THE Citi News correspondent in Ho, Benjamin Aklama, 25, was adjudged the best all-round journalist at the third Volta Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) awards ceremony in Ho at the weekend.
This was based on his recent story on “Inequalities in Rural Ghana – Effects of the Ban on Fishing on Local Economies.”
For his prize, Aklama took home a 32-inch Nasco flat screen television set, a plaque and a certificate.
The theme for the awards was: “Environmental Cleanliness: Media as Vanguard, Don’t Drop that Litter.”
In all, 30 journalists submitted a total of 70 entries for the 10 awards this year.
The guest speaker was Mr Attah Arhin, Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Technical Coordinator of World Vision International, Ghana.
He commended the Volta GJA for its valiant stance against open defecation and also teaming up with other organisations to provide greater visibility towards improved sanitation services delivery.
Poor sanitation, Mr Arhin pointed out, was not only a serious threat to public health, but also a barrier to poverty reduction and development.
He revealed that, while Ghana had done quite well in terms of access to safe drinking water, the same could not be said about sanitation and hygiene.
For instance, he noted, the open defecation rate still stood at 22 per cent while only 48 per cent had access to basic hygiene or hand-washing facilities, with one in every four household still using a public toilet facility.
The WASH Technical Coordinator called on the government to consider making environmental sanitation the pivot around which all national development initiatives would revolve, saying, “This will mean increased prioritisation and investments for capacity building, infrastructural development, public sensitisation and law enforcement, research and development.”
Mr Affail Monney, National President of the GJA, said that the war against filth in the country could be won if the citizenry could discard the “rotten attitude” towards the environment.
Mr Kafui Kanyi, Chairman of Volta GJA, announced that work on the master plan for the association’s affordable housing project on the four-acre plot at Adaklu-Tsrefe was in progress, and that the project would soon take off in earnest.
He expressed gratitude to Togbe Edem III, Tufia of Adaklu and Togbe Agbobada, chief of Adaklu-Anfoe for the land donated, saying that the gesture marked the beginning of a long bond of cordiality and development ties between Volta GJA and Adaklu.
The event, which was held at the Volta Serene Hotel, was attended by the traditional rulers from Adaklu, Ho and other parts of the region, as well as corporate bodies, ministers of state and the public.
The awards for education category went to Harrison Belley, Editor of the Lake News, an online news portal, while Fred Asare of Joy News took the award for the best in health.
FROM ALBERTO MARIO NORETTI, HO