WaterAid Ghana organised a learning forum for Traditional Female Leaders in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region. The women took this opportunity share their experiences and explore ways of leveraging on their status to lead in realizing the rights of all to equitable and sustainable Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)services, in their communities.

Participants at the IWD Symposium, Bolgatanga
Participants at the IWD Symposium, Bolgatanga
This activity was held to mark the International Women’s Day. The theme for the celebration was ‘Traditional Women Leaders, Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Governance and Maternal Health. It is also part of WaterAid Ghana’s larger efforts to catalyse more effective women leadership in WASH governance, including the leadership of Water and Sanitation Management Teams (WSMTs) and to promote access to sustainable and safe WASH services in all Health Care Facilities.

The Pongnaba of Bongo, Christiana Nge Iand two representatives of the Kassena Nankana West; Margaret Kape from Kayoro and Agnes Afagati Tahiru from Nankong participated in the forum. Others werethe founder of Widows and Orphans Movement, Betty Ayagiba and the Executive Director of the Sirigu Women’s Organisation for Pottery and ArtsBridget Akasise.

The female leaders discussed how to effectively engage their peers and inspire them to become stronger champions for WASH justice and advocate for access to WASH in all Health Care Facilities and other public institutions such as schools and markets.

They recommended some action steps to ensure a sustainable delivery of WASH services.The Pongnaba of Bongo, Christiana Nge, said Women should form an integral part of WASH governance, especially in decision-making, management and implementation.”

She emphasised the need for WASH service delivery to involve the recognition of local existing beliefs and behaviours concerning water use, human waste disposal, gender roles in relation to water collection and storage, and the establishment or use of community mechanism for participation and decision-making.

It was also recommended that Civil Society Organisations and Government should include women in capacity building programmes such as training of artisans to equip them with the technical skills to construct their own latrines as well as monitor the construction of other WASH facilities in their communities. Another action is to Incorporate WASH into rural and peri-urban livelihood support programmes to enable women actively engage in the process and own it for sustainability.

In line with these actions steps, Betty Ayagiba reminded all participants of the need to be boldly informed by principles of equity and inclusion. She said to be bold for change also means being bold about social inclusion. Therefore, when we speak of everyone having their rights to water and sanitation realized, we must make sure we donot forget widows and orphans.’’

Participants resolved to motivate more female leaders to advocate for WASH with their respective Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs).

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