The Netherlands government has, through UNICEF, launched a 5.9 million Euros project aimed at improving access to sanitation to more than 300,000 urban residents in Ghana.
Ashaiman in the Greater Accra Region, Ho in the Volta Region and Tamale in the Northern Region, are three urban settlements to benefit from this project, a press statement issued by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands signed by Monica Arach, External Relations and Fundraising Specialist, has said.
This project, is a component of the Ghana Netherlands WASH Programme (GNWP), a joint programme between the governments of Ghana and the Netherlands, intended to address water, sanitation and waste issues in cities, and to assist Ghana in reaching its sanitation target.
It will also open new opportunities for private businesses. A component of the project will support entrepreneurs to build their capacities towards identifying appropriate sanitation technologies and services for the urban poor, and to turn them into viable businesses.
“Despite Ghana’s development as a middle income country which is worthy of note, a large proportion of Ghanaians, about 80 per cent in the urban areas, still do not have access to improved sanitation,” the statement said.
It said the poor sanitation in Ghana was likely to be a significant factor in the 4,500 children who die annually as a result of diarrhoea. In urban communities, the disparities in access to sanitation are particularly acute, with the poor more than twelve times less likely to have access to improved sanitation.
Through the project, UNICEF and the Netherlands will reach at least 300,000 people in urban areas as well as almost 9,000 schoolchildren with improved, sustainable sanitation and water facilities and improved hygiene behaviours, the statement said.
“Disparities are largely what will get in the way of achieving sustainable universal access to improved sanitation,” said Rushnan Murtaza, UNICEF Representative in Ghana.
According to the statement whilst strong steps had recently been made by the government to address rural sanitation challenges, the developments in urban sanitation remained ad hoc, based on individual projects, without a consolidated national strategy.
“This project, looks to address these challenges through a combination of a targeted on-ground programme to support sanitation in poor communities and schools and through the development of a national approach for urban household sanitation,” said Fred Smiet from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Accra.
UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children to improve their wellbeing.