By: WASH R&E “Media” Network – As part of efforts to further strengthen its advocacy capacity and that of partners, WaterAid West Africa has concluded a 5-Day Sanitation Advocacy Workshop in the Ghanaian capital, Accra.
The exercise from August 29 to September 2, 2016 was also the final Sanitation Advocacy Meeting for the Gates Foundation Project.
In line with this WaterAid West Africa Region brought togather selected staff and partners to contribute towards building momentum and gathering of evidence for effective influencing on sanitation in the sub-region.
About 20 participants were drawn from Mali, Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Niger, Burkina Faso, Benin and Ghana.
This training was facilitated by the Regional Advocacy Manager of WaterAid West Africa and supported by the Regional Support Officer and Regional Technical Adviser.
Participants included WaterAid staff working on Sanitation Advocacy, partners working on sanitation and selected WASH Journalists Network Members from Liberia and Benin.
The Workshop among other things focused on Sanitation Approaches, and looked at the second phase of the Project which will start in October 2016.
The Chief facilitator, WaterAid Advocacy Manager for West Africa, Apollos Nwafor said the Workshop was intended to look at the sanitation crisis in West Africa.
He said, though none of the West African countries met the Sanitation Target under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), but now there’s Goal Six on Water and Sanitation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it’s important that African governments do not make the same mistakes under the MDGs era.
“So what we want to look at is the unfinished goals to tackle the sanitation crisis facing the Region, and by extension the whole of Africa for the next 15 years”, Mr. Nwafor told WASH R&E at the close of the Workshop on Friday.
He said the Workshop also looked at what the Region will be doing regarding Sanitation Advocacy in the next 3 to 5 years to address the problems and make progress in sanitation.
He also said, one of the things looked at during the 5-Day Sanitation Advocacy Workshop was understanding the sanitation problem, in what ways it manifests itself and its impact on the poorest and excluded and how tackling it will also tackle the challenges of economic growth in the respective countries.
“what we did in the last five days was to look at a pathway using the Media and other Accountability Platforms, but also looking at modules, approaches and technologies that will favor the poorest and excluded and that are cost effective so that governments and institutions can replicate and improve access to sanitation for the poorest and most marginalized” Apollos stressed.
He said at the close of the Workshop, they were able to come up with clear plans to help WaterAid to support efforts of governments to work with communities and marginalized groups to address the sanitation crisis.
Mr. Nwafor named some of the outcomes of the Sanitation Advocacy Workshop as Doing an assessment of who is left behind, Strengthening the Regional WASH Journalists Network to ensure the media will continue to put pressure on governments to address the sanitation crisis.
He said WaterAid will engage key government Ministries and Agencies in other sectors, including Health; ensuring sanitation is improving health outcomes like WASH in Health facilities going forward, biomedical waste and also looking at the urban sanitation crisis to help improve urban development, among others.
During the Workshop, participants also went on a Field Visit in three Groups to the Richard Akue Memorial School, Agbogbloshine Market and Usher Clinic in Ashiedu-Keteke Sub-Metro.
Participants described the Sanitation Advocacy Workshop as great and successful, and commanded WaterAid West Africa for another opportunity to increase their advocacy skills.