Bangladesh water and sanitation sector leads the way for Ghana mission
Dhaka 5 June, 2007: A high level government learning mission from Ghana has ended successfully after 10 days in Bangladesh. The 11 member mission from the West African country spent more than a week viewing best practices in the water and sanitation sector.
The learning mission included 10 members of the Ghananian government as well as a UNICEF project office from Ghana. The mission was keen to learn how Bangladesh addresses the issue of sanitation through programmes such as the Government of Bangladesh/UNICEF/DFID Sanitation/Hygiene Education and Water Supply (SHEWA-B) project. Until recently the emphasis in Ghana had been on the issue of access to safe water and now the emphasis is changing to look at sanitation options.
"Bangladesh has done well in a short period of time to increase their sanitation so we wanted to study the system and use their experience in water and sanitation to help develop programmes in Ghana," said Ghana's Deputy Regional Minister, Hon. Osei Assibey Antwi.
Bangladesh is recognized as a country that has the political will and commitment to improve the water and sanitation sector, a good track record of progress. From 1971 to 2004, the numbers of children under five who died annually from diarrhoea in Bangladesh decreased by 86 per cent.
"There is a political commitment towards sanitation in Bangladesh and this has been translated into a National Strategy. Ghana doesn't have a National Strategy so this one area we can work on," said Theodora Adomako-Adjei from the Community Water and Sanitation Agency.
During its visit, the mission had an opportunity to interact with different stake holders at different levels in one of the districts in Bangladesh. The group was particularly impressed with the level of discussion at courtyard meetings on sanitation and discussions by adolescent girls on menstrual hygiene.
"When we met with the adolescent girls and children we could see that they own the training and practicing the hygiene behaviours we want. Bangladesh's programmes are targeted at the poor and this is essential," said UNICEF Project Officer, Fostor Kojo Soley.
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