BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE
The Australia Government, through its aid agency Australian Aid and with funding from the Australia Africa Community Engagement Scheme (AACES), is providing around US$2 million to improve access to water, sanitation and hygiene services in some communities in the Eastern and Greater Accra Regions of Ghana.
This, it is doing, in partnership with International non-governmental organisation, WaterAid and other local non-governmental organisations, a statement issued jointly April 2, 2013 by the aid agency and WaterAid Ghana, has said.
Already, under the programme, WaterAid Ghana has worked in partnership with local NGOs and local communities to drill and rehabilitate six boreholes and two water kiosks, which are currently providing safe potable water to more than 6,000 marginalised people in the country.
The programme, which is also targeting sanitation and hygiene in schools, has already seen to the construction of two new latrines and the establishment of seven school hygiene clubs that are helping to improve access to safe sanitation for over 1,350 school children as well as improve sanitation and hygiene practices.
According to WaterAid Ghana, a significant component of the programme has been the strong involvement and ownership by the community, which is helping to ensure the sustainability of the programme’s outcomes.
Commenting on the partnership, Dr. Afia S. Zakiya, Country Representative for WaterAid Ghana, said: “The programme has already made a real difference to the lives of women and girls who now have more time for school and work as they do not have to walk as far to collect water. Women also now spend less time caring for family members who would otherwise fall sick due to unsafe drinking water.”
For her part, the Australian High Commissioner to Ghana, H. E. Joanna Adamson, said “Australia strongly believes that a partnership approach to supporting community-based interventions across Africa will achieve a greater impact, making a real difference to people’s lives, especially the poor and marginalised. With strong community ownership we are ensuring that these benefits will endure beyond the life of the programme.”
Australian support to NGOs in Africa has recently increased, and focusses on delivering more opportunities to the most vulnerable and poor - especially women, children, people with a disability and people vulnerable to disaster.
NGOs funded under the AACES programme are also encouraged to network and collaborate with each other, to achieve greater impact through shared learning and synergies.
AACES is the largest Australian funded NGO programme in Africa and supports development in 11 African countries including Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
AACES is a partnership of AusAID (the Australian Government agency responsible for managing Australia's overseas aid programme), ten Australian Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and their Africa-based partners.
It contributes to the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) strategy for Africa through community-based interventions across the sectors of food security, maternal and child health and water, sanitation and hygiene.
The programme focuses on marginalised communities, with particular attention to women, children, people with a disability and people vulnerable to disaster.