West Africa water and sanitation journalists network elects new executives

WASHThe West Africa water, sanitation and hygiene journalists network, WASH-JN, has elected into office, a five-member executive committee, to oversee activities of the network for the next two years.

They are Alain Tossounon (Benin) – Coordinator, Edmund Smith-Asante (Ghana) – General Secretary, Aminata Sangaré (Guinea) – Treasurer, Ousman Dambadji (Niger) – Focal Person for Partnerships and Fundraising and Paule Kadja Traoré (Senegal) – Focal Person for Information and Communication.

At the end of a three-day Annual General Meeting of the network held in Dakar, Senegal from April 8, to April 10, 2013, the 26 delegates from 13 countries elected the new officers in a very keenly contested exercise.

However, officers for the General Secretary, Treasurer and Focal Person for Information and Communication positions were elected unopposed.

Two delegates – Beattee Forkpabio from Liberia and Ousman Dambadji, Niger, on the other hand, slugged it out for the Partnerships and Fundraising slot, with Ousman emerging winner after ballots were cast and counted.

Ousman garnered 19 votes, Beattee 6, while one ballot was declared spoilt.

The real drama began when it was time to vote for the Regional Coordinator position, with five delegates declaring their intention to contest. These were Koffi Agbenyo Ankou – Guinea, Alain Tossounon – Benin, Koami Francois Amegnignon – Togo, Mideh Kanzeheli Rosine – Cote d’Ivoire and Eddy Patrick Donkeng Dongmo – Cameroon.

Before voting got underway however, three of the candidates withdrew from the contest, leaving Eddy Patrick Donkeng Dongmo – Cameroon and Alain Tossounon – Benin to contest for the slot.

After a closely fought contest, Alain emerged victorious with 13 votes, while Eddy had 10 votes. Two ballots were declared spoilt, while there was one abstention.

The former six-man executive comprised Racine Kane – Senegal, as Coordinator, Babatope Ebenezer Babalobi – Nigeria, General Secretary, Makeba Tchibozo Komlan – Benin, Treasurer, Emelia Ennin Abbey – Ghana, Focal Person for Water, Koami Francois Amegnignon – Togo, Focal Person for Sanitation and Daouda Traore – Niger, Focal Person for Partnerships and Fundraising.

WASH-JN was for formed in 2010 after an inception meeting in Bamako, Mali. The first Annual General Meeting of the network was held in Accra, Ghana, in 2011, at which Ghana was made the headquarters.

The second AGM was held in Monrovia, Liberia in 2012, while Dakar, Senegal hosted the third. The network currently has 13 national water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) networks as members from Ghana, Senegal, Nigeria, Niger, Mali, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Benin, Liberia, Togo, Cote d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone with Cameroon as an adopted network.

Countries in the sub region which are yet to join the network are Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gambia and Mauritania.

Currently, the main partners of the network who also facilitated its formation are WaterAid WestAfrica (WAWA) which currently has its office in Dakar, Senegal and Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) headquartered in Switzerland.

By Edmund Smith-Asante

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