The Catholic Relief Services (CRS), an International humanitarian organization of the Catholic Community has called on government and stakeholders to invest in access to sustainable water supply to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
It said access to good drinking water, healthy sanitation and hygienic education were basic necessities and legal rights of every individual, and there was the need for the institution to have some forms of legal frameworks and sufficient funding to effectively target and improve on lives of the citizenry, especially women and children.
Mr Kris Ozar, the Country Director of the CRS, made the call on Friday during the celebration of World Water Day organized by CRS at Tongo in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region.
The celebration, was on the theme: “Leaving no one Behind”, brought together stakeholders in water and sanitation, actors in the educational and health sectors, local authorities as well as traditional leaders.
The Country Director disclosed that about 2.1 billion people globally, did not have access to good drinking water at home and about 700 children under five, died every day whilst globally, from diarrhoea as a result of exposure to unsafe drinking water and poor sanitation.
He said in Ghana, only 27 percent of the people have access to safely managed water supply, adding, “65 percent of schools have access to limited water services while 35 percent of schools have no access to water services at all.”
Mr Ozar explained that, to help solve the issue of access to safe water supply and achieve the SDGs, particularly goal six, which puts emphasis on access to good drinking water and sanitation for all by 2030, CRS in partnership with local government authorities was implementing a three-year water and sanitation project in two selected districts including the Talensi District and the West Mamprusi Municipal in the North East Region.
The Integrated Community Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Improvement Project (ICOWASH) with funding support of 6.4 million dollars from Helmsley Trust of the United States of America, seeks to improve on the health and wellbeing of about 152,300 school children and adults in the two districts.
The Country Director, who said the project employed the Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS), hygiene promotion and behaviour change communication strategies, indicated that as part of the project package, 173 new gender-sensitive and disability friendly latrines, would be constructed while 68 others would be rehabilitated in 123 schools and 28 Community Health Planning Services (CHPS) Compounds in the two Areas.
“In addition, about 85 boreholes fitted with hand pumps are also being provided to communities, schools and health facilities in the two districts. This is to ensure that children and health seekers have access to improved Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities at schools and health centres”.
Dr Christopher Boatbil, the Talensi District Chief Executive (DCE) expressed gratitude to CRS for the support over the years and pledged the Assembly’s commitment to ensure that the project succeeded.
He said the support from CRS would ensure that the country achieved its sustainable development agenda and improve on livelihoods among the people while preventing water and sanitation related diseases.
As part of the celebration, a borehole was constructed and commissioned for the pupils of the Salvation Army Basic School in Tongo, while indigenes were trained on borehole repairs and later inaugurated the Area Mechanics Network.
World Water Day being celebrated on March 22 each year, focuses on water as a fundamental human need and the importance of managing the limited water resources to improve on lives.