Communities in the Upper East Region have been urged to demand for safe and sustainable Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities from duty bearers to improve their health and wellbeing.
Water Aid Ghana, a water and sanitation focused Non-Governmental Organization which made the call noted that it was within the right of the citizenry to advocate and demand access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene materials in both communities and healthcare facilities.
Ms Fauzia Aliu, Policy Officer, Water Aid Ghana, made the call at a workshop on the need and right to demand safe WASH facilities for improved growth and development, organised for communities in the Garu District of the Upper East Region.
It was part of the implementation of Human Rights Based sensitization on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Infrastructures for Healthcare Facilities project sponsored by Guinness Breweries Ghana Limited.
The project which has provided water system and sanitation and hygiene infrastructure services to the communities, aimed to empower the residents to be aware of their rights and demand appropriately for them.
Ms Aliu said WASH was critical to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) especially goal three which puts emphasis on good health and development but many communities were still challenged in having access to such facilities.
“This training is therefore intended to raise awareness on the importance of Human Rights Based Approach for community development and for community members and youth in the Garu District to become more active in advocating change within and beyond their communities.
“Specifically, the Human Rights Based Advocacy Training component of the project is focused on strengthening the capacity of communities to demand their various rights especially WASH rights and as well as fulfill their responsibilities as citizens,” she added.
Ms Joyce Jambeidu, Development Facilitator, who facilitated the training, indicated that WASH was in line with the efforts to achieving the SDG six which outlines the need for every citizen to have equal and sustainable access to water and sanitation.
“Communities which do not have access to water need to mobilize and speak to authorities responsible because government makes provisions for these either through the Common Fund or in partnership with other organizations and so if there is a community that does not have access to water it amounts to abuse of their rights,” she said.
She urged the community members to take the initiative or contribute to WASH projects and maintain the facilities, to achieve its intended purpose.
The participants who lauded the efforts of Water Aid Ghana and Guinness Ghana for the enlightenment pledged to share the knowledge with their colleagues to garner support for collective advocacy.
Ms Regina Anaba, one of the participants from the Zaari community said she had little knowledge of her right to demand for WASH facilities and indicated the training had empowered her to speak without fear.
Ms Gifty Sambo, another participant from the Bulpielise noted that her capacity in local governance operation had improved and it would enable her to mobilize her community members to demand accountability of development projects especially WASH facilities.