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Regional News of Thursday, 9 August 2007

Source: GNA

Zabon Zongo community water and sanitation project launched

Accra, Aug. 9, GNA - Mrs. Theresa Amerley Tagoe, Deputy Greater Accra Minister, on Wednesday launched the second phase of the Water for African Cities Upgrading Project for the Zabon Zongo in Accra with a total budget of about 1.610 million dollars.

Out of the amount, the United Nations Habitat Programme is providing 1.326 million dollars from the UN Habitat Water and Sanitation Trust Fund whilst the government would contribute 284,600 dollars.

The project has seven components, including increase access to sanitation services, increasing access to good drinking water at affordable cost, water demand management, human values-based water sanitation and hygiene education, advocacy and awareness creation and urban catchments management.

The Water for Africa Cities Project is an initiative by UN Habitat to support local and national governments and their water crises and protect the continent's water resources and aquatic ecosystem from the increasing volume of land-based pollution from the cities.

The fist phase of the Project was undertaken from 1999 to 2002. Mrs Tagoe said the project was meant to strengthen communities' ability to deal with their own water and sanitation problems. This included engaging communities in the initiation, implementation and management of their own water and sanitation infrastructure.

Mrs Tagoe said improving access to potable water and sanitation was critical to achieving favourable health outcomes, which in turn facilitated economic growth and sustained poverty reduction.

She said government, as part of its strategy to accelerate the provision of water to urban settlements, was working at improving the distribution of networks to low income consumers, assess the lifeline tariff for poor urban households, provide standpipes for the poor and to some extent engage the communities in the operation and management of facilities installed within their locality through the involvement of water-user groups.

She said the installation of water supply and sanitation system to be owned and managed by the community or households meant that beneficiaries would have the opportunity to optimize hygiene practice through having access to increased water supply and improved sanitation. Mrs. Victoria Abankwa, Habitat Programme Manager, said in the quest to mainstream gender in the second phase of Water for Africa Cities Project, there was an urgent need for the participating cities to conduct a rapid gender assessment to clarify and increase understanding of the specific gender issues on the urban water and sanitation sector. She appealed to the committee to take ownership of the project and understand that they would have to make contributions in kind towards realization of the goals.

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