Australia leading the change for women in Ghana

An Australian-funded scheme is saving and transforming lives in Akuapem North District, Eastern Region, and in Shai Osu Doku District and Ablekuma Sub-Metro, Greater Accra Region.

With funding from the Australian Government, WaterAid has provided more than 7,000 people access to safe and sustainable water, appropriate sanitation and safer hygiene practices.

“Supporting vulnerable communities in Ghana to access safe drinking water in a hygienic environment has been a lifeline, particularly for women and children”, said Graeme Dickson, Acting Australian High Commissioner to Ghana.

He observed that, the success stories shared through the Australian funded project show that communities are more able to drive their own development when they receive the appropriate tools, such as those provided through WaterAid.

Australia’s support through WaterAid promotes an enabling environment so that people from marginalised communities, particularly women, children and people with disability have better access to water, sanitation and hygiene services and greater influence and engagement with decision-makers.

In Ablekuma Sub-Metro, Shai Osu Doku and Akuapem North Districts, the construction of rain water harvesting systems, iron removal plants, and water kiosks has increased access to safe and clean water for more than 6,000 people. Over 1,000 children have benefitted with access to sanitation through the provision of institutional latrines at selected schools. The capacity of school children has also been strengthened through the school-based hygiene promotion activities, where school hygiene clubs are formed to provide peer learning among school children.

“Initially we found it very difficult to get to potable and reliable source of water. We had to walk for miles before getting water to bath, which often made us late for school and we were sometimes punished by teachers without them having the slightest idea of how we managed to get water to bath to school. But there was a relief when we got the borehole and a rain harvesting tank by which we are able to store rain water to supply the community as well,” says Beatrice Munyo, a pupil in Okyerekrom village. “People have toilet in their homes now and good sanitation. We are now free from a lot of sickness”.

Through the Endogenous Development (ED) approach, women from marginalised communities have also been empowered to identify and demand their rights as well as actively participate in development activities and contribute to community life. The ED approach has led to the installation of a queen mother and a youth leader in a new intervention community, Tadankro.

The installation of a queen mother is very important because it demonstrates that women have the recognition of a community level institution that they control. The increasing recognition of queen mothers and female chiefs suggest that women are gradually gaining the respect and power to influence policy changes and practices at the communities and districts. 

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