Water and sanitation journalists open Ashanti Region branch

The Ghana Watsan Journalists Network (GWJN), a grouping of journalists with interest in and focus on water, sanitation and hygiene issues, has inaugurated its Ashanti Region branch in the capital city of Kumasi.

The over 25-member branch was inaugurated by GWJN’s Deputy National Coordinator, Edmund Smith-Asante, Friday, September 21, 2012, after a two-day training workshop organised jointly by Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP), WaterAid in Ghana (WAG) and the GWJN.

Prior to the inauguration, the Ashanti Region GWJN members elected into office for a two-year term, a five-member executive committee.

The newly elected executives are Ibrahim Abubakar, TV3 – Regional Coordinator ; Joseph Kyei-Boateng, Daily Graphic – Deputy Regional Coordinator; Matilda Afrane, Light FM -Regional Secretary; – Gifty Amofa, GNA – Regional Treasurer and Gideon Duodu, Daily Democrat – Regional Organiser.

All the executives except the Regional Organiser, were elected unopposed by an overwhelming majority. The organiser position was keenly contested by three members and went into a run-off, since no one obtained the 50% plus required.

Speaking on behalf of the executives in their acceptance speech, Ibrahim Abubakar thanked the membership for the confidence reposed in them and pledged dedication to the cause for which they have been elected.

One of the three main objectives of the workshop was the introduction of participants to some WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) sector policies and strategies such as the 2010 Ghana SWA (sanitation and water for all) compact, the 2012 Ghana Renewed commitment to SWA and the Revised Environmental Sanitation Policy.

The others were discussions on advocacy opportunities for engagement with government ministers, policy and decision makers at all levels and ways to strengthen the Ashanti Region branch of the GWJN.

Taking participants through Ghana’s 2010 SWA Compact as well as its renewed commitments at this year’s High Level Meeting in Washington D.C., Mr. Ibrahim Musah, Head of Policy and Partnerships (HOPP), WaterAid in Ghana, urged them to become abreast with the contents of the two documents and others so they could effectively engage policy and decision makers.

Edmund Smith-Asante, Deputy National Coordinator, GWJN, also took the journalists from various media houses in Kumasi through the start of the network, what it has been able to accomplish since its inauguration in 2009 as well as its future plans, and urged them to be worthy WASH advocates.

He also stressed on the need for them to make use of  the internet through blogs and the network’s website, by writing good stories that could be posted on them and further take advantage of social media sites like facebook and twitter among others to advance WASH issues.

Facilitation of the workshop was done by Ms. Ida Coleman, stand-in Communications and Campaigns Officer, WaterAid in Ghana, who commended the enthusiasm and participation of the journalists during the two-day workshop.

Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP), is a programme supported by United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

It is an innovation that brings local and global expertise to deliver water and sanitation services to the urban poor, with CARE and Water Aid as partners in Ghana.

Under the WSUP is the Oforikrom Water and Sanitation (OWAS) project, which offers an opportunity for the media to learn at firsthand, some interventions and approaches being used by development partners and Government of Ghana to arrest the appalling water and sanitation situation in the country.

By Edmund Smith-Asante

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