Friday, August 31, 2012

4th Ghana Water Forum postponed to 2013

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE
Dignitaries at the 3rd Ghana Water Forum

The Water Directorate of Ghana’s Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing (MWRWH), has announced its rescheduling of the 4th Ghana Water Forum (GWF) to the year 2013.
Originally planned for September this year, the Directorate said the GWF planning committee has had to postpone Ghana’s biggest forum on water, due to recent national developments.
In the interim, the planning committee says as it works on a new date for the forum, it will be reflecting on past events, reviewing and following up on past communiqu├ęs (decision points), and report on progress at the forthcoming forum.
It says it therefore welcomes inputs such as suggestions, comments and others from various stakeholders, to ensure an improvement over the previous water forums held since its establishment three years ago.
The Ghana Water Forum (GWF) was established in 2009 out of the then Ghana Government/Development Partners Annual Review Conference, to create a platform for Ghana’s political leadership, water sector professionals, stakeholders and partners to discuss opportunities and challenges of achieving water security for Ghana’s socio-economic development.
It is also aimed at taking stock of the status of the achievements of the MDGs in Ghana, reviewing key achievements and challenges and proposing strategies and actions for accelerating the achievement of the water and sanitation targets and also build consensus on water security and provide recommendations for consideration at the highest political level.
The GWF, which has already been held three times since its inception, is also geared at formulating concrete policies, strategies and actions to accelerate water resources development and the provision of services, providing a platform for exchange of Water and Sanitation Sector knowledge and information and serving as a forerunner to the Africa Water Week, where proceedings from the GWF are presented.
In a communication signed by the GWF planning committee chair and Deputy Director for Water at the Water Directorate, Mr. Harold Clottey, the committee pledged to finalise and communicate the rescheduled date and details soon, regretting any inconvenience the postponement might cause.
Previous Ghana Water Forums have been held in 2009, 2010 and 2011 in Accra under the themes: “Accelerating Water Security for Ghana’s Socio-Economic Development” , “The role of Children and the Youth in Sanitation and water service delivery in Ghana: The Sustainability factor" and “Water and Sanitation Services Delivery in a Rapidly Changing Urban Environment”, respectively and attracted large participation from sector stakeholders and development partners as well as the Ghana business community.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Zoomlion initiates alliance for Ghana’s waste management companies

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE
Rubbish heaps at public toilets is a common site in Ghana

In living with their creed as waste management experts, Zoomlion Company Limited has introduced a general pool of expertise and resources involving all of Ghana’s waste management companies who will like to be part of it.
The general wealth of knowledge and equipment embracing the country’s waste companies, which is to be known as Zoom Alliance, is also meant to afford all the companies the capability to operate effectively in their various areas designated to them by the country’s city and district authorities.
It is believed this ‘all-hands-on-deck’ approach would go a long way to help the country deal with its daunting challenges in managing its waste effectively and also do away with the many instances of heaped and uncollected domestic waste as a result of the unavailability of refuse containers, trucks and other equipment.
Announcing the establishment of the Alliance at a press briefing in Accra, Tuesday, August 28, 2012, Mr. A. B. Adjei, Managing Director, Zoomlion Alliance, said, having started as a project initiated under the Zoom Domestic Services wing of Zoomlion, it is now a corporate entity, with a structure as that of any limited liability company to perform the functions that were envisaged at the commencement of the project.
According to him, “the capital intensive nature of waste management presents a major barrier to progress; and it is against this background that the need for a collaborative front to help resource the industry and build partnership with waste management operators and effectively collect and dispose of waste in communities, was conceived.”
“So the idea of having a collaborative front, which has given birth to the Zoom Alliance, was as a result of the enormity of the challenges that waste management posed to both government and the client,” he stated.
Mr. Adjei also disclosed that in order to monitor the activities that flow from the challenges of waste management, the initiators of the Alliance found the need to register a waste management partnership, stressing that the Alliance is not a waste management company which is coming to add to the existing management company, but a collaborative effort “with the aim of providing a common operational platform on the basis of trust and transparency, to address the challenges confronting the industry.”
This he said, means it will never go out to solicit for a concession on its own but rather have a collaborative approach with existing management companies including Zoomlion itself.
The Alliance’s focus is also “to complement waste management operators’ equipment, their human and financial resources, so we can provide satisfactory waste management collection and disposal services, Mr. Adjei stated.   
Divulging the vision of the Alliance, he said it is  to create a common operational platform to address the increasing challenges confronting waste management operations in Ghana, while the mission is to bring all waste management operators together, by mobilising their human, financial and material resources, to provide best practice options for improved service delivery standards, for the mutual benefit of members.
“The establishment of Zoom Alliance is essentially to provide or to as it were, enhance the efficiency of waste management services in the country; and in doing so, the Alliance has positioned itself to provide the human, material and technical resources that most of these waste management companies as we speak, lack and therefore are not able to provide the level of efficient services required of them,” he reiterated.   
Touching on the specific duties of the Alliance, Mr. A. B. Adjei said it will primarily be responsible for managing waste and revenue collection of authorised operational areas of Alliance members, which means the Alliance will be responsible for management of waste collection and waste disposal of all members who have joined it.
According to Alliance’s MD, it will also “facilitate the acquisition and management of technical, material and human resources, through the provision of personnel and equipment, for effective collection and disposal of waste across the country.”
The days when heaps of rubbish were left uncollected for weeks and months in towns and cities will thus become a thing of the past, as the Alliance will always assess the capacities of members that win contracts and accordingly make up for any shortfalls in manpower and equipment in areas covered by the contract.
Further, Alliance members will benefit from viable financial models to operate effectively with, so finance does not continue to be a stumbling block in the provision of effective waste management services across the country.
The Alliance will however not do everything by itself, but depend on outsourced services when the need arises – when available capacity of the Alliance is not adequate to meet up to the services expected to be rendered.
Outlining the steps for admittance into the Alliance, Mr. Adjei mentioned putting in of an application by way of a membership form, assessment and validation (must have a valid contract with an Assembly for an area) of the prospective operator, the acceptance and signing of an initial Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), after which the new member’s area of operation will be visited for a full assessment, during which there will be registration of all members of the communities in the catchment area.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Zoomlion to offer political parties discount during campaigns

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE
Some employees of Zoomlion at work

Waste management company, Zoomlion Ghana Ltd, has pledged to offer its services at a discount to all Ghanaian political parties as its contribution towards the country’s upcoming general elections.
Although the company does not state how much the discount will be, Zoomlion plans to deploy workers to all campaign venues in consultation with the political parties, to help bring sanitation sanity to such venues during and after political rallies.
Presenting an update on Zoomlion’s activities in the past year during a press briefing at the company’s head office in Accra, Tuesday, August 28, 2012, Mr. Lawrence Laryea, Operations Manager, stated; “One of the key issues we are working on now, is the sanitation situation as we go through our campaign towards election 2012 – and our commitment level is very high – we intend to deploy personnel to be present at all the political rallies in consultation with the various political parties, and we will be giving discount to the political parties that would want to engage our services in their rallies.”
The collaboration, Mr. Laryea said, is also to enable the company intensify its public education during the electioneering period, “to ensure that our environment is clean.”
Emphasising that corporate social responsibility is very key to Zoomlion’s operations, he mentioned a Zoomkids club that has been established in schools to inculcate good sanitary practices in children.
The operations manager also hinted that the company’s second batch of 30 Zoom Captains (an initiative embarked on to introduce women into the operation of heavy-duty and earth-moving equipment), will be trained in October this year, as part of its programme to adequately equip personnel to handle those work equipment.
Further, to assist in public education, which he stated is very key to the company’s operations, Mr. Laryea said they have organised clean-up exercises and made some donations in the past year, disclosing, “One of the key [donations] is GH¢ 150,000 that we supported the Accra Metropolitan Assembly [AMA] with, when they were trying to stop the shift programme.”
According to the operations manager, the money was specifically used to construct some classroom blocks for schools within the AMA jurisdiction in the Greater Accra Region that employed the shift system.
He also made mention of a Waste Management Institute  that is still under construction, divulging that hopefully the first programme will begin in September 2013.
An oil waste treatment plant which is nearing completion, will also be ready for commissioning by September 2012, he told journalists at the briefing.
Earlier in his welcome address, Mr. Emmanuel Okomeng, Acting Managing Director, Zommlion Ghana Limited, stated that the company has attained a level of success in its field of endeavour, due to its adoption of a multi-faceted approach to solving the waste management and general environmental problems that have bedevilled the country for many years, though that has not been easy on them.
“We have vowed to spearhead the campaign to totally rid Africa of filth and boost the tourism potential of the continent. Zoomlion Ghana Limited hopes to achieve this dream through effective collaboration with various governments and other players in the sanitation industry, who we prefer to refer to as partners,” he said.
He told the media, that the meeting was essentially to brief them on a Zoomlion Alliance Project and also to make known to them, how the company was braising itself for a filth free environment before, during and after the electioneering period.

AfDB approves US$ 825,00 for green technology projects

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE


The Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA), a joint initiative of the Danish government and the Energy, Environment and Climate Change Department (ONEC) of the African Development Bank (AfDB), has approved its first grant of US$ 825,000 to finance the concept phase of the Green Tech Financial Facility.
The facility, which was launched on August 17, 2012, is a vehicle for investments in private-sector driven green technology projects – including market scoping and positioning studies, fund conceptualisation and fund manager selection.
According to the African Development Bank, the grant will be coordinated and monitored by a task team from the Private Sector Department of the AfDB, working closely with the African Biofuel and Renewable Energy Company (ABREC) and the SEFA Secretariat.
The AfDB says it is the absence of a coherent investment framework to support the “green growth” development agenda in Africa and elsewhere, and the fact that climate-oriented facilities designed to address this problem channel capital from predominantly public contributions, that informed approval of the grant.
In a statement, the bank said “While Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) have achieved some success leveraging private finance using a variety of instruments, mainly through Climate Investment Funds, these initiatives lack sufficient scale to meet global climate finance needs.”
In view of that it says there remains untapped potential to design an appropriate financing mechanism that systematically channels private capital into environmentally-sound technologies that improve resource efficiency and economic competitiveness while reducing carbon emissions. 
AfDB disclosed that the SEFA grant will therefore support it in structuring and launching an investment facility aimed at increasing private capital flow, channeled to private sector-led projects that implement carbon-reducing and clean technologies for Africa.
The optimal structure and fund management protocol for the financial facility will be informed by thorough market research and analysis, it says, adding, “The grant will also support the design of a Technical Assistance Facility to provide capacity and implementation support to the investee companies.”
According to AfDB, the grant aligns with SEFA’s equity investment window and ABREC’s African Biofuel and Renewable Energy Fund could thus become a vehicle for SEFA (as a co-investor) to direct investments to SMEs along the clean energy value chain. 
SEFA was established in 2011 with a commitment from the Government of Denmark of DKK 300 million (approximately US$ 56 million), and was open for business at the start of 2012.
It is currently operating under two components named as the Project Preparation Grants (PPG) and Equity Investments (EI).
The PPG will facilitate the preparation of small and medium-scale renewable energy (RE) generation and energy efficiency (EE) projects requiring total capital investments of US$ 30 -75 million, while Equity Investments will seek to address the lack of access to start-up and growth capital for SMEs, as well as their limited managerial and technical capability, and targeting of RE and EE projects in the US$ 10-30 million range.
SEFA is structured to be used as a flexible multi-donor/multi-purpose platform to support the access to sustainable energy agenda in Africa, and one of Africa’s potential instruments under the UN’s Sustainable Energy for All Initiative.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Gov’t commends NGOs for their support in water, sanitation services delivery

EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE

Hon. Nii Nortey Dua

Ghana’s government ministries responsible for water and sanitation services delivery – the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing (MWRWH) and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD), have paid glowing tribute to non-governmental organisations operating in the country, for their support in the delivery of water and sanitation services.

Delivering the keynote address at the 23rd Mole Conference on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) at Tamale in the Northern Region of Ghana, Hon. Nii Nortey Dua, Deputy Minister, Water Resources, Works and Housing and Member of Parliament, Ledzokuku Constituency, said; “The two ministries, within whose ambit WASH activities fall, recognise the immense contributions of CSOs and NGOs in WASH services delivery, as a complement to government’s efforts to improve the sector.”

Addressing the conference organized by the Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS) and held on the theme; “Financing the WASH sector: Past, Current Trends and Vision for the Future on Wednesday, August 22, 2012, he disclosed that over the years, “Government has in collaboration with development partners and other sector stakeholders  initiated policies, strategies and plans to deliver WASH services to the poor and the marginalised.”

“Government has also reviewed the Legal Instrument of the Community Water and Sanitation Agency and provided an enabling environment  for NGOs and development partners, to make the relevant contributions to the sector,” the Deputy Minister stated.

He further commended CONIWAS for consistently organising the Mole Conference series for the past 23 years, saying it was unprecedented.

Earlier in his welcome address to the over 100 participants, Hon. Moses Mabeneba, Northern Regional Minister, declared; “I am aware that there are a lot of organisations, especially NGOs in this region supporting us with WASH services. I must say they are doing good work and we appreciate their services.”

He said it is in view of the challenges of accessing potable water supply services in both urban and rural areas, with women and children in particular having to walk long distances, coupled with the unacceptable level of environmental and hygiene services, that the region has over the past three years, partnered government agencies, the NGO community and development partners, “to make WASH services more accessible to our people.”

Hon. Mabeneba however lamented that there are a lot of non-governmental organisations they do not know of or know how they operate, adding that some of such NGOs enter communities and assist them without the regional administration’s knowledge and without going through standard procedures and authorities.

The Minister also tasked all NGOs in the region to employ proper coordination and reporting mechanisms to let them know the exact assistance that they offer the communities they work in.

For his part, Dr. Frederick Addai, Director, Water Directorate, Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing said no nation can develop, leaving its water and sanitation sector behind. “If we all agree water is life and that sanitation and hygiene affect the quality of life, then financing the WASH sector should be a priority for everyone,” he stressed.

Also admitting the immense support civil society continues to offer the sector, he said; “Delivering WASH services is an arduous task and we need more people to help in doing this – so we need NGOs, CBOs and the rest who are genuine partners, to help delivery in the WASH sector.”

Dr. Addai assured  CONIWAS of the Water Directorate’s support even as the demand for water and sanitation services go higher and expressed the hope that the coalition’s financiers would appreciate their good work in the sector and continue to assist them organise the Mole conference series.

Making a statement on behalf of the Acting Director of the Environmental Health and Sanitation Directorate (EHSD), Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) Mr. Lenason Naa Demedeme, Mr. Cosmos…… Senior Public Health Engineer, EHSD, Tamale divulged the EHSD has developed a National Environmental Sanitation Strategy Action Plan (NESSAP), to essentially tackle the issue of capacity.

“What is really required is the needed capital investment in the sector, for which I urge the government, NGOs, private sector and development partners, to do more in this direction,” he said.
“No one can overlook the critical role CONIWAS is playing, especially in the areas of advocacy, citizen engagement and sector programming,” he stated, asking the coalition to keep it up and that there is still room for improvement.  

He listed the areas for which more development will be needed from the NGOs as; monitoring, evaluation, accountability, effect of fully fledged decentralisation on WASH services delivery, collaboration, harmonisation, nationwide start up of community led  total sanitation (CLTS) and the capacity of civil societies, saying “These are your areas of expertise and we expect you to provide the needed support to deal with them.”

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Chronic under funding responsible for Ghana’s sanitation woes – CONIWAS

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE
The Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS), has blamed Ghana’s poor performance in sanitation especially, but also hygiene and water coverage, on the inadequacy of funding to the sector over the years.
Stressing that the availability of timely and adequate financial resources provides lifeblood for the success and survival of not only businesses, but many other life endeavours, the coalition said “The Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Sector in Ghana suffers from chronic under funding, resulting in the poor sanitation situation in the country.”
According to CONIWAS, it is this state of affairs in the country that informed the choice of theme: “Financing The Wash Sector:  Past, Current Trends And Vision For The Future” for this year’s national WASH forum (Mole XXIII), set to take off at Ghana’s Northern Regional capital, Tamale Wednesday, August 22, 2012.
Further underscoring the crucial need for adequate financing to the WASH sector, and the relevance of this year’s Mole Conference theme, the coalition in its background paper for the conference quoted a statement made by Ghana’s former President and chair for the 2nd High Level Meeting (HLM) held in Washington DC, John Agyekum Kufuor, on April 21, 2012, that “the dream of universal access to sanitation and water is within our reach, but a tremendous  increase in political will, adequate resources and coordinated efforts is required  to get us there”.
But CONIWAS says, “Ironically, Government allocations to the WASH sector since 2006 have consistently fallen below 2% of annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” adding, “According to the sector performance report (GOG/MWRWH, 2010) it has shown a downward trend, having dropped from 1.52% in 2006 to 0.52% in 2010.”
The coalition further disclosed that an assessment made of the post 2010 annual budget, showed that Ghana met this commitment by 46% and 72% in 2011 and 2012 respectively.
“However, while, CSOs and CONIWAS membership acknowledge progress made in the water sub-sector, it is difficult to accept that actual release of funds was done to support sanitation delivery in particular, given the abysmal sanitation situation in the country, with just 14% coverage of improved sanitation (JMP Report 2012 Update),” they said.
Shoring up its call for more funding for Ghana’s WASH sector, the coalition cited the eThekwini declaration for which Ghana is a signatory, which obliges the country’s government to invest up to 0.5% of GDP in sanitation and decried the country’s current commitment which hovers around 0.1%.
According to CONIWAS, another critical consideration for the decision to focus Mole XXIII on sector financing, is the economic gains and multiplier effects that come with investment in WASH.
“For instance, the Rural Sanitation Model and Strategy (R-SMS) of our country documents extensively what could be returns on investment in sanitation. Among others, it posits that poor sanitation costs Ghana a whooping US$ 290m per year. This is about 1.6% of our GDP, far in excess of what we are currently spending on the sub-sector,” the coalition stated.
The R-SMS further estimates that open defecation alone costs Ghana US$ 79m annually, and that US$ 215m is lost each year to premature deaths emanating from diarrheal diseases, a direct consequence of poor WASH situation, CONIWAS laments.
Other scary figures attributable to poor WASH, according to the R-SMS, are that US$ 1.5m is lost due to productivity losses while sick or accessing healthcare and US$ 54m spent each year on health care.
To bridge this gap, CONIWAS says it is dedicating the Mole XXIII conference solely to the subject of sector financing, and its impact on the WASH sector and the conference is expected to provide in-depth information on the subject and make the necessary linkages with drinking water (urban and rural), sanitation and hygiene.
The conference will also share practical lessons on the ground regarding how this impact is reflected at the community level, while it is envisaged that policy discussions during the conference will go a long way towards the creation of the enabling framework to guide and support efficient and effective resource mobilisation and distribution within the WASH Sector and elucidate on possible interventions for effective utilisation of funds.
CONIWAS is of the view that adequate funding (with some measure of efficiency and effectiveness) will largely guarantee universal access to sanitation and water, and translate into opportunities for increasing the productivity of Ghana’s people, enhance enrolment and retention of children (especially girls) in school, enhance women's dignity and ability to participate fully in development processes, reduce morbidity and mortality, and prevent water and sanitation related diseases.
Although historically, the Mole conference has often focused on issues relating to access to drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, it will for the first time put greater emphasis on government financing options, and then build linkages with the other services as well.
To this end, the Ministry of Finance and Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) will play a major role, whilst the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) and the Environmental Health and Sanitation Directorate (EHSD) of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development will all provide different perspectives to the subject, say the organisers.
Key questions expected to be addressed by the conference include; How poor financing affects sustainable service delivery targets; What international good practices exist for WASH sector financing; What roles end-users and community members can play in WASH financing; What role the private sector can play in promoting sustainable financing; What the priority options and actions for stakeholders to consider are and Whether local government authorities and community members hold the key to ensuring sustainable WASH sector financing.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Ghana’s annual meet on water, sanitation, hygiene takes off Tuesday in Tamale

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE


The 23rd edition of Ghana’s longest running and sole annual conference series on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) dubbed Mole XXIII, takes place in the Northern Regional capital, Tamale, from Tuesday, August 21, 2012 to Saturday, August 25, 2012.
This year’s edition, which will be held on the main theme: “Financing The Wash Sector:  Past, Current Trends And Vision For The Future”, is expected to attract over 200 Ghanaian participants from civil society organisations (CSOs), non-governmental organisations (NGOs), government agencies, public sector and the media.
Sub-themes to be discussed at the three-day conference (August 22 – August 24), include “Public financing of WASH delivery: Exploring the options”, “Capital maintenance financing practices and innovative options for the future”, “Public-private partnership for WASH financing: what are the options?”, “Policies, standards and regulations for WASH Delivery” and “Tracking functionality of WASH service”.
According to the organisers - the Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS), the Mole Conference series is organised annually to mirror developments within the water, sanitation and hygiene sector, review progress and state civil society’s position on key policy issues.
This week’s conference is thus expected to provide a platform for critical discussions, with the view to identify and make appropriate recommendations to remove the bottlenecks to sustainable financing for the sector.
The discussions will  among others,  explore options and opportunities for financing the WASH sector in Ghana; examine  public-partnership financing  models for WASH  as one of the options; ascertain  relevance  of  operation, maintenance, and  user fees as financing options; share knowledge and  expertise on WASH sector financing generally and make  recommendations for  policy advocacy and  influencing.
Stressing on the importance of this year’s Mole conference, Mr. Ben Arthur, Executive Secretary of CONIWAS, said; “ it is the desire of the Coalition to see all Ghanaians have access to sustainable and quality water, sanitation and hygiene services in Ghana,” adding, “the sector in Ghana suffers from chronic under funding resulting in the poor sanitation situation in the country, for example.”
He said it is against this background that the Mole XXIII Conference will be focusing on financing as the vehicle to increasing access and providing sustainable services to the public.
The Mole Conference is one of the biggest Multi-Stakeholder annual platforms in the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector in Ghana and is named after the venue of the maiden edition, Mole in the Northern Region of Ghana. Over the years, it has brought  together sector practitioners from NGOs, Government, Private Operators, Networks, CBOs, CSOs, etc., to dialogue, learn and share knowledge and information on specific themes that affect the WASH sector.
Meanwhile, last year’s conference held on the theme; ‘‘Towards Decentralised WASH Services Delivery: Challenges and Lessons", took place in Busua near Takoradi in the Western Region of Ghana from Wednesday August 10, to Friday August 12, 2011 under the distinguished patronage and chairmanship of Nana Kwesi Agyemang IX, Paramount Chief of Lower Dixcove in Busua.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Nigeria to embark on oil clean-up of Ogoniland

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE


The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has welcomed the Government of Nigeria’s decision to proceed with a major oil contamination clean-up of Ogoniland in the Niger Delta.
This decision follows the presentation of scientific assessment of oil pollution in Ogoniland to Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, twelve months ago by the UNEP  underlining serious public health and environmental impacts.
The report emphasised the need for swift action to prevent the pollution footprint from spreading further and exacerbating the already tragic legacy for the Ogoni people.
Diezani Alison-Madueke, the Nigerian Minister of Petroleum Resources, announced late last month that the Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project had been established to “fully implement the United Nations Environment Programme’s Assessment Report on Ogoniland.”
According to a statement from UNEP, the clean-up will be conducted under a new Nigerian government initiative—the Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project, while the Government of Nigeria has indicated that it will now define the scope, actions and financing of the project.
But although the UNEP Environmental Assessment of Ogoniland had proposed an initial sum of US$1 billion to cover the first five years of clean-up operations, it is envisaged that while some on-the-ground results could be immediate, overall, countering and cleaning up the pollution and catalysing a sustainable recovery of Ogoniland could take 25 to 30 years and will require long term financing.
Culminating in the report was the compilation of a two-year scientific assessment, during which period the UNEP team examined more than 200 locations, surveyed 122 kilometres of pipeline rights of way, reviewed more than 5,000 medical records and engaged over 23,000 people at local community meetings.
Altogether more than 4,000 samples were analysed, including water taken from 142 groundwater monitoring wells drilled specifically for the study and soil extracted from 780 boreholes.
In one community, at Nisisioken Ogale, in western Ogoniland, the report found that families were drinking water from wells that was contaminated with benzene – a known carcinogen – at levels over 900 times above World Health Organisation guidelines.  
Following that revelation, the Rivers State Government introduced alternate water supplies to the affected communities at Nisisioken Ogale, with trucks delivering safe drinking water.
In his comments on the clean-up decision, Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, said at the beginning of this month: “On the anniversary of the Ogoniland assessment there are now clear and encouraging signals that the government is keen to move on the recommendations - this is a welcome development for the people and the environment of this region who have suffered, and continue to suffer, the legacy of some 50 years of unsustainable oil exploration and production.”
“UNEP stands ready to assist the government and its agency with expertise for getting the Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project up and running so as to improve the lives and livelihoods of the Ogoni people,” he added.
For his part, Ibrahim Thiaw, Director of UNEP’s Division of Environmental Policy Implementation, who on August 4, 2011 presented the UNEP report to the government said; “The immediate need is for the necessary funds to be mobilised and to be deployed to take the Project forward at a scale and speed commensurate with the challenge. Everyone has a part to play in realising significant and positive results from the Government of Nigeria, local authorities and the oil industry to NGOs and local communities.”
Meanwhile over recent weeks, UNEP has held discussions with Sir Peter Idabor, the Director-General of the National Oil Spill Detection Agency (NOSDRA) and is engaged with the government to chart transformative pathways forward in order to realise the assessment’s recommendations.

AfDB approves €690,000 African Water Facility grant for Kenyan pastoralists

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE


An estimated 150,000 people from pastoral communities, including students and teachers from six schools based in Kenya’s Baringo, Kiambu West and Laikipia districts, are to benefit from a €690,000 grant from the African Water Facility (AWF)) approved by the African Development Bank (AfDB) on Friday, July 6, 2012, says a press release issued by the African Press Organisation. 
According to the release issued in Tunis August 9, 2012, the grant will support a Kenya Rainwater Association (KRA) pilot programme designed to help communities build resilience to droughts and adapt to climate change through Integrated Rainwater Harvesting Management (IRHM), with potential for greater reach in the Horn of Africa.
It said more specifically, the AWF grant will be used to finance the implementation of the pilot’s various activities in Kenya’s three semi-arid districts, including RHM infrastructure development for domestic and productive use; the utilisation of complementary water harvesting technologies to improve livelihoods and generate income; knowledge sharing between community members; and policy advocacy based on tangible benefits and impacts to encourage government and development partners to scale up at national and regional levels.
Specifically, the project will involve raising awareness in the communities on rainwater harvesting techniques to cope with extreme water, hygiene and sanitation conditions; promoting an improved water management model for improved yields and crop diversification and applying watershed conservation and rangeland rehabilitation to minimise conflict over water.
 Also, it will encompass installing water tanks for roof catchment and farm ponds for surface runoff; constructing separate ventilated improved latrines for boys and girls; and promoting good hygiene practices such as hand-washing with soap before meals and after using latrines.
Commenting on the grant, Akissa Bahri, Coordinator of the African Water Facility said; “This pilot promises to help some of the most vulnerable and isolated communities better manage rainwater to reduce the known severe water stress experienced in the drylands and to achieve water security,” adding, “We hope the results will serve as reference for governments to scale up to reach more communities and improve their lives and livelihoods.”
The Kenya project is one of six case studies conducted in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda designed to evaluate the performance of rainwater harvesting systems in the region with the aim of promoting “best practices” in water management for improving water supply and food security and will be implemented by the Kenya Rainwater Association (KRA), the Government of Kenya and targeted communities.
On the other hand, the African Water Facility (AWF), an initiative of the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) hosted by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and established in 2004, helps African countries meet the goals and targets for the water and sanitation sector set by the Millennium Development Goals 2015 and the Africa Water Vision 2025.
AWF’s mission is to mobilise resources to build the financial base necessary to multiply water projects designed to ensure water, food and energy security in Africa, in a context of sustainable and inclusive growth.

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