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Opinions of Wednesday, 22 March 2006

Columnist: Sam, Leo R.

Let's all follow the progress of "The Tamale Water Project"

Water is a SACRED GIFT. May all Ghanaians have access to CLEAN SAFE WATER in the near future!!!

It is extremely stressful and painful to live in an environment without easy access to a source of safe clean water.

For the past three years The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace has been involved in the problem of providing safe and clean water for all humanity especially the poor, powerless and disadvantaged individuals in developing countries.

It is a fact that in many cities in the developing countries, access to water is sometimes difficult even in the affluent communities. Accra, the capital city of Ghana is no exception. Frequent disruptions in water services to households are now accepted as normal.

If you want to know more about the importance of providing safe water for all human beings then you should know something about RYAN'S WELL FOUNDATION.

" At the age of six, Ryan Hreljac learned that without access to clean water people become ILL and sometimes even DIE. He set out to raise $70 towards building a well in AFRICA and having reached his goal in four months, Ryan kept working and organizing. He has now raised over $1,000,000 and his work has helped to change the lives of thousands of people in AFRICA who might not otherwise have been able to lead healthy, normal lives. Ryan's Well Foundation has come together to continue this important and inspiring work." Visit the website: http:www.Ryanswell.org/

So far the Foundation has built 196 wells in 10 countries serving about 350,000 people.

Considering the facts above, one is bound to ask the following question: Is there any reason why the people of Tamale CANNOT be provided with safe clean water with a LOAN of more than 21 million Euros ?

According to GNA ( Thursday March 2, 2006 ) the GHANA MINISTRY OF FINANCE and the ING BANK OF THE NETHERLANDS signed a LOAN agreement of more than 21 million Euros to start the TAMALE WATER PROJECT.

The following individuals signed the agreement:

Mr. Kwadwo Baah Wiredu, Sector Minister ( for the Government of Ghana )

Mr. Ron Hansen, Mr. Arend Jan Van Zanten ( for ING Bank )

Mr. Ryan Murphy ( for Biwater )

Starting Date of Project : Immediately ( Presumably March 2, 2006 )

Tentative Completion Date : Not Indicated.

It is my intention to concentrate on the practical aspects of providing safe clean water for the inhabitants of Tamale. However, circumstances suggest that theoretical considerations cannot be ignored completely. After all it is a proven fact that: ". Theory guides but Experiments Decide."

At the moment, provision of safe clean water for Tamale is a DEVELOPMENT PROJECT. According to a respected Ghanaian Professor of Computer Information Systems ( Kweku Ewusi-Mensah ), a development project may be defined as ".a collection of interrelated activities undertaken in sequence and/or in parallel by some members or the stakeholder group with the objective of producing. some organizational requirements."

It is extremely important to set a tentative date for the completion for any project. This enables the stakeholders to play their part effectively according to an established schedule. Datelines are necessary. Whenever any difficulty occurs to interrupt the schedule, ALL stakeholders must be informed immediately. Steps taken to remove the difficulty must also be communicated to ALL stakeholders.

In the TAMALE WATER PROJECT, the stakeholders are:

1. The inhabitants of Tamale ( They should be prepared to pay for the Water Services. Cheating in any form should be avoided)

2. The Government of Ghana ( Should be prepared to supervise the project effectively and efficiently.

This demands TRANSPARENCY; ZERO TOLERANCE FOR CORRUPTION at the local,

National and international levels. Politicians should place the interest of citizens above personal

Gain. The slogan for Peace and Development should prevail: Life Before Profit.)

3. Civil Servants ( Should work DILIGENTLY to ensure the success of the project.)

4. All concerned Citizens of Ghana ( Note that taxpayers will eventually have to pay off the Loan )

5. The ING BANK of the Netherlands ( Note that Banks are in business to make profit. A reasonable rate of profit is acceptable.)

6. Biwater ( Presumably this is a Management Organization. )

The Public Relations Unit of the Ministry of Finance ( P R U M F ) published the starting date of the project. Hopefully, the same unit will keep us well informed about the progress of the project.

I intend to write OPEN LETTERS to PRUMF on the following dates:

1. September 2, 2006

2. March 2, 2007

3. September 2, 2007

The letter will simply ask for an update on the Progress of the Tamale Water Project. I am very optimistic about the success of this project. However, it is IMPERATIVE that all the stakeholders play their respective roles HONESTLY.

All readers are invited to LOOK OUT for the open letters which will be sent out every six months until the completion of the TAMALE WATER PROJECT.

The successful implementation of this project will place a BIG FEATHER in the hat of the government. It will surely serve as a model for future water services development projects in all parts of our beloved country. Too many places in Ghana are now complaining of WATER SHORTAGES.

God bless Ghana with the sacred life-giving gift of SAFE, CLEAN WATER. !!!

Leo R. Sam
Edmonton, Alberta Canada.


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