An evidence-based advocacy programme on sanitation and hygiene dubbed ‘Voice for Change’ (V4C) was launched at Awutu Beraku, capital of the Awutu Senya District with a challenge to the citizenry to embrace these core values at all levels.

The five-year V4C partnership project is being implemented by SNV (Netherlands Development Programme) in partnership with the International Food and Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DGIS).

It is being implemented by SNV together with its alliance of local partner CSOs/Networks in Ghana and across several other developing countries to strengthen the capacity of local Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to generate reliable and relevant data/evidence to carry out evidence-based advocacy for sustainable improvements in key focus areas such as Renewable Energy, Water, Sanitation &Hygiene (WASH), Food Security and Nutrition.

The Ghana WASH component of the project is dubbed Ghana Sanitation and Hygiene for All (SH4ALL)/ and is directed at intensifying the voice of CSOs and citizenry to demand more equitable, affordable and sustainable sanitation and hygiene services and improved policy implementation at the district level.

The project is targeting key actors, such as; the Awutu Senya District Assembly (ASDA), traditional authorities, waste management companies, microfinance institutions and banks, Community-Based Organizations, communities, Assembly members and unit committees, media and others whose involvement was key to the realization of the project objectives.

Intervention Forum (IF) is one of four local implementation partner Civil Society Organizations under the WASH component tasked to implement the project in the Awutu Senya District Assembly (ASDA). In an opening address, Madam Nora Ollennu, Chief Executive Officer of IF, local implementing agency for the V4C project, said the world had come to a point where sanitation and hygiene issues had started speaking volumes.

She noted that the 2015 WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme report indicated that 2.3 million people globally did not have access to adequate sanitation, which implied that one in three persons did not have access to improved sanitation.

Touching on the situation in Ghana, Madam Ollennu said as of 2013, less than a quarter of the country’s population was found to be using improved sanitation facilities, adding that this low access to adequate sanitation and safe hygiene had birthed various undesirable effects on individual and communal livelihoods, health, academics, productivity and socio-economic development.

‘’This dire situation has also not been helped by the fact that sanitation policy implementation and financing have not lived up to requirements,’’ she observed, adding that sanitation and hygiene issues need to be accorded a critical look and given utmost priority by the government, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs), Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), traditional heads, the private sector and all other relevant stakeholders if the sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of ‘ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all’ is to be achieved.

She said it was in view of these global, national and sub-national issues that the V4C partnership project had stepped in as a supportive initiative.
Madam Ollennu explained that the Ghana WASH component of the project which applied to the Awutu Senya District Assembly and dubbed ‘Ghana Sanitation and Hygiene for All (SH4ALL) was directed at intensifying the voice of CSOs and citizenry to demand more equitable, affordable and sustainable sanitation and hygiene services and improved policy implementation at the district levels.

The project, she said, had therefore targeted a host of actors such as the Awutu Senya District Assembly, traditional Authorities, waste management companies, micro-finance institutions and banks, community-based organizations, communities, Assembly members and unit committees, media and others whose involvement were key to the realization of the project objectives.

“This is one such project which has been tailored to employ solution-oriented, evidence-based and collaborative approaches so as to highlight localised solutions and results to local sanitation and hygiene issues,” she stressed.
Mr Samuel Amoah, District Coordinating Director, recounted efforts made by the Awutu Senya District Assembly to ensure good sanitation and hygiene in the area.

He also explained processes the assembly had to go through to pass the necessary bye-laws to ensure the citizenry complied with sanitation and hygiene laws within the district to deal with indiscriminate defecation and disposal of waste.
He said government was no longer interested in constructing public toilets but was encouraging household ones.

During an open forum, the people expressed dismay at the inadequacy of refuse containers and trucks to deal with heaps of waste that had piled up for years in the area, adding that the refuse collection fees charged by Zoomlion Company Limited for corporate and household servicing were too high.
GNA