Tag Archives: Ghana

Scientist to Turn Human Waste Into Fertiliser

Ghana – Scientist Wins Support for Plan to Turn Human Waste Into Fertiliser

Accra — A female Ghanaian scientist is one of four researchers from developing countries who received US$100,000 each to pursue their dream ideas for solving global health problems.

Olufunke Cofie, a soil scientist at the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research‘s Challenge Program on Water and Food will develop fertiliser pellets from treated human waste to boost agricultural productivity and improve sanitation.

She is one of the latest 88 winners in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation‘s Grand Challenges in Global Health programme, funded through the Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) initiative, which include scientists from Ecuador, Ghana, Kenya and the Philippines.

“Recycling readily available excrement has the potential to both reduce the environmental pollution burden and prolong the lifespan of [waste] treatment plants, while also significantly improving soil productivity,” Cofie told SciDev.Net.

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Cholera epidemic kills 60 in Ghana

WHO says prevention must be stepped up;  Four regions hit, Accra the worst affected

ACCRA, March 18 (Reuters) – A cholera epidemic in Ghana has killed 60 people and infected almost 4,000 since the first cases emerged last September, with 482 new cases reported this week alone, health authorities said on Friday.
The outbreak, which started in centre of the West African country and spread to four regions, has hit the capital Accra the worst, said Joseph Amankwah of the Ghana Health Service.

“This is a major outbreak. It’s a major concern,” he told Reuters by telephone. “Cases are on the increase. … We need to address the risk factors aggressively.”
Ghana has seen outbreaks of the disease roughly every five years since the 1970s, Amankwah said, adding that he believed the origin of the outbreak may be contaminated water sources following flooding last year.

Cholera is a bacterial disease spread by contaminated water and food. If caught early can be easily treated by oral rehydration fluids. If not treated, it can kill in hours.
“I wouldn’t say it’s out of control but it’s alarming so we need to step up preventive efforts,” said Sally Ohene from the World Health Organisation.
The disease has been reported in the Greater Accra, Central, Eastern and Upper Eastern regions.

Source

WSUP water & sanitation project in Kumasi

 Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP), an innovative organisation that brings local and global expertise to deliver water and sanitation services to the urban poor, has interacted with the media in Kumasi, as part of moves to solicit ideas towards solving the problem of water and sanitation in the country.

The project, dubbed the Oforikrom Water and Sanitation (OWAS) project, offers an opportunity for the media to learn at firsthand, some interventions and approaches being used by development partners and Government of Ghana to arrest the appalling water and sanitation situation in the country.

According to the Project Manager, Mr. Issaka Balima Musah, the project was under the African Cities for the Future Project, with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

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Ghana: first National Environmental Sanitation Conference takes place in Kumasi

The government should set up a revolving fund for Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) initiatives, in collaboration with Micro-Finance Institutions (MFIs) and local government. This was one of the recommendations from Ghana’s first National Environmental Sanitation Conference (NESCON).

The conference was held in Kumasi from 8-10 December in Kumasi, Ashanti Region. The theme was “building partnerships for scaling up improved environmental sanitation services”, covering both solid waste management and household sanitation.

The conference presented, among others, highlights of the Environmental Sanitation Policy (Revised 2010), the National Environmental Sanitation Strategy and Action Plan (NESSAP) and the Strategic Environmental Sanitation Investment Plan (SESIP) and District Environmental Sanitation Strategy and Action Plans (DESSAPs).

NESCON 2010 was organised by the Environmental Health and Sanitation Directorate (EHSD) of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) in partnership with Development Partners (DPs), Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs), Private Operators and others.

Read the concluding statement and recommendations and all presentations.

Source: Abu Wambei, RCN Ghana, 18 Dec 2010

WASHCost reveals higher capital costs for sanitation than water, and high expenditure on soap

WASHCost logoMost sanitation costs in rural and peri-urban areas are borne by households and when these are taken into account, the per capita costs are actually higher than those for water. State expenditure on capital maintenance, operation and maintenance, and direct and indirect support costs for sanitation is minimal in all four research countries of the WASHCost project. Households in Africa are spending surprisingly high amounts on soap. These are some of the findings that were presented at the IRC Symposium in The Hague on 16-18 November 2010.

The WASHCost project is working with partners in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mozambique and in the Indian State of Andhra Pradesh to collect and analyse cost data for water and sanitation services in rural and peri-urban areas. The overall aim is to build better cost data into country systems to increase the quality of services, especially targeting issues of poverty, equity and cost-effectiveness.

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Innovation challenge on low-income urban sanitation


Open innovation platform OpenIDEO, in partnership with Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) and Unilever, has launched a challenge to address urban sanitation issues through the design of latrines and waste management services.

The OpenIDEO challenge is running in parallel with an on-the-ground IDEO team working in Kumasi, Ghana, who will be addressing the same issues. This is the first time that IDEO has used the OpenIDEO platform in conjunction with a traditional project structure.

The OpenIDEO process starts with Inspiration, moves to Concepting and ends with Evaluation. The two month long challenge began on 17 November 2010 and ends on 6 January 2011 when the winners will be announced. So far nearly 70 inspirational ideas have been posted ranging from Oxfam’s manual desludging pump for septic tanks to the X-Runner module squat toilets, and from artwork to make toilets more appealing for children to the “No toilet, No Bride” campaign in India.

The “most applauded” idea at the moment is BioCentre concept implemented in Kenya.

Read the full challenge brief and start adding your own inspirations on the OpenIDEO web site.

Vacancy: Post Doctoral Fellow Microeconomics of Sanitation and Wastewater Reuse in Agriculture, IWMI, Ghana (with some travel) [deadline 30 September]

If you have recently completed your PhD in economics or sanitation but have sound understanding of both, then this could be just the assignment for you. The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) seeks the right person to analyze problems relating to human waste, as used in agriculture, then form policy recommendations to enhance livelihoods in the rural/urban interface.

Requirements include:

  • A recent PhD in agricultural or natural resources or environmental economics or environmental or civil engineering and
  • A good understanding of agriculture and microeconomics
  • Knowledge of sanitation challenges in developing countries: solid waste, fecal sludge and wastewater management (with on-site sanitation systems)
  • Excellent written and spoken English

Read the full job description and application details

Online application form

Complete Application Form + attach résumé + attach letter which addresses IWMI’s requirements listed in job description with names and email addresses of 3 professional referees, to be contacted if you are short-listed

Contact: work-at-iwmi@cgiar.org

Application deadline: 30 September 2010

Please do send requests for information or applications to Sanitation Updares

Ghana – National WASH Conference to focus on climate change

Ghana’s 21st National WASH Stakeholders Conference dubbed Mole Conference, comes off in Accra on Tuesday on the theme, “Global Climate Change: A Challenge For The WASH Sector in Ghana.”

According to the Coalition of NGOs in the Water and Sanitation Sector (CONIWAS), the Mole XXI Conference, which will be held from July 20, 2010 to July 23, 2010, is focusing on Climate Change because it is becoming increasingly clear that the phenomenon poses a dire threat to the realisation of a world of hope, tolerance and social justice, where improved water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), help the poor and vulnerable to live in dignity.

“The poor people that CONIWAS seek to serve are already experiencing the impact of climate change in their day –to- day lives. As a result of climate change greater numbers of people lack access to adequate and safe water, health threats are increasing, more people are suffering from hunger, productivity in natural resource based livelihoods is declining and poor people are getting poorer,” a paper prepared by the planning committee of the conference and CONIWAS secretariat stated.

The coalition deduced that the poor in Ghana, as in the rest of Africa, are especially vulnerable to climate change, due to the range of negative impacts they must deal with, the sensitivity of most livelihoods to climatic changes, and people’s low adaptive capacity.

“The impacts of climate on the WASH sector in Ghana have become more apparent in the past five years than ever. Many communities are observing a drastic decrease in the yields of water facilities (boreholes and wells), many wells that previously provided sufficient water to communities are drying up, and reservoirs for urban water supply are under increasing threat of drying up with severe consequences on water supply, sanitation and hygiene,” the NGOs stressed.

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Research project on safe wastewater reuse for urban poor concludes

The WHO/IDRC/FAO research project on non-treatment options for safe wastewater use in poor urban communities was concluded on 30 April 2010. The report of the final workshop in Amman, Jordan (7-10 March 2010) has now been published.

The objective of the project was to test the applicability of the third edition of the WHO Guidelines for the Safe Use of Wastewater, Excreta and Greywater in Agriculture and Aquaculture (WHO, 2006). For this purpose the following four field studies were conducted:

  • Ghana Kumasi: Evaluation of non-treatment options for maximizing public health benefits of WHO guidelines governing the use of wastewater in urban vegetable production in Ghana.
  • Ghana/Tamale: Minimizing health risks from using excreta and grey water by poor urban and peri-urban farmers in the Tamale municipality, Ghana.
  • Jordan: Safe use of greywater for agriculture in Jerash Refugee Camp: focus on technical, institutional and managerial aspects of non-treatment options.
  • Senegal: Proposition d’étude en vue de l’intégration et de l’application des normes de la réutilization des eaux usées et excréta dans l’agriculture.

The research team is now working on the final product, a Guidance Document/Manual for Sanitation Safety Plans to assist national and municipal authorities and other users of the WHO guidelines in their application.

During the 2010 Stockholm Water Week, WHO will launch the second edition of the information kit for the WHO safe use of wastewater guidelines (Sunday 5 September 17:45-18:45).

Project documents and the 2006 WHO guidelines are available on the WHO web page on Safe use of wastewater, excreta and greywater.

CNN – Ghana bags a handy new way to tackle plastic waste

London, England (CNN) — In Ghana’s capital, Accra, the streets are choked with trash and littered with plastic waste that blocks gutters and clogs storm drains.

Drinking water comes in sachets that cost a few cents. Cheap and convenient, they are sold in shops and by street hawkers. But once they have been drunk they are often simply dropped on the ground.

When British entrepreneur Stuart Gold saw Accra’s plastic problem he recognized an opportunity for a business venture — an NGO that could clean up the streets and create jobs in the community.

His idea was to collect discarded sachets, clean them up and stitch them together to make brightly colored, fashionable bags.

Two-and-a-half years later, Trashy Bags makes around 250 items a week and produces 350 different designs of bags, wallets and raincoats.

And crucially, its network of collectors has gathered some 15 million plastic sachets that might otherwise be on the streets of Accra.

“One of the problems in Ghana is the amount of plastic littering the streets,” Gold told CNN. “There isn’t a proper way of collecting waste and people aren’t educated as to the problems of plastic waste.

“The pure-water sachet is ubiquitous. When anyone wants water they can’t drink tap water so they buy these sachets, even for their home.

“Once they’ve drunk the water they drop it in the street. You can see people drop them from their cars,” he said.

Gold said that while waste collection is slowly improving in Accra, recycling is still in its infancy and landfills are inadequate.

Plastic dumped in the streets ends up blocking drains, which Gold said can cause seasonal flooding. Other waste makes it into the sea, with unsightly tangles of plastic bags washing up on the beaches to the east of Accra, he said.

Trashy Bags encourages people to bring them empty sachets, paying about 20 cents for each kilogram of water sachets (about 100 sachets) they deliver. It pays more for ice cream, fruit drink and yogurt sachets, which are harder to come by.

The sachets are sorted, hand washed, disinfected and dried in the sun, before being flattened by hand and stitched into sheets.

The sheets are then cut according to templates and assembled as finished bags, wallets and even rain jackets.

It’s a labor-intensive process that means Trashy Bags products are more expensive than mass-produced items, according to Gold.

Prices range from $1 for a wallet to $26 for sports bags and Gold said most of his products are bought by expats and tourists, or exported to countries including Japan, Germany and Denmark.

But he added that Trashy Bag’s reusable shopping bag, which costs about $4.30, is proving a hit with Ghanaians.

And the labor-intensive manufacture does mean jobs for locals. Trashy Bags currently employs 60 Ghanaians in its workshops and around 100 others collect sachets for the company

“For lots of people collecting sachets is their whole livelihood,” said Gold.

“One woman makes more money than any of our actual workers. She organizes other women to collect and she pays them and she brings the sachets in.”

The result, said Gold, is that instead of discarding sachets, some people are keeping them and selling them on to collectors.

He acknowledged that Trashy Bags’ efforts are only a drop in the ocean of waste, and that despite his goal of turning the NGO into a self-sustaining venture it is struggling to break even.

But he said an important part of the project is education. Whereas a number of clothing companies around the world use materials made from recycled plastic, Trashy Bags are visibly made from the original plastic packaging.

“We don’t melt it down, so it’s very obvious it’s made from recycled plastic trash. So, the Ghanaians love them, and they do appreciate the solution because it’s very graphic,” said Gold.

There are similar projects to Trashy Bags in other countries. “Bazura Bags” in the Philippines makes bags from offcuts left over by packaging companies, India’s “Thunk in India,” makes all kinds of recycled products, including pencil cases made from fruit juice cartons, and “Terracycle” in the United States makes a range of items, including backpacks made from cookie wrappers.

It’s a sign that attitudes to waste are changing around the world. And in Ghana too. The government has acknowledged there is a problem with plastic waste and has even talked about banning plastic.

While a ban may be unrealistic, the fact it has been considered is a sign the environment is a growing concern in the country.

“People in West Africa don’t take the environment particularly seriously, but more and more in Ghana they do,” said Gold.

“They are gradually seeing there are problems other than just disease, and [polluting] the environment is one of them.”

Source – CNN, June 1, 2010