WASH in emergencies workshop opens in Dodowa

Some participants.

Natural and man-made disasters occur everywhere in the world and bring about emergencies that need to be tackled to save humanity from untoward sufferings and deaths as a result of inadequate access to water, sanitation and hygiene services.

It is as a result of this that a four-day WASH in Emergencies workshop (WinE) organised by the Ministry of Water Resources Works and Housing, in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, has opened in Dodowa, the Dangme West District capital.

The training workshop for national level staff, is being held with support from the United Nations agency UNICEF, from December 3, 2012 to December 6, 2012.

According to the organisers, the training is to enable participants understand and be able to explain key elements for WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) in emergencies.

It will also afford the over 20 participants drawn from 15 organisations such as the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), NGOs in Water and Sanitation, Ghana Health Service (GHS), Ghana Education Service (GES), UNICEF and the two organising ministries among others, the ability to identify links between regular WASH programme, emergency preparedness and response, risk reduction and early recovery.

The training, which also includes participants from Ghana Urban Water Limited (GUWL) and Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA), is further aimed at enabling participants recognise and explain the implications of cluster approach on WASH programming for emergencies.

“We want to build capacity in terms of emergency. This is the first ever training we are organising for national level players and we will follow it up with the help of UNICEF at the regional levels,” Mr. Enoch Ofosu, Water Resources Engineer (Specialist), Water Directorate and representative of the Water Resources, Works and Housing Ministry, stated.

“Whenever there are emergencies such as earthquakes, like during refugee situations, like floods and other such occurrences, water and sanitation services are needed whenever there is cholera outbreak, which in itself is a WASH-related disaster – within such emergency, there is need for  water and sanitation services.

“So all what we do that pertains to sanitation, water and hygiene during emergencies, is what we call WASH in emergencies,” Enoch Ofosu explained during an interview.

He continued that as water, sanitation and hygiene services are very essential, their absence during emergencies might exacerbate the situation, hence the importance attached to the training.

Touching on what informed the training, Jazy Souleymane, the UNICEF consultant and sole resource person for the training, told participants that it was as a result of Ghana’s lessons from recent flood events and cholera outbreaks from 2007 to 2010.

Those occurrences suggest that specialised capacity for effective WASH planning and response coordination and implementation during emergencies, needs to be further enhanced, both at the national and regional levels, the UNICEF consultant added.

Saying this will provide direction for more effective response at the district levels, he noted that it is thus pertinent to improve WASH in Emergency (WinE) capacity in emergency preparedness and response planning, emergency assessments and appraisal methodologies, response coordination, WinE information management and monitoring and evaluation.

From Edmund Smith-Asante, Dodowa

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