
Confirming this, a survey commissioned by WaterAid of women living across five slums in Lagos, Nigeria, showed that one in five had first or second hand experience of verbal harassment and intimidation, or had been threatened or physically assaulted in the last year when going to the toilet.
This figure may however be high, according to anecdotal evidence from communities around the world.
Studies have also been conducted in Uganda, Kenya, India and the Solomon Islands, which show that experiences of fear, indignity and violence are common place wherever women lack access to safe and adequate sanitation.
Among others, the polls showed that the most common location for women accessing sanitation facilities was ‘informal outside location’ (40%) as compared to a toilet within their own home (33%), public toilet in the area where they live (19%) or public toilet at their place of work (6%).
Sixty-eight out of 100 women also agreed that the cost of accessing public toilets was a problem for them, while sixty-one out of hundred agreed that the public toilets that they normally used were unhygienic.
At present, one in eight of the world’s population (783 million people) live without safe water, while 39 out of every 100 people (2.5 billion people) live without sanitation.
Dr. Afia Zakiya making her presentation at Tamale. Pix: Peter Serinye
Meanwhile, according to a briefing presented by Dr. Afia Zakiya at Ghana’s commemoration of World Toilet Day in Tamale, Monday, November 19, 2012, at current rates of progress, it will be over 165 years before Sub-Saharan Africa meets its sanitation MDG target, and another 350 years to get to universal access. 
She said for South Asia, it will be over 25 years before it meets its sanitation MDG target, and nearly 70 years to get universal access at current rates of progress.

WaterAid’s Country Representative further disclosed that s
ince 1990, around 900 million women and girls have gained access to safe sanitation facilities, while over a billion have gained access to clean drinking water

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Kumasi launches faecal-sludge-to-biodiesel fuel plant today


Improper disposal of faecal sludge in Ghana

To commemorate World Toilet Day today, November 19, 2012 and also help solve an age-old problem of the proper disposal of  faecal sludge, a multi-national team will today launch a groundbreaking research facility that transforms human waste into renewable biodiesel fuel in Kumasi, the Ashanti Regional capital of Ghana.

A joint effort by researchers at Columbia University’s Engineering School working in Ghana with Waste Enterprisers Ltd., the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), and the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly, the pilot facility is expected to produce renewable, cost-effective and sustainable energy.

Currently, the team is scaling up its research efforts initiated in the Columbia University Engineering lab, and expects the facility to become a revolutionary new model in sanitation, especially across the developing world.

According to the team of researchers, today’s launch of the pilot phase is a major milestone in the pioneering project, which is now entering its second year.

Funded through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the project is led by Kartik Chandran, an associate professor of Earth and Environmental Engineering at Columbia University’s school of engineering and applied science and Ashley Murray, Founder and CEO of Waste Enterprisers Ltd, a Ghanaian company that is working to reinvent the economics of sanitation in the developing world.

As part of the project, Chandran is developing an innovative technology to transform faecal sludge into biodiesel fuel and is working on converting a waste-processing facility into a bio refinery.

Commenting on the facility, Chandran said, “This is a very exciting project for us. We are aiming to create a next-generation urban sanitation facility that will set new standards and serve as a model around the world.”
He added that “With the capacity to receive and treat 10,000 liters, or 2500 gallons ( a full sanitation truck carrying concentrated faecal matter from at least 5,000 people) of faecal sludge per day, this facility reaches way beyond the lab scale.

Meanwhile, in the pilot phase, expected to last 12 months, the researchers will be testing Chandran’s bioprocess technology for converting the organic compounds present in faecal sludge to biodiesel and methane, two potent sources of renewable energy.

Touching on the motivation for the project, Murray said; “Our goal is to develop a revenue-generating faecal-sludge-to-biodiesel facility that can transform sanitation from an expensive burden into a profitable venture.”

“If we figure out a way to make waste management profitable, governments and citizens that currently bear the financial, environmental, and public health costs will all be better off,” he  stated.

Chandran and Murray are working closely with several of the associate professor’s students at KNUST along with a team of process engineers, to improve the biodiesel yield from faecal sludge and explore the commercial viability of a business model based on creating biodiesel from human waste.

Speaking on this aspect, Murray opines; “This project is about more than a technology breakthrough, it’s about creating economically sustainable approaches to waste management that can eliminate the sanitation crisis in developing cities.”

Expressing their gratefulness to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for their recognition of the critical importance of sustainable sanitation across the globe, especially in developing countries, Chandran adds; “We hope our model can be replicated and adapted around the world.”

For his part, Anthony Mensah, Waste Management Director for the city of Kumasi believes “The faecal sludge to biodiesel pilot project could potentially address sustainable sanitation and introduce a new dimension into the sanitation value chain, not only in Kumasi but globally,” saying “The Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly is therefore delighted to be part of this novel partnership.”

WaterAid urges Ghana Government to keep promises on water and sanitation

Dr. Afia Zakiya
We don’t want vain promises on water and sanitation. When you make promises keep them because people are dying from the lack of these basics of life.
Today, this message will be one of many that hundreds of thousands of people from across the globe, including Ghana, will be sharing with their governments, to push for better sanitation, water and hygiene services and facilities.
WaterAid in Ghana, an international NGO headquartered in the UK, will be joining people across the globe in calling for an end to unfulfilled promises on providing access to safe sanitation and clean water, as the international charity launches its Keep Your Promises campaign.

Friday, November 16, 2012

HSBC supports Ghana, five others with US$ 25 million

Team Lead Sue Alexander and Dr. Afia Zakiya, WAG Country Representative

HSBC Holdings Plc, one of the world’s largest financial service organisations with over 6,900 branches in about 88 countries, has committed US$ 25 million to support Ghana and five other countries provide safe water and improved sanitation to 1.1 million and 1.9 million respectively, of their marginalised and poor people.

According to HSBC, Ghana will receive support of over US$ 3 million to enable the country provide safe water and improved sanitation to over 100,000 people.

The amount, which will be spread over five years, forms part of a total of US$ 100 million the bank has set aside to assist a host of countries where three partners - WaterAid, the Worldwide Wildlife Fund and Earthwatch  Institute are operating, through its Water Programme.

Partnering the bank from Ghana to provide improved water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services in five selected districts of the country, is WaterAid in Ghana, a non-governmental development organisation with more than 27 years of experience in providing WASH services in the country.

Ghana and Nigeria in Africa, India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan in Asia, are the WaterAid countries to benefit from the five-year facility from the HSBC Bank.

These came to light, during an interaction Thursday, November 15, 2012 in Accra, with a seven-member HSBC global team that was on a visit to Ghana from November 10, 2012 to November 17, 2012.

The visit was specifically to two of the selected districts (Birim North and Kwahu North in the Eastern Region), where WaterAid in Ghana with support from HSBC, is starting work to improve access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene.

The team also visited established WaterAid projects to see the difference that safe water, sanitation and hygiene have already made to individuals, communities and local economies.

Other districts to benefit from the HSBC facility, are Tamale in the Northern Region, Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region and Wa in the Upper West Region.

Explaining what informed selection of the five districts the facility will cover, Mr. Ibrahim Musah, Head of Policy and Partnerships (HOPP), WaterAid in Ghana (WAG), told the selected team of five journalists belonging to the Ghana Watsan Journalists Network (GWJN), that they form part of 40 poorest districts identified in the country.

Commenting on the partnership with the HSBC Water Programme (HWP), he said “Working with the HSBC Water Programme over the next five years, we will bring safe water to over 120,000 people and sanitation to over 80,000 people,” which he disclosed is the largest singular support to be received from a partner in the history of WAG, and which will contribute 30% to the organisation’s user numbers.

“Together with HSBC and our local partners, communities will not only benefit from improved access to safe water and sanitation, they will also learn about hygiene and implementing and maintaining new infrastructure,” Ibrahim Musah stated, adding, “Access to sanitation, can help to restore dignity and, particularly for women, help to reduce discrimination and marginalisation.”

Answering a question on why HSBC chose to support WaterAid deliver safe water and sanitation services, Sue Alexander, HSBC’s Senior Manager of Environmental Programmes and leader of the team, for her part, recounted a statement made by a chief in one of the communities visited.

“‘He said to us, if you bring our community water you bring them life’, and I was very struck by that – this is going to be one of the communities that we will be supporting in Birim North, and to me that very succinctly sums up what the HSBC is thinking.”

“We believe that if you give people the basic necessities of life, that will then encourage them, and enable them to make the most to reach their full potential. So we would like to support the whole five-year programme with US$ 100 million. And it is all about supporting people throughout their lives and their livelihoods,” Sue Alexander said.

She further intimated that the decision to support the areas selected in Africa and Asia was arrived at, after deliberations with WaterAid International on the areas of the most need.

Apart from WaterAid, the HSBC Water Programme’s collaboration with the Earthwatch Institute and Worldwide Wildlife Fund (WWF) will enable support to research projects on water in 20 cities and practices/policies that help protect five river basins.  

HSBC team with some WaterAid, UK and Ghana staff
Thanking the HSBC global team for their support to WaterAid in Ghana’s country programme and the people of Ghana “who are suffering the most from WASH poverty,” Dr. Afia Zakiya, Country Representative, WAG, said “In spite [of] being a middle income country and the benevolence of countries, there is still great inequities in terms of access and provision to safe clean water and sanitation services.”
She told the visiting team that in terms of coverage, sanitation is only at 14%, while water is about 74%, stating, “Particularly in the North where the HSBC Programme will reach thousands of people, we have a very big problem with open defecation.”

Dr. Zakiya however submitted that the figures do not tell the inequalities in the region based on gender and other factors, which are key variables that WAG looks at, in the equity and inclusion principles that guide the nature of work that they do.  

HSBC Holdings Plc currently serves around 60 million customers through its four global businesses: Retail Banking and Wealth Management, Commercial Banking, Global Banking and Markets, and Global Private Banking.

It is also listed on the London, Hong Kong, New York, Paris and Bermuda stock exchanges, while its shares are held by over 221,000 shareholders in 134 countries and territories.

One million Burkinabes to benefit from FCFA 90.5bn sanitation project


It is estimated that one million of Burkina Faso’s population living in the capital, Ouagadougou, will benefit from a large sanitation project estimated to cost FCFA 90.5 billion (€138 million).
The project, which takes off in earnest in 2013 and expected to be completed in 2017, was the subject of feasibility studies funded by the African Water Facility (AWF), which provided €647,000, covering 88 per cent of the costs of the preparatory work completed in August 2011.
Of paramount importance to Ouagadougou, in light of the tragic flood of September 1, 2009 which left thousands homeless, the Burkinabe capital city’s authority hopes to implement a sanitation system resilient to the increasingly devastating floods they have been recurrently facing in recent years due to climate change.
To mobilise the funds for construction of the planned infrastructure, Ouagadougou’s City Council on Tuesday, November 13, 2012, organised a donor roundtable, at which representatives of various local, regional and international development agencies and from different levels of Government discussed funding of the sanitation project in the peri-urban areas of Ouagadougou.
Represented at the meeting were the Africa Water Facility (AWF), African Development Bank (AfDB), the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, the French Development Agency, the German Development Bank (KfW), the Islamic Development Bank, OFID (former Fund of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries), UN-Habitat, WaterAid, Water and Sanitation Agency Africa, the West African Development Bank and the World Bank.
Commenting on their participation in the project, Akissa Bahri, Coordinator of the African Water Facility, said, “We are proud to be associated with this initiative and confident in the leadership of the city to carry out such an important and promising project.”
“We hope the financial partners will also support this project, which should benefit a wide range of citizens, including youth, women and the poorest people of the suburbs, providing them with a better living environment,” he added.
Meanwhile, the African Development Bank (AfDB), has already committed to funding the project up to €26 million (FCFA 17 billion) to begin the works as early as 2013, adding to the €8 million (FCFA 5 billion ) committed by the Government of Burkina Faso, and the €1.5 million (FCFA 1 billion) invested by the Municipality of Ouagadougou.
The city is now seeking to fill the €103 million (FCFA 67.5 billion) gap with other financial partners, most of whom expressed interest in the project during the roundtable stage.
Currently, Burkina Faso and the City of Ouagadougou are important partners of the African Water Facility.
Burkina Faso also recently joined the group of donors of the African Water Facility by making a contribution of €80,000, which demonstrates the country’s commitment to promoting the development of the water sector, both at home and across the continent.
The AWF is an initiative of the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) hosted by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and established in 2004 as a Special Water Fund to help African countries achieve the objectives of the Africa Water Vision 2025.
It offers grants from €50,000 to €5 million, to support projects aligned with its mission and strategy to a wide range of institutions and organisations operating in Africa.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Kenya loses US$ 145 million to deforestation in two years


A joint Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and UN Environment Programme (UNEP) report released Monday, November 5, 2012, has revealed that deforestation deprived Kenya’s economy of 6.6 billion shillings (US$ 77million) in 2009 and 5.8 billion shillings ($US 68 million) in 2010, making it a total of US$ 145 in just two years.
This, according to the report, far outstrips the roughly 1.3 billion shillings injected from forestry and logging each year. 
However, the ongoing work of the KFS, together with the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) and international partners, says that the contribution of forests is undervalued by 2.5 per cent, putting the estimate of its annual contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at around 3.6 per cent.
The report found the main reasons for deforestation to be multiple and complex spanning  from unregulated charcoal production, logging of indigenous trees, marijuana cultivation, and cultivated fields in the indigenous forest to shamba-system practices, livestock grazing, quarry landslides and human settlements.
It also states that while fuel wood and charcoal represent the most important energy source for the population at 75 per cent, the forestry sector creates both formal and informal job opportunities, especially in rural areas. 
“As a result, deforestation has largely been driven by private consumption, as the demand of households has doubled within the last ten years. This number is also underestimated as it does not incorporate the informal sector, which has been expanding, particularly in rural areas where firewood is collected for free or exchanged for other goods,” a release from KFS and UNEP said. 
According to the release, although forest products bring in one-off cash to the national economy, they encourage illegal deforestation activities and create huge economic damage through the loss of regulating services.  
Quantifying the negative economic consequences of deforestation, the report indicates that 
by 2010, the cumulative negative effect of deforestation on the Kenyan economy through reduction in regulating services, was an estimated KSh 3,650 million per year, more than four times the cash revenue of deforestation;
Deforestation also decreased river flows in the dry season and reduced water supply to irrigation agriculture, at a cost of 1.5 billion shillings to the sector in 2010, while 
reduced river flows also reduced hydropower generation by eight million shillings, producing a multiplier effect on the rest of the economy through power shortages (46 per cent of Kenya’s power comes from hydro generation).
Further, increased wet-season flows led to erosion and sedimentation, resulting in a loss of productive soil resources, which in turn increased nutrient content in fresh water systems, causing siltation and increasing turbidity of water supplies.
This reduction in water quality reduced inland fish catch by 86 million shillings and increased the cost of water treatment for potable use by 192 million shillings in 2010. 
The report also indicates the incidence of malaria as a result of deforestation is estimated to have cost 237 million shillings by 2010, in the form of health costs to the government and losses in labour productivity. 
Meanwhile, the above-ground carbon storage value forgone through deforestation was estimated at 511 million shillings in 2010 (calculated at a value of US$6 per ton under the REDD+ scheme). 
Commenting on the report titled ‘The Role and Contribution of Montane Forests and Related Ecosystem Services to the Kenyan Economy’ which was launched at the beginning of the Kenya Water Towers, Forests and Green Economy National Dialogue, Hon. Dr. Noah Wekesa, Kenya’s Minister of Forestry and Wildlife, said it marked a new phase in efforts to conserve the vital ecosystem services provided by Kenya’s forests. 
He stated that “The value of the Mau Forest’s ecosystem services to the Kenyan economy previously calculated by UNEP has already catalysed a response to conserve and rehabilitate this vital resource,” adding, “This shows we have already acknowledged the importance of forests. However, this new report quantifies the massive scale of the economic damage deforestation brings and shows much more needs to be done nation-wide.”
Incidentally, the Kenyan government has already recognised the value of its forests, and is working on the rehabilitation of the Mau Forest Complex. Over the last one-and-a-half years, more than 21,000 hectares of forestland have been repossessed, and 10,000 hectares have been rehabilitated by the Government of Kenya and partners. 
Also, a number of programmes and activities have been started to improve the livelihoods of communities living adjacent to the forest and address the situation of the forest-dwelling communities, in particular the Ogiek. 
It was with the view to expanding efforts to all water towers, that the Government of Kenya gazetted the Kenya Water Towers Agency on 13 April 2012, which will take over the responsibilities of the Mau Secretariat and be responsible for coordinating and supervising the rehabilitation, conservation and management of Kenyan water towers. 
Kenya’s five water towers - Mau Forest Complex, Mount Kenya, the Aberdares, Mount Elgon and Cherangani – feed filtered rainwater to rivers and lakes and provide more than 15,800 million cubic metres of water per year, which represents over 75 per cent of the country’s renewable surface water resources. 
These forests store water during the rainy season and release it slowly, thus ensuring water flow during dry periods. The forests thus provide resilience to seasonal environmental and economic changes and long-term economic hazards like climate change.
Aside from timber and fuel they also bring benefits to the agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors; the electricity and water sectors; the hotels and accommodation sector; and the public administration and defense sector. 
Yet between 2000 and 2010, deforestation in the water towers amounted to an estimated 28,427 hectares, leading to reduced water availability of approximately 62 million cubic metres per year to Kenya’s economy which is highly vulnerable to water availability. Inflation spiked above 10 per cent on three occasions between 2000 and 2010, each time driven by drought combined with increasing crude oil prices and weaker exchange rates. 
Commending Kenya for the steps taken so far to remedy the deforestation situation, Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director said; "Kenya is today underlining its determination to be among a group of pioneering countries putting its nature-based assets at the centre of its sustainable development ambitions”. 
“The findings of this report are based on the best international analytical methods and the latest environmental and economic evidence - it is these kinds of cutting-edge assessments that are inspiring more and more countries in Africa and beyond towards the opportunities presented in a transition to an inclusive Green Economy," he added. 
The report makes a host of recommendations including incorporating sustainable actions such as selective thinning regimes, protection against uncontrolled settlements, adequate allocation and policing of water withdrawals and improved management of degraded land. 
It also tasks the government to ensure that Kenya has in place a fully functioning forest resource account, in order to capture the various benefits provided by forests.
It also advocates stronger regulation of forest use, such as the enacting of farm forestry, forest harvesting and charcoal regulations promulgated in 2009, which represent an important step in the right direction and needs to be pursued. 
Kenya’ policy makers are also to encourage investment in the forestry sector, in order to increase the efficiency in production, especially in sawn timber and charcoal production and 
address the growing trend of dependence on imports of forest products, which constituted more than 50 per cent of domestic output for the year 2009.
They are also to ensure adequate regeneration after harvest and an increased forest plantation growth in the long term, together with a better coordination of regulating institutions, producers and consumers of forest products and further mainstream instruments and incentives such as payment for ecosystem services, trading and insurance schemes. 
Meanwhile, forests in Kenya also represent a great opportunity in terms of carbon storage and the use of carbon trading schemes, the report found. 
The economic analysis also lends weight to the Inclusive Wealth Index, a joint initiative by the United Nations University International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (UNU-IHDP) and UNEP. 
Launched at Rio+20, the index is a new indicator which looks beyond (Gross Domestic Product) GDP to include natural and human capital, thus encouraging governments to implement policies that encourage sustainable use of natural resources.

GJA 2010 Award Winners

GJA 2010 Award Winners
Dzifa, Emelia and Gertrude

GJA 2011 Award Winners

GJA 2011 Award Winners
GWJN's 2011 GJA Award-Winning Team

New WASH-JN Executives

New WASH-JN Executives
They are from left - Edmund, Ghana, Aminata: Guinea, Alain: Benin, Paule: Senegal and Ousman: Niger

Celebrating Award

Celebrating Award
The benefits of Award Winning!

Hard Work Pays!

Hard Work Pays!
In a pose with my plaque