The deputy minister for environment, science and technology Hon. Mustapha Ahmed has said the time has come to put cultural barriers aside and call WASH concerns especially toilets as plain as they are. He made this statement at the launch of Water Sanitation and Hygiene Ambassadors (WASHA) by water aid in Ghana on 30th March 2012 in Accra. In recent years, WASHA has been an innovation by water aid in Ghana to bring on board some well known and respected personalities like footballers, musicians, actors/actress, traditional rulers etc to help champion the cause of access to quality water, sanitations and hygiene services in the country.
The minister said he was exceptionally glad as a special guest to the occasion and recounted the contribution of water aid in Ghana especially in his own constituency. He entreated landlords to put their profit interest away by providing toilets in their households rather than converting them to bedrooms. He in turn congratulated the ambassadors in their bid to help the poor and less privileged people in society.
Mrs Theodora Adomako Agyei, the extension services officer of the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) who also chaired the launch in her welcome address said, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene issues especially the 14% sanitation coverage has been considered a national shame that needs critical attention. She advised that even though the ambassadors are selected “we are all ambassadors to the sector”.
The Country Representative of water aid in Ghana, Dr. Afia Zakia in her speech said, she is humbled that on such a great day, the ambassadors, as part of their routine activities, have decided to join water aid and the WASH sector on the cause to fight WASH poverty in Ghana.
The Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Ambassadors for this year includes Ben Brako and Mimi both musicians, Shamima Muslim and Bola Ray both radio/TV presenters, Akofa Edjeani Asiedu a seasoned actress, Ajara Mohammed, a Paralympic with a lot of energy and Nana Nketsia V, Paramount Chief of Essikado traditional area in the Central region of Ghana. Mr. Ben Brako who spoke on behalf of all the ambassadors said they are very happy with the honor done them and are humbled by their appointments. He advise sector stakeholder to use all recourses properly to ensure that those who really need access to quality WASH services are reached. He said even though they will seek to raise funds in diverse means possible, it should be noted that charity begins at home.
The colorful launch was well attended by traditional rulers like Nii Kpobi Tsuru, the paramount chief of La and sector stakeholders, who gave welcome and congratulatory messages to the ambassadors and pledged undying supports to them. The event had a rich touch of cultural displays and ended with historic performance.
Ida Coleman -RCN Ghana.