Monday, February 25, 2013

Over 170 thousand Africans join world to march for water in March


Over 170,000 people in Africa are already planning to take part in walks for water in 25 countries including Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Zambia, Malawi and Madagascar in the month of March this year.
It is envisaged that the walk, dubbed “the World Walks for Water”, which is being organised under the auspices of the World Walks for Water and Sanitation campaign and promises to attract more people in more countries of Africa and other parts of the world, will be the largest people power event this year, when it kicks off on Friday, March 22, 2013 designated as World Water Day by the United Nations.
The walk will be in solidarity with the millions of Africans – overwhelmingly women and children - who walk great distances each day to collect water for their basic needs and who have no safe place to go to the toilet.
During the walk, hundreds of thousands of Africans will join with people across the world to take action to call for an end to the water and sanitation crisis on the 20th anniversary of World Water Day.
Already, according to available details of some of the events already being planned, in Sierra Leone, over 2,500 people will be taking part in walks across the country, including in Freetown, to which the Minister for the recently established Ministry for Water Resources, Hon. Momodu Elongima Maligie, has been invited to attend.
In Kenya, over 300 young people will be joining a walk in Nairobi organised by the International Youth Council, whereas in Liberia, civil service organisations (CSOs) WASH Network is planning a three day sit-in and petition action at the Ministries of Health, Lands and Mines and Public Works and also planning to collect 15,000 signatures calling for promises to be kept.
Meanwhile in Ghana where over 30% of people still do not have access to potable safe drinking water and 86% do not have access to improved sanitation, 10,000 people are planning to walk, whilst 3,000 people will walk in Malawi.
To inspire the public everywhere to join the world’s largest global mass mobilisation movement for change, the World Walks for Water and Sanitation campaign have released a new film to be viewed from all across the world. 
Speaking on the walk, Natasha Horsfield, a coordinator of the campaign in the United Kingdom, stated: “It’s time to tell world leaders that it’s not acceptable for 2,000 children to be dying every day because they don’t have clean drinking water or a safe place to go to the toilet.”
Currently in Sub-Saharan Africa, 330 million Africans (39% of the population) are without access to clean water,  while a staggering 600 million go without safe sanitation – 70% of the population. 
Further, every year 400,000 African children under the age of five die from diarrhoeal diseases brought about from a lack of these services.
The World Walks for Water and Sanitation events are part of the Keep Your Promises campaign launched by International Development charity WaterAid last year, which calls on governments to honor the commitments they have made to finance and provide access to the basic human needs of sanitation, water and hygiene.
People across Africa have been called upon by the World Walks for Water and Sanitation to join the thousands of campaigners walking to demand political leaders keep their promises on sanitation and water this World Water Day. 

Nigeria to receive US$50 million CIF grant for energy sector


West Africa’s most populous state, Nigeria, is to receive a grant of US$ 50 million to help it solve its energy problems by bringing about more efficiency and exploring renewable energy alternatives.

This follows an announcement Friday, February 22, 2013 by the Climate Investment Funds (CIF), of an agreement to provide Nigeria with US $50 million to support an African Development Bank-supported programme of financial intermediation for renewable energy and energy efficiency.

This, the CIF says it will do through local banks, as part of the country’s national Investment Plan endorsed by the CIF in 2010.

The money, being provided under the CIF’s Clean Technology Fund (CTF), is designated to stimulate alternative and efficient ways to generate electricity and to reduce dependence on energy sources which contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions.

According to managers of the fund, it will be used to stimulate investment in downstream opportunities that would lead to greater energy efficiency through a range of technologies, including industrial energy efficiency investments, renewable energy, renewable-based hybrid systems, and cleaner fuels and combustion processes.

Meanwhile, the CTF money will complement support provided through the AfDB private sector window, to help the country address energy efficiency in critical sectors such as power, agribusiness, transport, telecommunications, and education, by targeting local financial institutions to invest and support the shifts to clean, efficient and affordable energy in the sectors.

The statement making the announcement of the grant says work to improve energy efficiency and increase the use of renewables is in line with the country’s national policy framework designed to lead the country to an ambitious set of energy goals.

These include rural energy scale-up and actions to ensure energy efficiency through a combination of regulations and incentives at the national scale.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Africa to benefit from over one million new electricity connections, but Ghana not included


A new report by the African Development Bank (AfDB), has indicated that several projects are underway in Africa to reduce nearly 7 million tonnes CO2 and create more than one million new electricity connections in Africa, with AfDB and CIF support.
The African Development Bank’s “Financing Change: The AfDB  and CIF for a Climate-Smart Africa”, is the Bank’s second semi-annual report on its work to implement the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) in Africa, covering July-December 2012.
Although it would have been a big relief for Ghana if it had received mention in the report since it is currently experiencing massive power generation challenges, the country is not mentioned among countries benefitting from the AfDB and CIF investments in electricity generation.
However, the report showcases expected results from projects underway in Kenya, Morocco, Mozambique, Niger and South Africa backed by US $420 million CIF funding and US $1.1 billion of the AfDB’s own funding.
Through the eight projects under implementation, it is expected that 6.9 million tonnes of CO2 emissions will be avoided every year, 1.3 million households and businesses will get new access to power, nearly 42,000 hectares of land will be newly dedicated to climate-resilient activities, and 150,000 farmers will gain access to climate information, including 50,000 women farmers and 3,000 villages.
A publication of the African Development Bank’s Energy, Environment and Climate Change Department (ONEC), the report features a review of the Bank’s support to 17 African countries through its CIF portfolio, which is channeling US $1 billion – more than a third of all CIF investment in Africa – to Africa, with the Energy, Environment and Climate Change Department leading the institutional charge.
AfDB’s report also highlights the work underway with the AfDB and other CIF partners and stakeholders to continue improving the CIF’s effectiveness – exploring new tools and mechanisms, enhancing and simplifying the approach to measuring results, and brokering climate knowledge from the national to the global stage.
Established in 2008 as one of the largest fast-tracked climate financing instruments in the world, the US $7.6 billion CIF provides developing countries with grants, concessional loans, risk mitigation instruments, and equity that leverage significant financing from the private sector, multilateral development banks, (MDBs) and other sources.
Five MDBs – the African Development Bank (AfDB), Asian Development Bank (ADB), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and World Bank Group (WBG),  implement CIF-funded projects and programmes.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

21 million Ghanaians don’t have improved toilets – WaterAid

Dr. Afia Zakiya launching new WaterAid report

The Government of Ghana is failing to keep its promises on funding for sanitation, a new report launched simultaneously in the UK, Ghana and four other African countries; Niger, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Uganda, February 20, 2013, by the international development charity, WaterAid, has revealed.
According to the development charity, although from 1990 to 2010 the population of Ghana grew by 9.4 million, only 2.3 million people secured access to sanitation over the same period.  WaterAid says in total, nearly 21 million (86%) out of Ghana’s 24 million people are without access to a safe improved toilet, while almost 50% use shared latrines and 19% practice open defecation.
The report, “Keeping promises: why African leaders need now to deliver on their past water and sanitation commitments” warns that unless investment is increased, the challenges of urbanisation, inequality of access, climate change and population growth risk turning back the clock even further.
It uses the government’s own figures to demonstrate that funding on sanitation has fallen short of its public commitments.
Between 2008 and 2011 Ghana has spent on average 0.34% of its GDP – GH¢116.45 million – on water and sanitation combined.  This is far short of the 0.5% of GDP that the government committed to spend on sanitation alone through the 2008 eThekwini African Union Declaration, the report said.
The WaterAid report calls on the Government of Ghana, alongside other African governments, to not only meet their 2008 eThekwini spending commitments of 0.5% of GDP, but to go further by aiming to spend at least 1% of GDP on sanitation and hygiene, in line with the recommendations of a 2011 World Bank report (Water and Sanitation Infrastructure Access, Affordability, and Alternatives) .
It also highlights World Bank figures showing that poor sanitation access currently costs Ghana 1.6% of its GDP a year, which is four times the average annual amount being spent to improve access to both water and sanitation.
Commenting on the report, Dr. Afia Zakiya, WaterAid Ghana’s Country Representative said “Ghanaians waste 850 million hours every year looking for somewhere to go to the toilet and you can add to this the costs of illness and medical bills of those contracting diseases due to the unhygienic conditions.  Overall, the loss to Ghana is 420 million cedis per year.  Now is the time for the government to meet its financial commitments on sanitation, and end sanitation and water poverty, and its daily toll on human life, health and livelihoods.”
Meanwhile, five years on, little progress has been made on separate budget lines for spending on sanitation and water, which is another key commitment made as part of the eThekwini Declaration to improve accountability and track progress.

Friday, February 8, 2013

WASH in Emergencies secretariat to be established in Ghana this year

Mr. Enoch Ofosu

The Water Resources Specialist for the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Mr. Enoch Ofosu, has disclosed that a WASH (water, sanitation, hygiene) in Emergencies (WinE) national secretariat will be established by the close of 2013.
Speaking in an exclusive interview at the side of a regional training on WASH in emergencies for Ghana’s southern zone comprising six regions, in Dodowa, Greater Accra Region, he said the core functions of the secretariat will be to annually come out with plans to fit into the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) structure, so that when there is any disaster, the WASH aspect is catered for.
“Even before then, that people are trained and prevention also comes in – you do what is necessary to avert  it if you can anticipate any WASH in emergency situation that is waiting to happen, you move in swiftly with the help of a stakeholder,” he added.
He explained that the secretariat will not do the technical work but rather facilitate or coordinate other stakeholders to take action.
According to Mr. Ofosu, after the countrywide training and firming up of the national structure, steps will be taken to also put in place regional structures that will feed into the national framework.
The national secretariat will then be set up, a national coordinator for WASH in emergencies and an information management professional will be employed, and other things that will make the secretariat functional well, will be put in place, he added. 

Over 50 Ghanaian officials receive WASH in Emergencies training

Some of the participants at the training
More than 50 officials belonging to organisations and agencies in the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector in Ghana, have received a three-day training on how to manage those essential services during crisis or emergencies.
This is intended to enable them prevent further escalation of conditions during emergencies and disasters such as floods, bushfires, droughts, earthquakes, famine and disease outbreaks such as cholera, among many others.
The training, which commenced on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 and ends today, Friday, February 8, 2013, is being organised jointly by the ministries of Water Resources, Works and Housing and Local Government and Rural Development, with the support of United Nations agency, UNICEF.
Being held under the WASH in Emergencies (WinE) programme, the training is the third in a series of capacity building programmes held since the inception of the programme in 2011 which was informed by the annual rampant bouts of cholera outbreaks in the country around that period.
The first two training programmes were for national level officers in December 2012, and officials in the Upper West, Upper East, Northern and Brong Ahafo regions making the Northern Zone, in January 2013.
The ongoing training, is thus for the Southern Zone, which comprises the Ashanti, Western, Eastern, Central, Volta and Greater Accra regions of Ghana.
Topics discussed during the training include Disaster Management and Preparedness, The rationale of WASH in Emergencies, Control of Communicable Diseases in Emergencies, Sanitation in Emergencies, WASH Response to Urban Floods, Hygiene Promotion in Emergencies, Understanding Gender Perspective in Early Recovery and Children With Disability in Emergency among a host of others. 
Explaining in an interview what informed the inception of the WinE programme and the training, Mr. Enoch Ofosu, Water Resources Specialist, Water Directorate, Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing, said “there is the need to build capacity for the area called WASH in emergency.”
He said hitherto, things were done in fragments and that “Whenever there were disasters people were called upon to do things, but we have to be proactive, we have to put ourselves together – the lack of coordination can result in a lot of negative things like wastage and the lack of WASH services in emergencies can lead to deaths.”
“The best thing is to be prepared and in the sector have capacity built, so that you know what to do in advance before the emergency happens,” he added.
Enoch Ofosu stated that although the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), has been coordinating and bringing onboard other agencies to assist during emergencies, it has an overarching structure “and within that broad plan, other sectors must plan into it; like water, sanitation and hygiene, housing,” “so that when any emergency strikes you know that there is a plan.”
Officials receiving the training, are from NADMO which is a co-chair of the WinE Technical Working Group, the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA), Environmental Health and Sanitation Directorate (EHSD), Water Directorate, civil society organisations (CSOs) and Local Government Authority (LGAs) among others.
Touching on whether Ghana is expecting to encounter any disaster, this is what Enoch Ofosu said: “Disasters are with us and all around us and most importantly we are developing a structure to fit into the existing structure – talking of emergencies, we have to make room for it in our existing structure in terms of policy and other things.”
He intimated that a newly developed structure, which was validated earlier in the week, will be communicated to the sector working group and if it is adopted by stakeholders, it will come into being and it will fit into the existing framework and become part of it.
He disclosed further, that the WinE Technical Working Group will report to the Water and Sanitation Technical Working Group, which will encompass members of the WinE group and other stakeholders.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Uganda’s urban poor receive €1 million grant from AWF for sanitation

Kampala's urban poor

The African Water Facility (AWF), an initiative of the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) hosted by the African Development Bank (AfDB), has offered a one million euro grant to the Community Integrated Development Initiatives (CIDI).
This is intended to support their Kawempe Urban Poor Sanitation Improvement Project (KUPSIP), which is designed to provide affordable and sustainable sanitation services to over 100,000 urban poor living in the Kawempe Municipality, in Kampala, Uganda.
Announcing this in Tunisia on February 5, 2013, via a press release, AWF said by expanding sanitation coverage and reducing environmental pollution, the KUPSIP is expected to help improve the health of slum dwellers and decrease the mortality rate of children under five.
It is envisaged that the project will do this by reducing the spread of cholera and diarrheal diseases, which is 23 per cent higher in households where facilities are inadequate and in areas where human waste disposal is improperly managed.
According to the press release, more specifically, the grant will support the provision of sanitation facilities for households, schools and the public in poor urban areas; delivery of pro-poor sanitation financing for accessing affordable and improved sanitation infrastructure; definition of a sustainable faecal sludge management and safe reuse strategy.
The grant will also ensure promotion of collaboration with the private sector to identify and market affordable and consumer-friendly sanitation technologies; dissemination of targeted information, education and communication to promote better hygiene practices and generation and dissemination of knowledge products covering the entire sanitation chain, through collaboration with agronomical research institutions.
Meanwhile, the AWF grant will cover 74 per cent of the total project cost, while CIDI and collaborating partners will meet the balance of 26 per cent in form of financial and in-kind contributions. 
The project will be executed by CIDI in partnership with Kawempe Municipality of the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and the National Water and Sewerage Cooperation (NWSC) and should be completed by the end of 2015.
The African Water Facility (AWF) initiative, which is governed by a Governing Council representing its 15 donors, UN-Water Africa, the AU via NEPAD, AMCOW and the AfDB, was established in 2004 as a Special Water Fund, to help African countries achieve the objectives of the Africa Water Vision 2025.
The AWF offers grants from €50,000 to €5 million to support projects aligned with its mission and strategy, to a wide range of institutions and organisations operating in Africa.
Its three strategic priority activities are, preparing investment projects to mobilise investment funds for projects supported by AWF; enhancing water governance to create an environment conducive for effective and sustainable investments and promoting water knowledge for the preparation of viable projects and informed governance, leading to effective and sustainable investments.
Since 2006, AWF has funded 73 national and regional projects in 50 countries, including in Africa's most vulnerable states. It has also mobilised more than €532 million as a result of its project preparation activities, which constitute 70 per cent of its portfolio. On average, each €1 contributed by the AWF has attracted €20 in additional follow-up investments.
The AWF is entirely funded by Algeria, Australia, Austria, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Burkina Faso, Canada, Denmark, the European Commission, France, Norway, Senegal, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the African Development Bank.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Ghana to form Technical Working Group on water, sanitation services for emergencies

Some of the participants at the validation workshop
A National WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) in Emergencies (WinE) Technical Working Group, is to be formed in Ghana, to ensure effective and coordinated rapid and recovery responses related to safe water, basic sanitation and hygiene to affected people in emergencies at national level.
The working group will also be expected to develop adequate preparedness measures for WASH in recovery periods.
Among other things, the WinE Technical Working Group, which is open to all stakeholders such as non-governmental organisations (NGOs), civil-based organisations (CBOs), UN agencies, the Government of Ghana (GoG), private sector and donor organisations, will be expected to add value to the work of the water, sanitation and hygiene sector, by engaging in joint assessments, strategic planning and actions.
The Group is also expected to ensure information sharing and analysis, for evidence based action, avoid overlap, increase complementary actions, identify and fill gaps, map out who does what, where and when during emergencies, as well as provide clear leadership for more predictable and effective response.
These came to light during a two-day validation workshop held from Monday, February 4, 2013 to Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at Dodowa in the Dangme West District of the Greater Accra Region.
The workshop was jointly organised by the ministries of Water Resources, Works and Housing and Local Government and Rural Development, who will incidentally be co-leads of the Technical Working Group, that will also have NADMO co-chairing.
Validation was done by the participants on proposed Terms of Reference (ToR) for the National WinE Technical Working Group and ToR for a National WinE Technical Working Group secretariat, which will be manned by a WinE Coordinator, WinE Information Manager and WinE partner agencies/organisations.
For specific objectives of a National WinE Technical Working Group, participants agreed it should be an impartial forum of agencies and institutions, representing no individual members or their interests, and whose goals and objectives are of unique character, which will provide the best possible assistance to affected people in emergencies, by taking commonly accepted and binding decisions.
Concerning a National WinE Technical Working Group secretariat, the workshop participants agreed the Coordinator must generally provide leadership in streamlining activities of all WinE players to prevent conflicts and duplicity, while the Information Manager must provide information management services such including data collection, collation, analysis, dissemination processes relevant to the needs of the sector, including map production, with the collaboration of all stakeholders to the National WinE Technical Working Group for key decision making.
A cross section of participants at the workshop
The participants, who were drawn from the two collaborating ministries, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), WaterAid Ghana and the Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS) among other stakeholders, also agreed that partner agencies and organisations need to validate the overall aim and objectives of the National WinE Technical Working Group.
They also tasked the Group to be proactive in exchanging information and reporting, highlight needs, gaps, and duplication, mobilise resources (financial, human, material), engage with affected communities, and build local capacity.
In his remarks, Director of Research, Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Mr.  Longman Atta-Kumah urged participants to push issues of WASH such that they are taken up at the appropriate quarters.
“You have good intentions but if you do not go through the right processes you may look a bad person or you may be seen to be running a parallel station,” he said, pledging, “We will support the process and work as a team with all the clarifications we have set for ourselves, as well as the bench marks that we have set for ourselves in this direction.” 

Friday, February 1, 2013

World loses $260 billion from poor water and sanitation annually - Sirleaf

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Nobel Peace Prize winner and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, has stated that contrary to widely held views that adequate sanitation is derived from development, improved sanitation is rather a driver of economic development.
She disclosed that as a result of inadequate sanitation, the world economically loses $260 billion dollars annually.
The President, who is one of three co-Chairs of the UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, stated on Wednesday, 30 January 2013: “$260 billion in economic losses annually is directly linked to inadequate water supply and sanitation around the world.  We must take this issue more seriously.”
“All too often access to adequate sanitation in particular is seen as an outcome of development, rather than a driver of economic development and poverty reduction.  South Korea, Malaysia and Singapore in the 1960’s and 1970’s demonstrated the potential for boosting economic development by addressing sanitation,” she added.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf made the comments during the High-level Panel meeting in Monrovia, which was broadly focused on the theme of “economic transformation”.
Also the Goodwill Ambassador for water, sanitation and hygiene in Africa, Liberia’s President warned:“Without more progress in providing access to safe water and effective sanitation, children will continue to miss school, health costs will continue to be a drag on national economies, adults will continue to miss work, and women and girls, and it’s almost always women and girls, will continue to spend hours every day fetching water, typically from dirty sources.”
Commenting on the work of the UN Secretary-General’s Panel of Eminent Persons, Girish Menon, Director of International Programmes for the international water and sanitation charity WaterAid, said:“The High Level Panel must grasp this unique opportunity to put together an ambitious vision for eradicating poverty in our time.  For this aspiration to be realised there must be a central focus on achieving universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene.”
WaterAid’s Director stated that while “International efforts on the existing Millennium Development Goals have shown that to succeed in areas like education, child health and gender equality, progress on access to water, sanitation and hygiene is crucial,” “Integrating these approaches will be the key to success.” 
The Panel includes 27 leaders from government, the private sector and civil society and is co-chaired by UK Prime Minister David Cameron, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia and President Sirleaf. 
The group is tasked with producing a report in May to the Secretary-General containing recommendations for a development agenda for the world.
Meanwhile, the current Millennium Development Goal targets on water and sanitation have had starkly differing levels of progress and political and financial support and though the drinking water target - to halve the proportion of people worldwide without access to safe drinking water - was met five years early in 2010, the sanitation goal is decades off track.  Current statistics show that progress in Africa specifically is even worse, with sub-Saharan Africa expected to meet this goal a century and a half late.
Typical of sub-Saharan African countries, Liberia’s access to safe drinking water is presently at 73% of the population, which far exceeds levels of access to decent sanitation, which is now only at 18%, while the average across sub-Saharan Africa to these services sits at 61% for water but just 30% for sanitation. 
This is in spite of a statement in a 2012 WaterAid report that the lives of 2.5 million people around the world would be saved every year if everybody had access to safe water and adequate sanitation.
In that same report, WaterAid has also highlighted that if governments meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to halve the proportion of their population without sanitation by 2015, the lives of 400,000 children under the age of five will be saved around the world, with over 100,000 being saved in Nigeria, and 66,000 in India alone.

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