The 12-month project is focusing on enhanced water, sanitation, and hygiene infrastructure, infection prevention control, Improved community-based planning approaches as well as strengthened sexual and gender-based violence services
Accra – 3rd February 2021 – Today, the Representative of the President at the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources, Madam Cecilia Abena Dapaah, received His Excellency, the Ambassador of Denmark, Mr. Tom Nørring, the UNICEF Representative in Ghana, Madam Anne-Claire Dufay, and their teams to mark the launch of a partnership to support the national COVID-19 response by the Government of Ghana.
The DKK 35 million (or US$5.6 million) partnership is expected to complement and expand the scope of the overall sustainable recovery plans as set out by the Government of Ghana.
The 12-month project, which will concentrate on between six and eight low-income and high-density urban communities in two regions, Greater Accra and Ashanti, supports four main areas:
1. Increasing access to water, sanitation and hygiene through sustainable infrastructure and taking measures to prevent and control infections, including by positively influencing hygiene and health behaviors by vulnerable communities;
2. Supporting community-led engagement and planning approaches to better direct services, and promoting best practices to prevent the transmission of COVID-19;
3. Scaling up support to prevent and address sexual and gender-based violence, particularly through courts and judicial services; and
4. Encouraging the private sector participation in the reduction of potential vulnerabilities, including through the provision of low-cost sanitation.
The Representative of H.E. The President at the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources, Madam Cecilia Abena Dapaah, said, “As Ghana records, an increasing number of COVID-19 cases, resilient water sanitation, and hygiene facilities become even more essential as we seek to curtail the spread of the coronavirus and to achieve Ghana’s longer-term goals to be Open Defecation Free, and to provide potable water to all Ghanaians.
“The Government of Ghana is delighted to see the commencement of this 12-month UNICEF and Embassy of Denmark project, and the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources is looking forward to closing cooperation to realize our goals.
“On behalf of the Government of Ghana, I thank the Government of Denmark and UNICEF for this partnership and we look forward to working with you on this important project.”
The Ambassador of Denmark to Ghana, His Excellency, Mr Tom Nørring stated: “After almost 60 years of close cooperation between Ghana and Denmark it is important for Denmark and me personally as Ambassador to Ghana to show solidarity during these difficult times of the pandemic.
“Unfortunately, the needs to reduce the spreading are becoming even more evident, and it will be paramount to take all necessary steps to secure the health and livelihood of the people of Ghana.
“Strong community resilience and awareness, and improved access to water and sanitation has again proven to be crucial – not least in the large cities where people are working and living closely. This project that we are launching today aims at supporting and underpinning the tireless work done by the Government of Ghana to manage the pandemic by expanding water access and hygiene practices in deprived urban areas. This also demonstrates the already existing tight bonds with the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources. And we are, of course, very pleased to team up with UNICEF in these efforts as we do so in many other places in the world.
“From our side we will do our utmost to make this cooperation, but also our other partnerships in the area of water and wastewater management, a success. Building on many years of innovation and learnings, Denmark has strongholds in sustainable solutions and technologies in the water sector, and I really encourage and hope to see more public and private partnerships in the water sector.
“Finally, but not least, we all have an obligation to take even better care of the most vulnerable people, who fall victims to the underlying effects of the pandemic. Violence, in general, is unacceptable, but violence against children and women is simply cruelty against humanity, with long term consequences for the individual and their families. That is why the project also focuses on the establishment of more child-friendly gender-based violence courts, and support to the most vulnerable children and their families.”
The UNICEF Representative in Ghana, Anne-Claire Dufay, added: “The most vulnerable children and families in urban areas are facing the brunt of primary and secondary impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This programme will support the Government in the provision of safe, running water and adequate handwashing with soap facilities, as well as strengthened community health planning. We are ensuring the strong engagement of communities, which is essential to address the needs of the most marginalized and have a positive impact. More child-friendly gender-based violence courts will also benefit vulnerable women and children.
“We commend the Government of Ghana for their unremitting efforts to protect the population against COVID-19 and we thank the Government of Denmark for our strategic partnership.
“Within the framework of the United Nations Sustainable Development Partnership (UNSDP) and the Socio-Economic Response and Recovery Plan (SERRP), this programme will complement the efforts of all UN Agencies in Ghana to support the Government in ensuring sustainable and resilient recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic”.