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30.08.2005 Regional News

Residents of Builpela appeal for help

By GNA

Tamale, Aug. 30, GNA - Residents of Builpela in the Tamale Metropolis have complained of a life of hopelessness and deprivation as their basic needs are denied them.

They say, for instance, that the about 5,000 people in the community have no sources of potable water and places of convenience. A dam, which the community constructed through communal labour before independence, is their only source of water for drinking, cooking and bathing.

Because of the lack of public places of convenience, the people in the community are defecating indiscriminately along the dam and the excreta are most often washed into the dam any time it rains. Mr. Musah Al-Hassan, an Assembly Member for the area made these known when he interacted with Journalists from Accra and Tamale during a "Press Tour" of water and sanitation projects in the Metropolis executed by NewEnergy, a local NGO and funded by WaterAid Ghana, an international NGO.

Mr. Issah Baba, Tamale Metropolitan Water and Sanitation Team Leader, told the Journalists that the dam was infested with guinea worm, as well as algae, an organism containing chlorophyll and other pigments considered to be poisonous to the blood if they are taken in large quantities.

The tour was to draw the attention of the Journalists to the challenges facing the water and sanitation sectors and the Water Aid and NewEnergy interventions as examples of strategies and activities that could be adopted to address some of the challenges. Mr. Al-Hassan said the city authorities were doing so little to meet the basic requirements of the community adding: "Sometime the authorities misplace the priorities of the people when it comes to the provision of development projects in the area".

He said: "For instance, the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly tarred the road that links the community to Tamale and also constructed a clinic for the community without taking into consideration the provision of potable water and latrines".

The Assembly Member said because water in the dam was contaminated, many children were suffering from guinea worm, diarrhoea and other water-borne diseases.

Water Aid Ghana and NewEnergy organised the tour for the Journalists to explore the potentials of the media as partners in advocacy for the water and sanitation sectors.

The Journalists visited Builpela and Sanerigu to get first hand information on the water and sanitation problems in the two communities. The information is expected to help them to advocate in their stories and feature articles for the improvement in the provision of these facilities.

At Sanerigu, NewEnergy had constructed 100 household latrines for the people and this had helped to improve the sanitation situation in the community.

Mr.Thomas Sayibu Imoro, Programme Manager of NewEnergy, said WaterAid Ghana provided financial support for the construction of the latrines while the residents provided labour. He said several people in the community had applied for household latrines but noted that his organisation was faced with financial constraints in its operations.

He therefore, appealed to NGOs in the water and sanitation sector to partner NewEnergy to provide the people with the facility.

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