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Survival of the fittest: Rural women compete with animals for water

The lack of potable water in some rural communities in the Upper West Region has compelled women and children in such communities to compete with animals and reptiles for water for their domestic use.

THE SITUATION

Reports by the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in some of these communities including Damwaataeon and Zanko Paani in the Wa West District and Kaleo-bile in the Wa East District under the “Mobilizing the Media for Fighting covid-19″ project being implemented by the Journalists for Human Rights in collaboration with the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA)”, revealed a very pathetic situation about access to water and other sanitation facilities as a right.

Madam Mercy Dasaa, a resident at Damwaateon, told the GNA that the streams which is their only source of water often dried-up during the harmattan leaving them with no choice than to dig dugouts before they could get water to fetch.

“Sometimes, if you are not lucky, you will dig and fetch some water and the time you will return the next day, animals would have come to drink and destroy it. You will have to dig again to fetch”, she said.

Madam Dasaa said the only borehole in the community could not produce enough water during the dry season to serve the water needs of the community with more than 500 inhabitants.

Madam Agnes Diesob, another resident of the community said the situation impeded their economic activities in the community, as the women had to spend several hours at the stream or borehole in search of water for their domestic use.

At Zanko Paani, residents said they currently resort to pond water for domestic purposes such as cooking and drinking as the only borehole in the community had broken down.

Madam Iddrisu Marriama, a resident told the GNA in an interview that they were aware of the health risks associated with drinking from the pond but they have no option.

She said the population of the community overweighed the single borehole, which caused it to easily break down due to the excessive pressure on the facility.

You have come to see our problem. Our borehole often breaks down, so we fetch water from this pond… unfortunately, we are sharing this pond with animals”, she said.

“I have been having stomach pains. I know it’s because of the water, but there is nothing I can do,” she emphasized.

Mr Iddrisu Daluo, another resident told the GNA that they have been contributing almost every month to fix the borehole, which had brought unnecessary financial pressure on the people.

At Kaleo-bile, a locally dug well and a nearby stream serve as the only source of water for residents in the community, which often get silted in the dry seasons making access to water a very big challenge for them.

According to members of the community, the situation has exposed them to waterborne diseases, thereby, affecting their productivity levels especially the women.

MAIN PROBLEM

The problem of some rural communities is poor health coupled with limited access to potable water.

The situation is further compounded in the dry seasons during which women cover long distances and spending hours competing with animals for water from streams and other open sources.

According to the Global Water Supply and Sanitation Assessment Report, over one billion people across the World do not have access to adequate and safe drinking water facilities with women and children being disproportionately affected.

Water is an essential prerequisite for development and growth, however, the situation where rural women spend hours every day, collecting and carting water directly from streams in competition with animals is a worrying development challenge.

Water is an essential basic need that must be available in order for human beings to survive and this must not be a luxury to these communities particularly women and children as they run their daily household chores.

SANITATION AND HEALTH

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), safe and readily available water is important for public health, whether it is used for drinking, domestic use, food production or recreational purposes.

Improved water supply and sanitation, and better management of water resources, can boost countries’ economic growth and can contribute greatly to poverty reduction, it said.

Also, it estimated that globally, at least 2 billion people use a drinking water source contaminated with faeces, adding that contaminated water can transmit diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid, and polio.

Again, it said contaminated drinking water is estimated to cause 485,000 diarrheal deaths each year and that by 2025 half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas.

In 2010, the UN General Assembly explicitly recognized the human right to water and sanitation saying; “Everyone has the right to sufficient, continuous, safe, acceptable, physically accessible, and affordable water for personal and domestic use”.

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 6.1 calls for universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water.

The target is tracked with the indicator of “safely managed drinking water services” – drinking water from an improved water source that is located on premises, available when needed, and free from faecal and priority chemical contamination.

IMPROVED SANITATION BENEFITS

Benefits of improved sanitation extend well beyond reducing the risk of diarrhea according to the WHO.

It include reducing the spread of intestinal worms, schistosomiasis and trachoma which are neglected tropical diseases causing suffering for millions across the globe.

Again, it includes the severity and impact of malnutrition; promoting dignity and boosting safety, particularly among women and girls; promoting school attendance: girls’ school attendance is particularly boosted by the provision of separate sanitary facilities; and potential recovery of water, renewable energy and nutrients from faecal waste.

THE GHANA CONTEXT

Mr Eric Banye, Executive Director of Savannah Alliance Ghana noted that for many communities in Ghana, this target is far from reach.

“In Ghana, sharp geographic, socio-cultural and economic inequalities persist, not only between rural and urban areas but also in towns and cities where people living in low-income, informal, or illegal settlements usually have less access to improved sources of drinking-water than other residents”, he emphasized.

According to Mr Banye, the Sustainable Water Supply project is a dream comes true for the communities that were carefully selected in collaboration with the respective district assemblies.

He said the high rate of water borne diseases sometimes leading to deaths has therefore become a major concern for stakeholders, hence, the initiation of the Direct Aid Project (DAP).

THE DIRECT AID PROGRAMME

The Sustainable Water Supply Project is one of the projects funded by the Australian High Commission under the DAP, which is a flexible, small grants programme.

The project is being implemented directly by Savannah Alliance Ghana, a local NGO in the Upper West Region with support from Azumah Resources, a mineral exploration and mining company operating in the region.

The aim is to support projects with a strong development focus that contribute to inclusive, sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction.

The primary objective of the DAP is to achieve a practical and tangible humanitarian or developmental outcome in vulnerable communities.

The areas include improving sanitation, waste services and facilities; improving services for people with disability or mental illness; strengthening accountability, transparency and good governance in the extractives sector; and promoting gender equality and empowering women and girls by supporting female-led organisations.

The projectdemonstrate consideration to gender and disability inclusion in the design and implementation by ensuring women and people with disabilities are consulted and included in the development of project proposals, as well as in their implementation.

PROJECT OBJECTIVES

The project seeks to ensure these beneficiary communities especially women, children and the physically challenged have access to potable water whilst their health status particularly with regards to waterborne diseases would also be improved.

This is expected to increase productivity as women, children and the physically challenged will now spend lesser hours in accessing and carting water from unsafe sources for their domestic use.

PROJECT OUTCOMES

Mr Eric Banye, Executive Director of Savannah Alliance Ghana said the project would ensure the drilling of seven boreholes and also train and equip seven Water and Sanitation (WATSAN) Committees with skills on water facility management as well.

He said in the end, a total of 5,000 women would have access to potable water whilst long distances covered and time spent in accessing water would be significantly reduced to enhance productivity.

EQUITY AND INCLUSION

Mr Banye noted that in line with the Australia High Commission’s focus on equity and inclusion, the project had a strong inclusion and equity agenda.

“Women are fully involved in the site selection, drilling and management of the boreholes. The project also takes into consideration other vulnerable groupings including people with disability”, he said.

BENEFICIARIES

In all, the Executive Director of Savannah Alliance Ghana said seven rural communities were selected across fourdistricts in the Upper West Region to benefit from the project.
They include, Leli, Musama, and Konne-Kakala communities in the Nadowli-Kaleo District; Jangfiang and Zinye communities in the Wa East District, Bapila community in the Nandom Municipality and Orifan community in the Jirapa Municipality.

CONCLUSION

The DAP being implemented by the Savannah Alliance Ghana and funded by the Australian High Commission through the Sustainable Water Supply Project to ensure beneficiary communities have access to safe sources of drinking water and sanitation facilities is commendable and worth emulation.

This is because tackling rural water and sanitation accessibility challenges must be a concern for all and the necessary resources galvanized to drive the agenda.

Government is doing well through the Sustainable Water Management Project but it is not over until all rural communities gain access to safe and sustainable access to potable water.

Rural women also have equal rights and must not continue to compete for water with animals which puts their health and that of their families at risk.

Source:GNA

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Environment

Tidal waves: Relocation is not the best option- Bawah Mogtari

Special aide to former President Mahama, Joyce Bawah Mogtari has added her voice to the call on the government to, as a matter of urgency protect lives in the Volta Region by constructing and extending the sea defense levee to prevent the encroachment of the sea on their land and livelihoods.

She said the suggestion for the relocation of the people to a higher and safer ground is neither here nor there because the entire Volta Region is bordered on the coast “so relocating from point A will just lead you to point B”.

Mrs Mogtari reiterated the point that there must be advocacy and education on practices that will allow man and the sea to coexist without the challenges currently facing the country in respect of the tidal waves on the communities in the Volta Region.

She said this is a wake up call that affords the country the opportunity to address the looming danger in the country and that government will consider the call by acting on time to protect the lives of the people who live along the coast.

Mrs Mogtari criticized the ineffectiveness of the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) for basic needs like temporary shelter, disposable toilet facilities and healthcare for the affected communities.

“I believe NADMO itself is currently facing some serious financial constraints. I have seen NADMO in the past and I have seen their response teams and the level of their response. I think this one has largely been muted because if you even listen to the Member of Parliament and even the chief who spoke, if they have received even a visit by some high level government delegation, even that would have given them a certain modicum of comfort but it seems there is a certain dereliction of duty under the circumstances,” she said.

She charged that the country is over emphasising the value of food rather than what the people really need to ease their plight in their current straits against what NADMO is giving them in the region.

Mrs Mogtari said if the government had cut down on some of the profligate spending in the country, government would have come up with the $600 million to complete the construction of the sea defense levee in the affected communities in the Volta Region.

She made this call in an interview with Berla Mundi on the New Day on TV3, Friday November 12, on the back of the tidal waves that has affected communities like Keta and its environs, rendering about 4000 people homeless and destroying properties in the process.

“So relocating is one thing, where are you relocating them to? Because along the whole of the Volta really is a whole coastal environment so relocating from point A will just take you to point B. I think for now what we need to do is first and foremost ensure that we are protecting human lives. I think that the sea defense should be extended, like former President Rawlings spoke about and then we should take it from there,” she called on the government.

Source:3 News

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Environment

Climate Change: Ghana To Tap In To $1Bn Fund To Halt Deforestation

Ghana plants 5 million trees in a single day to combat deforestation |  Headlines
A deforestation scene in Ghana

The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has signed a letter of intent with the LEAF Coalition allowing Ghana to enter into purchase agreements with corporate signatories to a global fund that supports forest-based efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

The minister signed the letter at a ceremony on Wednesday (3 November) on the fringes of the UN World Leaders Summit on climate change, COP26, which is taking place in Glasgow.

Among guests at the signing was John Kerry, the former US secretary of state who is now the United States special presidential envoy for climate.

The LEAF Coalition is a public-private partnership underpinned by a financial commitment to support countries that are protecting their tropical forests. The spillover benefits to countries entering the deforestation coalition include protection of biodiversity, improved health and preservation of sources of food and livelihood for millions of people.

So far LEAF has mobilised US$1 billion towards supporting afforestation and reforestation programmes internationally and the fund is expected to grow to several billions. It is the largest public-private effort ever assembled to end tropical deforestation.

National forest strategy:

Ghana’s proposal to LEAF hinges on a policy launched in 2008 when the country joined the World Bank Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, expanded in 2016 under the national REDD+ Strategy, which covers national measures to minimise deforestation over the period 2016-2035.

Two main schemes are anchoring the strategy: the Ghana Shea Landscape Emission Reduction Project and the better-established Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ Project.

In June this year the Forestry Commission, under the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, launched the country’s single largest ever tree planting programme. The Green Ghana Day initiative, observed across the country on 11 June, led to the planting of over 5.5 million tree seedlings.

Species planted under the Green Ghana programme included fruiting and flowering trees. However, the emphasis was on hardwood forest species such as cassia, mahogany, teak and ofram.

Over 30 territories, including areas in the Amazon rainforest region, provinces and nation states, have put forward proposals to tap into the LEAF Coalition fund. Twenty-three of those have successfully gone through an initial technical screening process an Ghana is one of the first five cleared to advance the process towards benefiting from the programme.

The other countries in the first wave are Costa Rica, Ecuador, Nepal and Vietnam.

LEAF works with corporate clients open to its set criteria of high-level, science-based emissions reductions in their own value chains, with a target of net-zero emissions by 2050.

Source:Peacefmonline

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Environment

Cabinet approves new Wildlife Resources Management Bill

Cabinet has approved the new Wildlife Resources Management Bill, 2021 during its 17th meeting. The Bill seeks to revise and consolidate all laws relating to wildlife and protected areas, and bring the new legislation in conformity with existing policies in the sector.

Cabinet has approved the new Wildlife Resources Management Bill, 2021 during its 17th meeting.

The Bill seeks to revise and consolidate all laws relating to wildlife and protected areas, and bring the new legislation in conformity with existing policies in the sector.

It will also ensure the implementation of international conventions on wildlife of which Ghana is a signatory.

This is in a statement issued by the Public Affairs Unit of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra.

It said the current legislation that governs wildlife and protected areas, including the Wild Animals Preservation Act, 1961 (Act 43), the Wildlife Conservation Regulations, 1971 (L.I. 685) and the Wildlife Reserves Regulations, 1971 (L.I. 710) enacted some 50 years ago were not in tune with current international best practices for wildlife protection and management.

“These laws do not provide a proper legal framework for the implementation of the Forest and Wildlife Policy, 2012, the Forestry Development Master Plan (2016-2036) and other national and international frameworks that guide sustainable resource management, all of which were adopted years after the current Legislation,” the statement said.

Apart from the deficiencies, the legislations did not clearly define the aims and objectives of wildlife management and the various categories of protected areas, and also lacked deterrent sanctions for wildlife offences.

To address those gaps and shortfalls in the current wildlife laws, it said a new Wildlife Resources Management Bill had been developed through a very extensive consultative process involving both state and non-state actors.

The Bill will provide for a new management structure to give legal backing to local communities in wildlife management through the creation of Community Resources Management Areas (CREMAs) and ensure higher penalties and sanctions regime for wildlife offences, which is deterrent enough to protect the wildlife resources.

When passed it will provide for the implementation of several International Wildlife Conventions of, which Ghana is a signatory.

These include the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitats (RAMSAR) 1971, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, (CITES), 1973, the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (BONN) 1979, as well as several indicators in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Cabinet’s approval of the Bill means that it is now ready to be presented to Parliament for consideration, and hopefully, passage.

The statement said the extensive consultation with the relevant stakeholders in the review process had engendered a lot of support, inputs and goodwill from all actors and provided a good indication of a successful implementation of the Bill when passed into law by Parliament.
Source :GNA

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