Some members of some Disaster Prone Communities (DPC) in the five regions in the north have commended United Nations (UN) Agencies for providing them Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities helping to address some of their major needs.
They said the construction of the WASH facilities in their communities had not only ensured their access to potable water but also helped to improve their social and economic endeavours, which was a great relief to them.
This came to light when the Ghana News Agency accompanied by some UN officials and representatives of the Government of Ghana toured some of the communities in the Northern, North East, and Upper East Regions to amongst others assess the impact of the facilities on the lives of the beneficiaries.
From June, 2014 to May, 2017, UN Agencies implemented the WASH in DPC project where they constructed WASH facilities in 265 communities in the five regions benefiting over 200,000 people including about 50,000 school children.
These communities are low-lying where flood disasters are a yearly feature, and it was in this context that the WASH in DPC project was designed to provide flood resilient WASH facilities for them including basic disaster mitigation capabilities handle such situations.
The UN Agencies involved in the implementation of the project were UN-Habitat, UNICEF, UNDP and World Health Organisation, and the project was to improve health and livelihoods of the beneficiary communities by increasing access to potable water and proper sanitation facilities on a sustainable basis.
The project was funded by the Global Affairs Canada at the cost of 20 million Canadian dollars.
Madam Ama Abdallah, a resident of Paga Nania in the Kassena Nankana West District of the Upper East Region, who shared her experience with the GNA, said “We used to travel more than two kilometres to fetch from a dam. When you go there, you will see animals drinking from it and urinating in it as well. Some people will also be washing in it. It also dries up during the year, and we spend a lot of time in search of water. Our children were going to school late and we were also late in attending to our farming and trading activities because of lack of water.”
She said with the siting of the mechanised borehole in her community, “Things have changed. We now have clean water. We do not walk long distance again in search of water. Our children now go to school on time. We also have water throughout the year, and this is also good for our animals too because they get water to drink throughout the year and they grow well.”
Madam Mariam Sulemana, a resident of Shishegu in the Sagnarigu Municipality of the Northern Region said “We were fetching from a dam, which was not clean. We spent a lot of time in search of water. It was a big challenge to us.”
She said “The siting of the overhead tank and stand pipe in our community has brought relief to us. We do not worry about where to get clean water again. Our children do not go to school late again.”
Madam Zeinab Issahaku, a resident of Larini in the Sagnarigu Municipality said “We did not have water in this community. We carried basins going to other communities in search of water but the situation has changed for the better since the siting of the overhead tank in our community.”
Mr Niyi Ojuolape, UNFPA Country Representative, who represented the UN Resident Coordinator to brief journalists as part of the tour, said the WASH facilities held a lot of value and benefits to the beneficiary communities appealing to them to keep them in good shape as they would save lives.
Mr Eric Chimsi, Development Officer at the Canadian High Commission, who represented the Global Affairs Canada, commended the UN Agencies for the strong cooperation and drive at results in delivering the project within the three-year timeline.
Mr Chimsi also thanked the government agencies for contributing their expertise in helping to improve access to basic water and sanitation services including early warning and rescue skills to people living in flood prone areas.
Alhaji Adam Abdul Wahab, Regional Director, Environmental Health and Sanitation Unit, Savannah Region, who represented the Regional Coordinating Director, said the project had been beneficial to all aspects of life for the beneficiaries adding it would go a long way to transform lives and reduce incidence of diseases while ensuring resilience of communities.