The Ghana Coalition of NGOs in the water and sanitation sector (CONIWAS), has commemorated the maiden edition of the National WASH Week, across the three zones of Ghana.
The idea, which was put into action, was birthed at the 2021 National MOLE Conference which took place at Ejisu in the Ashanti Region, under the theme: “Repositioning the WASH Sector for Emergency Response and Sustainable Development”.
The members of CONIWAS at the conference discussed the need for there to be a platform separate from MOLE, which occurs once a year, to provide another opportunity for more awareness to be created for water and sanitation issues in the country, as well as to provide visibility for members of CONIWAS.
As a result, there was an agreement across the membership for the National WASH Week to be held once every year, in a period preceding the bigger platform for WASH in Ghana; ,MOLE Conference.
At the conference, the major activities agreed to be implemented for the WASH Week celebration were Breakfast Meeting, WASH Awareness creation on radio and television, Townhall meeting, showcasing of WASH Products and services by CONIWAS members, engagement with MMDAs to discuss plans and challenges on WASH, as well as advocacy for better allocations to WASH by governments.
Of these activities, the southern and middle zones of CONIWAS held the Breakfast Meeting and floats to create awareness on WASH and the new initiative of the National WASH Week celebration.
The northern zone, led by the Training Coordinator and M & E Officer for WUZDA Ghana, who doubles as the northern Zonal Coordinator, Ibrahim Abdul Ganiyu and the National Vice Chairperson, Beata Akanyani, expanded the celebration to one that lasted for a week, which gave each day a special activity.
The maiden Ghana WASH Week Celebration was from the 19th to 23rd September, 2022, under the theme: “Pursuing Greater Prioritization and Behaviour Change for Sustainable Safe Drinking Water and Environmental Sanitation”.
The week – long activities in the northern zone was kick started with a Breakfast Meeting, where key stakeholders present, discussed key issues and challenges confronting the WASH sector in Ghana, particularly the northern sector.
Key stakeholders including the Northern Regional Minister, the northern regional coordinating director and chiefs from some key communities in and around Tamale were present, and took turns to make suggestions on what could be done to improve the supply of water and to ensure proper sanitation in the northern zone.
The issue of sand winning which affects the quality of water pumped from the Dalun water treatment site was a major part of the discussions at the breakfast meeting.
Chiefs were called on to desist from intervening on behalf of persons who are arrested over sanitation and water related offenses, including those who engage in sand winning close to the Dalun water treatment site.
There were also activities including a walk through some major streets of Tamale to campaign for a clean Ghana, as well as television and radio discussions on solving sanitation challenges in homes.
Other activities are town hall meeting where discussions were held on the measures that could be taken to properly punish sanitation offenders, where a call was made for the establishment of a sanitation court in Tamale, with the mandate for prosecuting only sanitation related offenses.
On the sidelines of the town hall meeting, an exhibition of WASH products and services was made by some CONIWAS members, to showcase the various toilet and water technologies they have to the public.
The national WASH Week rounded off with a hygiene promotion exercise in basic schools, where a team from northern zone of CONIWAS visited the Prisons School Complex and the Bambawiya basic school to educate the students and schools authorities about the need for proper hygiene observance, as well as listen to some of the WASH related challenges the schools may be battling.
The Ghana WASH Week celebration as envisaged by members of CONIWAS, has provided another platform for the coalition to engage on the various sanitation issues in Ghana before MOLE Conference.
The maiden celebration of the Ghana WASH Week by CONIWAS was supported by UNICEF, Catholic Relief Services, World Vision, WUZDA Ghana, Global Communities, Afram Plains Development Organization and WaterAid.