Awutu Beraku (C/R), April 13, GNA – Municipal
and District Sanitation and Hygiene advocacy teams within the Awutu Senya East
Municipal Assembly (ASEMA) and the Awutu Senya District Assembly (ASDA) in the
Central Region have been given skills training to competently handle their
The Intervention Forum (IF), a Non-governmental Organisation, as part of its Voice for Change (V4C) partnership project organised the training for the participants to help improve sanitation and hygiene within the two administrative areas.
Mr. Felix Amakye, Lecturer at the Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS) in Accra, took the participants through the scope of work of Municipal and District Sanitation and Hygiene Advocacy Teams (M/DSSHAT) operating at the municipal and district community levels.
Mr. Amakye defined advocacy as actively supporting a cause and getting others to support it, as well as “speaking up, drawing attention to an important issue and directing decision-makers towards a solution”.
He touched on the purpose of advocacy, major areas of advocacy work such as leadership development; coalition building; networking; political lobbying; promoting legislative change; briefing the media; and counteracting opposition.
He therefore told the participants that their activities must be coordinated at the district levels by the Area and Zonal Council chairpersons, adding that they must be in constant communication with them on the issues they identified.
One important aspect of their work, he noted, was evidence and data gathering, saying they should identify sanitation and hygiene issues at the community level, collect evidence on existing situations and issues such as pictures, video interviews where these were available.
Touching on monitoring and follow-up activities, Mr. Amakye said tracking and reporting of changes or improvements at the community level and do follow-ups on issues presented to the assembly or Area and Zonal Councils for updates on work done so far.
The lecturer called on them to identify all sanitation stakeholders such as chiefs and elders, landlords/landladies, churches and mosques, market women, hawkers, community members and Area and Zonal Councils.
He also identified others such as Unit Committees, Assembly Members, health workers, women’s groups and politicians and non-governmental organizations, school heads; drivers’ unions; and Zongo chiefs whose understanding of issues could drive their sanitation and hygiene issues home.
During an open forum, the participants said they were sometimes confronted by people who demanded identity cards for their work, and urged IF officials to get them some form of identity to authenticate their true presence.
Officials of IF seemed to have granted them this wish when presented each member of the teams with a La Cost T-shirts bearing the V4C insignia.
The V4C partnership project is an evidence-based advocacy programme being implemented by the Netherlands Development Programme in partnership with the International Food and Policy Research Institute, and funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
It aims at strengthening the capacity of local Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to generate reliable and relevant data/evidence to carry out evidence-based advocacy for sustainable improvements in key focus areas, namely Renewable Energy, Water, Sanitation &Hygiene (WASH), and Food Security and Nutrition.
The Ghana WASH component of the project is dubbed; Ghana Sanitation and Hygiene for All (SH4ALL) directed at intensifying the voice of CSOs and citizenry to demand more equitable, affordable and sustainable sanitation and hygiene services and improved policy implementation at the district level.
The project is targeting an array of actors, including ASEMA and ASDA, traditional authorities, waste management companies, microfinance institutions and banks, Community-Based Organizations, communities, assembly members and unit committees, and the media.