The National Service Secretariat (NSS) has honoured 92 service personnel for their exceptional contribution to sanitation management in the country.
They were given awards with special packages such as cash prizes, tablets and a fully-funded international internship programmes in Netherland and India after serving under the Urban Sanitation Module (USM).
The best 15 applicants will receive fully-funded internship programmes in the Netherlands and India while those who placed 16 placed 57 will go through fully-funded specialised training.
All the awards were sponsored by Jospong Group of Companies and Subah Infosolutions Limited.
The awardees included 51 personnel selected from among 252 who contested in a USM-SINSAS award scheme designed to reward hardworking personnel, particularly those deployed in 2015 by NSS to gather spatial data under the USM.
The other 41 did not contest in the award scheme but were chosen and honoured for their outstanding performance in data collection.
They are all guaranteed employment with Subah Infosolution.
Held under the theme, “Empowering the youth through innovation to drive development”, the award also comes on the heels of the National Waste Bin Distribution Programme (NAWaBin) introduced in 2014, to help address sanitation challenges.
The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Mahama Ayariga in his address underscored the need for institutions to invest in the youth towards building a more skillful and vibrant human resource for the country.
He said in a competitive world, it behoved on stakeholders to develop the technological capabilities of the citizenry who to enable them to rub shoulders with their counterparts in other developing and developed countries.
He stated that it was time the country marshalled more resources to develop the expertise of its youth to contribute meaningfully to national development.
Making a reference to the national anthem, Mr. Ayariga noted that Ghanaians were challenged by the anthem to resist oppressors rule in whichever form and explained that the term “oppressors rule” meant any persons, situations, institutions and laws impeding the progress of society, either directly or indirectly.
“The disorder we see on the streets; the indiscriminate disposal of refuse, especially in the capital cities of Accra, Kumasi and Cape Coast; the encroachment of public lands allocated for future use, these are the oppressors rule that the citizenry must resist,” he said.
Mr. Ayariga commended JGC for being innovative enough to help address the sanitation challenges and creating a special programme that would enhance the collection of spatial data of the country.
He said the Ministry had directed the Town and Country Planning Department to partner Jaspong to expand the spatial data collection initiative to all parts of the country.
The Executive Director of NSS, Dr. Kpessah Whyte, lauded the awardees for their contributions and challenged other personnel to work harder, instead of downplaying posting to rural communities and new modules such as the USM.
He was optimistic that the efforts of the personnel would go a long way to transform the country, while shaping their lives to be more responsible citizens.
The Executive Chairman of JGC, Dr. Joseph Siaw Agyepong, assured of the company’s commitment to sustain the programme by allocating $3 million annually to build the capacity of personnel who would be deployed under the USM.
He expressed the hope that the 15 beneficiaries who would undertake the internship course in India and Netherland would return home to add their expertise to efforts at strengthening the spatial regime of the country.
By Charles Amankwa and Dinah Twumasi