Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Civil society must investigate huge payments to consultants



BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE

Mr Ibrahim Musah presenting the evaluation report
Mr Ibrahim Musah, Head of Policy and Partnerships, WaterAid Ghana, a non-governmental organisation in water and sanitation, has urged civil society to investigate allegations of huge disbursements of funds meant for sanitation projects to consultants.

Lack of political will, cause of Ghana’s sanitation woes – WaterAid



BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE
Dr Afia Zakiya, CR - WaterAid Ghana
WaterAid Ghana, an international non-governmental organisation, has blamed Ghana’s sanitation crisis on the lack of will and commitment on the part of the government to deal with issues in the sector.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Gender gaps in water, sanitation services

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE
Mrs Patience Agyare-Kwabi delivering the Gender Assessment report

An assessment of the delivery of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services in 16 districts in five regions of the country has revealed numerous gender gaps in the delivery of these services.

The assessment was carried out by the Government of Ghana and United Nations Children's Fund (GOG/UNICEF).


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Beware! You may be eating more than food



BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE
Mrs Theodora Adomako-Adjei, National Coordinator, GHD
While I was driving on one of the streets of Accra recently, a colleague drew my attention to a man who was busily washing his hands in water that had collected on the shoulders of the road as a result of a downpour the previous night.

Naturally we were all intrigued by the sight we beheld and starred earnestly to see what right-thinking person would be doing an act we viewed as very strange.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Newmont Ghana improves rating


BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE
Newmont Ghana Gold Limited (NGGL), one of the world’s big mining companies operating in Ghana, has recorded an improvement in performance in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) 2012 Akoben’ ratings released last week Friday.
From an overall rating of ‘orange’ (satisfactory) gained in 2011, NGGL made a leap to ‘blue’ (good) in the latest trend analysis for the mining sector disclosed by the EPA.

Monday, October 7, 2013

CONIWAS, partners call for deeper collaboration of MMDAs to upscale sanitation

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE


Mr Benjamin Arthur, CONIWAS Executive Secretary delivering the communique
Metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs), play a very vital role in sanitation management in the country.

Their efforts in the collective management of liquid waste especially, but solid waste as well, seems to have slackened over the years.


Saturday, October 5, 2013

Water and Sanitation for Africa to facilitate GLAAS process in Ghana, 19 countries

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE


To assist facilitate the UN-Water Global Assessment and Analysis of Sanitation and Drinking Water (GLAAS) implementation and country level consultations in Africa, the World Health Organisation (WHO), is working closely with the Pan African Inter-governmental Agency, Water and Sanitation for Africa (WSA).

WSA will lead the country level process in Ghana and 19 other African countries where they have field staff, while WHO, would support the process through its own country offices in 10 more countries, to make the total 30.


4th Ghana Water Forum to focus on monitoring, evaluation

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE
Mr Frederick Addae (l) chairing one of the committee's meetings
 
The 4th Ghana Water Forum (GWF), has finally been fixed for November 5 to November 7, 2013 with the theme; “Monitoring and Evaluation: Key to sustaining and Up-scaling WASH Services”.
Originally scheduled to take place in 2012 after the first, second and third editions in 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively, the organising committee postponed the fourth to this year, citing some challenges it had experienced in putting the fourth edition together.

Friday, October 4, 2013

EPA alerts on danger of PCBs

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE

PCBs are found in old transformers
Lubricating oil found in old transformers are very poisonous but have found their way to the open market, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of Ghana, has warned.
The oil, which serves as a coolant in old power generating transformers largely controlled by the Volta River Authority (VRA), Ghana Grid Company Limited (GRIDCo) and the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), contains cancer-causing chemicals referred to scientifically as Polychlorinated Biphensyls (PCBs).

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Big mining companies fail ‘Akoben’ rating

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE

TREND analysis conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the performance of the mining sector in 2012 has shown that some mining companies once again failed in meeting environmental standards and legal requirements.

Major companies that received the red grading (meaning their overall performance was poor) are AngloGold Ashanti Limited’s Obuasi mine, Ghana Bauxite Company Limited – Awaso, Gold Fields Ghana Limited (Tarkwa Mine) and Golden Star (Bogoso/Prestea) Limited.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Vigilance needed to prevent cholera deaths — UNICEF

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE
Mr David Duncan

UNICEF Ghana's Chief of Water Sanitation and Hygiene, (WASH) Mr David Duncan, has cautioned the country to continue to be alert, in order to put deaths through cholera, at bay.

Although he lauded Ghana for not recording any deaths as yet through cholera this year, he indicated that the worst case scenario of torrential rains, which normally contributed to widespread cholera, had not been experienced as yet.


Cholera receiving red carpet treatment in Ghana

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE


Two boys fetching water from a contaminated source for household use at Dixcove in the Western Region


He looked at me and smiled. But what he was about to tell me was no laughing matter.
“I will never forget the day I got cholera. It was in 2012 during the elections, when after doing some monitoring I felt very hungry. I saw some ‘waakye’ (rice cooked with beans) at the roadside, bought some and ate my fill,” a colleague narrated to me.

“Thereafter I visited a very popular chop bar at Kwashieman, and ordered a bowl of fufu – In fact the fufu was very nice and I enjoyed every bit of it. Later in the night I had to visit the toilet several times where I passed watery stools, felt very sick and got dehydrated within few hours,” he continued.

Monday, September 16, 2013

‘Edwumagyan!’ Is it the name or the attitude? The story of a Ghanaian community

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE

Members of the 'Edwumagyan'community in a meeting
In 1945, a man procured a piece of land to start some work. He thus employed the services of carpenters, masons, steel benders and all manner of craftsmen whose trade would come in handy for construction work.

But after a while when work had commenced, the employer returned one day and packed off all the materials he had purchased for the work without paying the artisans he had contracted to do the work, or explaining to them why he had decided to terminate work which had begun in earnest.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Only about half of Ghana’s population drinks tap water

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE

Fetching water from Kasu river for use. Credit, Hagar Sey GWJN
Only about 47 out of every 100 Ghanaian households use pipe-borne water as their main source of drinking water, according to the country’s 2010 census results.
The remaining 43 per cent either drink from bore-holes or protected wells, sachet or bottled water, or depend on surface water such as rivers, streams and dams or rainwater.

No cholera deaths this year …but Ghana sitting on time bomb

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE
Some of the participants in a group work exercise

A total of 9,542 cholera cases with 100 deaths were reported in Ghana in 2012, but no deaths have been recorded in 2013, despite some reported cases of the disease in the country.

Speaking to the Daily Graphic in a telephone interview last Friday, September 6, 2013, Mr Jonas Amanu, the Greater Accra Regional Environmental Health Officer, said although there had been no reported deaths from cholera  this year, the region had recorded 14 confirmed and reported cases since January.


Monday, August 26, 2013

Osrogba, where it is a taboo to lease land for a latrine

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE


Proud owner of a latrine for the first time in her life
At Osrogba very close to Dodowa (40km from Accra) in the Shai Osudoku district of Ghana’s Greater Accra Region, one thing is obvious – no landowner or landlord is ready to release land for the construction of a latrine, a facility which is taken for granted by many.

This is because it is considered a taboo, a repulsion and disincentive to sell or lease their land for such purpose - which situation has largely contributed to open defecation by the 270-member community for many years.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Conference asks Ghana Gov’t for transparency, accountability in sanitation delivery

A Cross Section of Mole XXIV Participants

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE
Experts attending the just-ended annual water, sanitation and hygiene conference in Kumasi, Ashanti Region, dubbed Mole Conference XXIV, have tasked the Ghanaian Government to, through the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, improve transparency and accountability in sanitation and waste  management.
In a 12-point communique issued at the end of the three-day conference held on the theme: “Building Effective Partnership for Scaling-Up Sustainable Sanitation Services in Ghana”, the over 100 participants also charged organisers of the conference - the Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS) and other Civil Society Organizations, to, in collaboration with government, establish and monitor sanitation sub-sector specific transparency and accountability standards.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Africa establishes Sanitation Think Tank to bridge policy, practice gap

FROM EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE, FUMESUA, ASHANTI REGION



Patrick Apoya, Director of Think Tank
Although several sanitation technologies and financing options are available to Africa, credible business models to take advantage of these are non-existent.

Further, even though demand-led approach to sanitation looks very promising, it is plagued by limitations and lack of knowledge in terms of context, scale and sustainability, while too little attention has been given to on-site sanitation, despite the fact that about 80 per cent of Africa’s population relies on this.

These and more, have led to the formation of the first ever Think Tank for Sanitation in Africa, which is an initiative of Water and Sanitation for Africa (WSA), a Pan-African Inter-Governmental organisation consisting of 32 governments.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

P.V. Obeng opens Mole XXIV Conference

FROM EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE, FUMESUA, ASHANTI REGION



P.V. Obeng delivering the keynote address
The Senior Presidential Advisor, Paul Victor Obeng, yesterday, August 14, 2013 opened Ghana’s longest running water, sanitation and hygiene conference at Fumesua, near Kumasi in the Ashanti Region, with a call on the about 140 participants to focus on building new coalitions of those who are willing to change the country’s fortunes.

To him, such action will enable appreciation of Ghana’s limitations, codify the country’s sanitation challenges and apply appropriate technologies to improve access to sanitation services.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Ghana loses US$ 70m in petroleum income tax in two years

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE


Ghana has within the spate of two years lost about US$ 70 million that could have accrued to the country, in view of the failure to amend or harmonise its petroleum income tax law (PITL), the Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas, an amalgamation of NGOs in oil and gas has stated.

According to the platform, the lack of action on a planned amendment or harmonisation of the Petroleum Income Tax Law with the general income tax provisions is costing Ghana millions of dollars in potential tax revenue, even as the government explores innovative ways of raising badly needed financial resources to finance its 2013 budget.

Ghana’s sanitation problem can only be tackled through close collaboration - CONIWAS

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE


Dignitaries at the opening of last year's conference in Tamale
The Coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS), has stressed that while Ghana’s sanitation problem is huge, it can only be tackled with close collaboration among all national stakeholders.

In a statement released this week to announce Mole XXIV, this year’s edition of annual conferences held on water, sanitation and hygiene since 1989, the Coalition stated: “Clearly, the problem of sanitation is huge, and can only be tackled head-on with close collaboration and effective partnership backed by effective resource deployment by community members, traditional authority, local government authority, national government, private sector and development partners.”

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

WaterAid to use Toilet Day to highlight Ghana’s sanitation problem

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE


Shared latrines are a common feature in many Ghanaian households
WaterAid Ghana, a non-governmental organisation, has hailed the declaration by the United Nations of November 19 as World Toilet Day, saying it will use commemoration of the day to draw the attention of Government to the gravity of the sanitation problem.

“We’ll certainly be working with private sector, civil society organisations, academia and others to use World Toilet Day to draw attention to governments of the enormous scale of the problem,” Dr. Afia S. Zakiya, WaterAid Ghana’s Country Representative stated in a statement copied to the press.

She pledged that “WaterAid Ghana will continue to work with national government ministries and local government authorities in Ghana to find sustainable solutions to ameliorate Ghana’s sanitation challenges, with an abysmal 15% coverage at the end of 2011.”

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Ghana’s sanitation, water experts meet in Kumasi for 24th Mole Conference

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE


Participants at last year's conference
More than 100 experts and major players in Ghana’s water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector are set to meet in Kumasi for the 24th in a series of annual dialogues on Ghana’s WASH sector known as the Mole Conference http://www.coniwas.org/, from Tuesday, August 13 to Friday, August 16, 2013.

The Mole conference series, which has fast established itself as the number one multi stakeholder conference on water, sanitation and hygiene in Ghana, will this year be on the theme: ''Building Effective Partnership for Scaling-Up Sustainable Sanitation Services in Ghana".

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Ghana begins field trials for GM cotton and rice

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE


GM rice undergoing a confined field trial at Fumesua
Ghana has received a major boost in food and crop production and sufficiency, with the start of limited field trials for genetically modified cotton and rice crops in selected areas of the country.

This follows approval received from Ghana’s National Biosafety Committee (NBC) to conduct such tests, following promulgation of the country’s Biosafety Act, 2011 (Act 831) and successful research conducted by the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) -Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI), Nyankpala, Tamale.  

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

WSA, Ivorian Government partner for 3rd High-Level Forum on Water and Sanitation

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE


The government of Cote d’Ivoire is collaborating with Water and Sanitation for Africa (WSA), to organise this year’s High-Level Forum on Water and Sanitation for All.

Scheduled for November 21 to November 23, 2013, the third of such forums to be held in the past three years will be on the theme: “To promote vibrant and effective South-South cooperation to accelerate access to hygiene, sanitation, and drinking water for all in Africa”.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Ghana develops emergency preparedness and response plan for water, sanitation

FROM EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE, SOGAKOPE, VOLTA REGION

Stakeholders busy at work
Disasters, both natural and man-made, are a common phenomenon the world over, some of which escalate into emergencies as a result of their magnitude.
However, despite their unpredictability sometimes, the absence of a plan to deal with incidents and natural occurrences such as floods, earthquakes, civil strife and wars as well as fire outbreaks as has been experienced in Ghana lately, always has the propensity to aggravate an already bad situation.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Ivorian gov’t owes company water bill of CFA 24 bn



BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE
SODECI's Djibi water treatment facility

The Ivorian government as at 2010 owed the country’s water company, SODECI (La Societe de Distribution d'eau de Cote d'Ivoire), CFA 40 billion (US$79,207,804.60) in unpaid water bills alone.

This amount comprised unpaid bills from schools, hospitals and government establishments over many years.

But although the Ivorian government has since that year began paying up the debt it owes the privately owned utility company, there still remains a huge chunk of the money to be paid.

Revealing this at a training workshop on “Water financing and preservation of the resource in West Africa” for about 30 West African journalists in Abidjan from July 1, 2013 to July 5, 2013, Mr. Seydou Dembele, Head, Government Expenses, Water Resources Department, Cote d’Ivoire, said “Government has now paid a big part of the money and it remains now CFA 24 billion [US$ 47,512,183.55].”

Monday, July 1, 2013

Abidjan hosts IUCN, GWP-WA training for West African journalists

FROM EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE, ABIDJAN, COTE D'IVOIRE


Participants in a group picture
About 30 selected journalists from 11 countries of the West Africa sub-region as well as Mauritania have gathered in the Ivorian capital, Abidjan, to receive training on water financing and its protection in the region.

Countries participating are Ghana, Togo, The Gambia, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Mauritania.

The 5-day capacity building, which commences today, Monday, July 1, 2013, is being jointly organised by the Central and West Africa programme of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN-PACO) and the Global Water Partnership for West Africa (GWP-WA), under the theme: “Water financing and protection of the resource in West Africa”.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

CWSA introduces Smarter-WASH to monitor functionality of systems

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE

The Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) has piloted a cutting edge technology that will enable it get real time data on which of its pumps, mechanised boreholes or water systems is providing the desired services to the people of Ghana.

Known as the Smarter-WASH project, the technology will involve the use of text messaging (SMS) by means of mobile telephones to report on the state of water facilities.

Commenting on the importance of the new technology, Benedict Kubabom, the Director for Planning and Investment at CWSA said it is no longer useful to count pipes and pumps to determine whether people have access to water or not.


Friday, June 14, 2013

Dealing with corruption in the water and sanitation sector – WIN leads the charge

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE, BACK FROM THE NETHERLANDS



H. E. Betty Bigombe, Teun Bastemeijer and Ulysses Ocran Hammond
Though corruption and the issue of integrity in institutions and among individuals have existed over the years, they have often been spoken of with muffled voices.

While people are quick to admit in private that corruption pervades the air, those same people are unwilling to publicly admit that it is an issue that seriously hampers the delivery of services and when in public speak about it with a hush.

The reason is that many see it as a very sensitive and delicate issue to be spoken of in public, lest one loses favour with the powers that be or is blacklisted in the award of contracts or be branded as cowards, not being smart, anti-social and ‘enemies of progress’.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

World Bank approves US$155 million for Water and Sanitation in Ghana

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE


An improved sanitation facility (WC) - a must for all
The World Bank's Board of Executive Directors has approved a US$155 million International Development Association (IDA) grant to support the Government of Ghana’s efforts to increase access to sanitation and water supply services.

It is also intended for the improvement of the capacity of government agencies to plan and manage natural resources more sustainably. 

According to a statement from the World Bank, the funds will support two of the Government of Ghana’s priorities: manage natural resources in a sustainable manner and bring improved sanitation and water supply to over 3.6 million people living in and around the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA).


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Water shortages due to governance failures – Integrity Forum

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE, BACK FROM THE NETHERLANDS


The first ever forum on integrity in the water sector jointly organised by the Water Integrity Network (WIN), UNESCO – IHE Institute for Water Education and the Water Governance Centre (WGC), has found that water shortages in most countries are not due to resource scarcity but due to governance failures.
In a statement issued after a three-day forum on water integrity in Delft, The Netherlands from June 5, 2013 to June 7, 2013, the over 100 participants from 60 organisations cutting across all continents, agreed “Fragmented institutions obstruct accountability in a sector with high investment and aid flows, making it particularly vulnerable to corruption.”

Forum asks governments, others to promote water integrity

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE, BACK FROM THE NETHERLANDS
A cross section of participants at the forum
Participants at the just ended Water Integrity Forum (WIF) held in Delft, The Netherlands, together with partners of the forum, have called on governments, the United Nations (UN) and international organisations, the corporate sector and civil society to promote water integrity in their operations.  
Maintaining that the costs of inaction are just too high to remain passive, the three-day forum which ended June 7, 2013 stated that although fighting corruption is an essential first step, it is not sufficient to deal with the issues of integrity.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Government owes us for eight months – Zoomlion

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE

Kwame Gyan addressing the press
Leading waste management company, Zoomlion Ghana Limited, has disclosed that the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA), formerly the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP), has lagged behind in eight months of arrears in management fees, which is far above the one month agreed period as stipulated in their contract.

The company said despite this setback in its agreement with the government agency, it has tried to keep the programme going, sometimes to its discomfiture, paying interest in loans contracted from the banks for as much as 30% and at present owes participants in the programme two months in allowances.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

First Water Integrity Forum comes off June 2013

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE


The first ever international forum on water integrity dubbed Water Integrity Forum, takes place in Delft, the Netherlands from June 5, 2013 to June 7, 2013.

Co-organised by the Water Integrity Network (WIN), Water Governance Centre (WGC) and UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, the three-day conference is meant to address the need for extending the reach of water integrity action.

Specifically, the main objectives of the forum are to take stock of progress in addressing corruption issues in the water sector, share knowledge, approaches and experiences, and build alliances to address integrity challenges in the water sector.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

International Biodiversity Day to focus on water

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE


The world marks International Biodiversity Day tomorrow, May 22 with the theme, “Water and Biodiversity”.

Commemoration of the International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) every year on 22 May since the year 2000 is a special occasion to reflect on the role biodiversity plays in the lives of people and this year’s theme has been chosen in recognition of the United Nations designation of 2013 as the International Year of Water Cooperation.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Ghana reduces shared latrine usage to 35 percent

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE


From a high rate of 52 per 100 persons that used shared latrines in Ghana, the figure has dropped to 35 per 100 people, according to the 2011 Multi Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) report.

Disclosing this Sunday, May 19, 2013, Ibrahim Musah, Head of Policy and Partnership, WaterAid Ghana, who was commenting on improved sanitation coverage in Ghana, said:  “The MICS report has just been released and the report says as at 2011 we have moved just one percentage point – from 14% to 15% while open defecation rate has increased from 19% to 23%, but the good thing also is that shared latrine use has dropped from 52% to around 35%.”

Saying these were statistics that should gladden every Ghanaian heart, he indicated that collection of solid waste though, still had some few challenges with regards to the role of the private sector.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Open defecation - Over 5.7m Ghanaians now do it daily

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE


Open defecation is rampant in open drains like these
In just two years it will be time for reckoning, when countries belonging to the United Nations gather to compare notes on how they have fared in 25 years since they set targets for themselves with respect to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 1990.

Although Ghana has chalked tremendous progress in some of the eight areas of the development goals including MDG 7, Target 7c, which is to: "Halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking-water and basic sanitation”, whereas it has already surpassed its target of 78% for water, the country has failed woefully in increasing access to improved sanitation.

Crawling at a snail’s pace of one percentage point increase each year, access to improved sanitation in Ghana is now at 15% according to the latest Multi Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) report released few days ago.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

AfDB supports three countries with $17.8m for Climate Change resilience

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE


Following the approval March of US $18.6 million for three water and sanitation projects, the African Development Bank (AfDB), has renewed its support for climate change resilience in Madagascar, Benin and Angola.

As a result of that approval too, the three African countries have been able to access US $17.8 million of adaptation finance in the form of grants from the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) during the second quarter of 2013.


Monday, May 13, 2013

High demand for fuel wood in Burkina Faso eroding conservation gains

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE, BACK FROM OUAGADOUGOU


Donkey carts transporting fuel wood is a common sight in Burkina Faso
Although conservationists globally have been campaigning over the past few years for the use of alternative sources of energy such as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) other than fuel wood, indications are that it is still very much in vogue in the Sahel country of Burkina Faso.

Indigenes living on the outskirts of the capital Ouagadougou especially, use firewood as their main source of energy in their households.


Resettlement blues in Bissa Gold communities

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE, BACK FROM OUAGADOUGOU


The Bissa Gold SA mine in Burkina Faso had not begun operations yet when a group of environmental journalists from 11 West African countries visited in 2012.

However, two major communities – Bissa and Sabce, 90 km from Ouagadougou, which have been displaced by the mine and so have been relocated, were already expressing some misgivings and dissatisfaction.

Their misgivings were on the change in their cultural setting in view of the way the resettlement buildings have been put up and also the taking away of their main livelihood, which is farming.


Friday, May 10, 2013

No Household Water Treatment in Ghana’s Water Policy

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE

Although for three days this week (from May 6 to May 8, 2013) deliberations have been ongoing in Ghana at a workshop in Accra on the integration of Household Water Treatment and Safe Storage (HWTS) strategies in the West Africa sub-region, Ghana is yet to incorporate this component in its Water Policy.

This was identified at the country’s 26th National Level Learning Alliance Platform (NLLAP), organised by the Resources Centre Network (RCN) and held on Thursday, May 31, 2012.
According to the RCN’s WASH Reflections, which is a monthly review of NLLAP numbered 25 and titled “Household Water Treatment and Storage: The story so far”, “There are three policy related gaps that must be addressed to advance Household Water Treatment and Storage (HWTS) in Ghana.”

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Global Water Partnership, West Africa holds Partners Meeting in Accra

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE

Global Water Partnership (GWP), West Africa, today began its 5th Assembly of Partners (AP) meeting in Accra with the theme: “Water cooperation in West Africa: Meeting the challenge of commitments."

According to the organisers, the theme is taken from the General Assembly of the United Nations declaration of 2013 as the International Year of water cooperation in 2010 with the slogan "water, water everywhere, but on condition to share."

Objectives for the GWP/WA’s Partners Meeting are an introduction and adoption of the GWP / WA Chair’s report and introduction and adoption of the 2012 GWP/WA progress report and 2013 Work Plan.


Diarrhoea kills 10,000 children under 5 years in Ghana annually

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE

Hon. Akwasi Opong-Fosu
Hon. Akwasi Opong-Fosu, Ghana’s Minister For Local Government and Rural Development, has lamented that in spite of efforts made in achieving the country’s water Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target, diarrhoea still remains the third killer of children under five years of age, accounting for 10,000 deaths every year.

Diarrhoea like many other diseases contracted through ingestion of contaminated and unsafe water, results in frequent passing of stool and vomiting and thus causes dehydration within a very short time. If not treated in time it can result in death as a result of the loss of body fluid.

Painting a squalid picture of the negative effects of contaminated water on the Ghanaian citizenry, he said: “Our health facilities continue to record periodic cholera outbreaks in some urban areas and small towns.  For example, in 2012 we reported 9,548 cholera cases with some 100 deaths.”


Experts meet in Accra on household water treatment, storage strategies

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE
Participants in a group picture

About 70 participants from Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and The Gambia are meeting in Accra, Ghana, for three days of deliberations on household water treatment and safe storage (HWTS) strategies for the West Africa sub-region.

Participants are key national and regional government officials and specialists from identified ministries that address HWTS such as health, water or equivalent, public works, education, WHO and UNICEF among other stakeholder organisations.

The workshop, which began Monday, May 6, 2013, is being held under the theme “Scaling-up HWTS - National policy environment and integration strategies” and will focus on how participating countries can double their efforts to scale up the implementation of household water treatment and safe storage.


Friday, May 3, 2013

Sota – A land between two streams but no water

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE

One of the ponds with dirty and unhygienic water the people of Sota depend on.
It is not an exactly cool morning. The sun is up already, but the green canopy of the trees all around, have provided a welcome serenity and shade that unfortunately belies the predicament this beautiful community finds itself in.


Sota, a village near Dodowa in the Shai Osudoku district of Ghana’s Greater Accra region, derives its name from an akan word – ‘nsutam’ which translates ‘between two streams’ but which has been corrupted over the years to its present name.

Ironically though, the community’s population of 638 have constantly lived in want of water, which has become a very scarce and expensive resource for them. Thus, for instance, a 34-inch sized bucket of water, which sells at 5 Ghana pesewas or 10 Ghana pesewas in other communities, sells at 40Gp at Sota.


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Accra has seen improvement in access to toilets – AMA

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE


Pan latrines are still in use in some households
Dr. Simpson Anim Boateng, Director, Metro Public Health Department, Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), says access to improved toilets in the Accra Metropolis has seen tremendous improvement over the last three years.

According to him, the progress made in access to toilets in Accra, is as a result of a very aggressive exercise embarked upon by the city authority to ensure every household has an approved toilet or latrine.

Dr. S. A. Boateng, who was speaking on the topic “Access to Toilets” during the airing of the 9th edition of the Ghana Watsan Journalists Network (GWJN) WASH Radio programme on Radio XYZ Sunday April 28, described the situation in Accra as guided because three years ago only few people had access to improved toilets when the Metro Public Health Department of the AMA conducted a survey to know the exact number of households in Accra without toilets.


Least Developed Countries call for immediate action on Climate Change

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE


The 49-member group of least developed countries (LDCs) taking part in international negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) which began in Bonn, Germany Monday, April 29, 2012, has called for swift action in dealing with issues raised.

During preparation of the Bonn talks, the group emphasised: “Start real negotiations now! We must not embark on yet another procedural heavy process. Delay will certainly lead to a 4°C warmer world.”

We must draw lessons from the past negotiations under this Convention, and implement urgent actions to address climate change. We should ensure that the outcomes of Durban are implemented as a matter of urgency. Without substantial progress to close the 8–13 gigatonne mitigation gap before 2020, the LDCs would not be prepared to accept a weak outcome,” the group stressed.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

4th Eastern Africa Oil, Gas & Energy Conference slated for June as region reshapes oil landscape

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE

The 4th Eastern Africa Oil, Gas & Energy Conference 2013, is scheduled to take place in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, from June 18 to June 20.

This annual conference takes place at a time when the world and indeed Africa’s oil landscape has been reshaped by the discovery of oil and gas in commercial quantities in the Eastern Africa region.

Oil discovery in Africa began from its Northern region, then to the West and Central region and has in recent times been joined the Eastern block.

Recent large and world-class gas discoveries in Mozambique and Tanzania, with potential for more to come, and commercial oil flows in Kenya, show the potential of the enormous exploration frontiers of Eastern Africa, both onshore and offshore, which impact is rebalancing the Africa oil-gas industry landscape into a wider continental oil and gas/LNG game, with potentially global consequences.
  
The conference, which is hosted annually by Global Pacific & Partners, gives new insight in the opportunities, acreage, key players and corporate and government strategies in the Eastern Africa region, will include a pre-Conference 4th Eastern Africa Strategy Briefing by Dr Duncan Clarke, Africa’s foremost strategist in the upstream and will highlight presentations of CEOs, government officials, Ministers and key executives from within leading corporate and state oil companies.

Also to be held on the first day of the main conference on June 18, 2013, will be the 51st PetroAfricanus Dinner, while Dr Duncan Clarke, author of several historiography and economics books about Africa’s oil future, will provide key insights on the corporate upstream oil and gas game, governments and state oil firms and licensing agency strategies during the Strategy Briefing.
Commenting on the oil find in the region, Dr Duncan Clarke, Chairman of Global Pacific & Partners, said “The new discoveries will add substantial net wealth to the Eastern Africa’s littoral states where they are located, and induce higher economic growth rates and regional development.”

With its resurgence, Eastern Africa has been transformed into a fast-emerging oil and gas frontier region, with the on- and offshore potential including exclusive economic zones, deepwater opportunities and ultra-deep plays.

Further, the 15 nation states in the region are diverse in scale, resource potential, contract terms, and venture-types and in regard to exploration cycles and hydrocarbon discoveries.

Since oil was struck, increasing numbers of companies have entered open acreage and bid rounds, and more blocks have been leased than ever before, with more drilling commitments concluded, according to the organisers.

A press release issued by Global Pacific and Partners says that foreign state-owned companies like the China national Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) and PTT Exploration and Production (PTTEP) have invested in Eastern Africa ,while Super-Majors (Total, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Shell and BP) have shown renewed interest, and independents from around the world now abound.

During the 4th Eastern Africa Conference key speakers will reveal the exploration potential, future opportunities and growth in countries like Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, DRC, the Seychelles, Tanzania, Madagascar, Burundi, Rwanda, and regional oil giant Uganda.



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