By Godfred A. Polkuu, GNA
Accra, Nov. 16, GNA – The Hunger Project-Ghana (THP-Ghana) in collaboration with THP in Burkina Faso have commissioned the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) cross-border water project at Feo-Asebre, a community in the Bongo District of the Upper East Region.
THP is a Non-Governmental Organisation founded in 1977 in California in the United States of America (USA), and presently operates in nine African countries including; Burkina Faso and Ghana.
The water project, which had financial support from ECOWAS, would benefit eight cross-border communities in Burkina Faso and Ghana namely; the twin communities of Barrè and Namoo, Narguia and Feo, Kolinia and Mayoro, Bingo and Widnaba.
Speaking at a ceremony to commission the project, Mr Samuel Afrane, the Country Director of THP-Ghana said “The permanent elimination of chronic hunger, malnutrition and poverty in rural communities is the fundamental goal of THP.”
He said one of the strategic pillars of THP was to mobilize and build capacities of rural communities to become the architects of their own development.
“For this reason, THP- Burkina Faso and THP-Ghana are delighted to have been selected to implement the Socio-Economic Development Programme for the cross-border areas of Burkina Faso and Ghana which have been liberated from onchocerciasis,” Mr Afrane said.
He said the overall objective of the project was to contribute to improving the food and nutrition situation of poor households, and lay the foundations for sustainable socio-economic development in the areas liberated from the onchocerciasis in Burkina Faso and Ghana.
More specifically, the Country Director said the project objective was to mobilize and strengthen the organisational capacity of cross-border communities for greater integration and social cohesion.
Mr Afrane said the THP had completed and installed eight boreholes with a minimum flow of four cubic metres of water per hour each, equipped with solar panels which would produce 1,500 megawatts of energy with two water storage tanks.
The Country Director expressed gratitude to ECOWAS and The Regional Agency for Food and Agriculture (ARAA) for their huge collaboration, multifaceted support and confidence to entrust the implementation of the project to THP, and thanked governments of both Ghana and Burkina Faso, all companies that undertook the construction and Agencies in both countries involved in the project.
In a speech delivered on his behalf, Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia underscored the importance of water for survival by every living thing, and said without water, plants, animals will perish. “Indeed the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic has further added pressure on water as we need to wash our hands regularly under running water with soap.”
He said Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) represented key areas in the life of a person and the economies of the ECOWAS Region in general, adding that it was estimated by the World Bank that Ghana loses $290 million annually to poor sanitation.
“The amount, the Bank said represents the cost of clearing huge refuse within cities and that of healthcare spending on related disease outbreaks. The implicit costs in the loss of man-hours and reduced productivity are also unacceptably high,” Dr Bawumia said.
Mr Christophe Joseph Marie Dabiré, the Prime Minister of Burkina Faso in a speech delivered on his behalf, recalled the budgetary efforts by Burkina Faso in the strategic area of Agriculture development entitled “Vision 2025 of Agricultural Project.”
He said Burkina Faso was a model in Agriculture and was competitive in mechanised activities founded on the benefit of Agricultural exploration of the two countries, and appreciated the efforts of ECOWAS in the Region, especially Burkina Faso.
The Prime Minister said “This project commissioned today, will address the issue of onchocerciasis in the eight border villages. This disease is water related and would help reduce the problem of onchocerciasis and improve animal rearing and food security.”
On behalf of the beneficiaries of the project, Madam Agnes Anyoka, thanked THP – Ghana and THP – Burkina Faso for the project, and gave the assurance that they would work to derive the benefits of the project.