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Involve communities in development planning processes - WaterAid

BY: Vincent Amenuveve
 Mr George Yorke addressing the community members
Mr George Yorke addressing the community members

The Head of Policy, Advocacy and Campaigns of WaterAid, Ghana, Mr George Yorke, has called on district assemblies to regularly involve communities in development planning processes in their respective areas.

He observed that the engagement of communities at various stages of planning would ensure accountability, transparency and the execution of projects to meet the development needs of beneficiary communities.

Mr Yorke made the call in an interview with the Daily Graphic at separate accountability fora at Paga in the Kassena Nankana West District and Bongo, all in the Upper East Region.

It was aimed at promoting interactions between officials of district assemblies and community advocacy groups established by WaterAid, an international non-governmental organisation, under its Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) for Public Health initiative to empower the groups to demand for their rights.

The programme is being funded by Global Affairs of Canada, an international development and humanitarian agency.

Rationale

According to Mr Yorke, most MMDAs do not involve beneficiary communities in the planning stages of projects and programmes, and the situation had often led to the execution of projects that did not meet the aspirations and needs of the people.

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He, therefore, said it was as a result of such challenges that WaterAid and its partners decided to organise the programme to, among others, ensure that the people were not only made aware of development projects going on in their communities but also demand accountability from duty bearers.

This, Mr Yorke said, would further ensure that the beneficiary communities were empowered to make inputs into whatever decisions were being made on their behalf by duty bearers.

He equally entreated communities to follow up on issues they put before their respective district assemblies for redress.

According to Mr York, waterAid had been operating in 21 communities in the Kassena Nankana West district over the last four years towards ensuring that beneficiary communities had access to potable water and improved sanitation by 2030 as enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goal Six by the United Nations.

Interventions

The District Chief Executive of Kassena Nankana West, Mr Gerard Ataogye, said about nine dams were to be constructed in the area under the first phase of the government’s one-village-one-dam policy.

He assured the people of the determination by the assembly to execute projects that would help make life comfortable for them.

For her part, the Kassena Nankana West District Director of Education, Madam Victoria Aganalie, also entreated WaterAid to help build the capacities of teachers to enable them train school pupils on WASH activities, particularly on personal hygiene and sanitation issues.

Commendation

At Paga, the people expressed appreciation to their benefactors for the support offered them over the years.

They, however, complained about the unavailability of electricity, potable water, good roads, health centres and farm inputs, particularly tractor services, including the lack of dams or irrigation facilities for all season farming.