1. 0 introduction / background



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1.0 INTRODUCTION / BACKGROUND

The current status of sanitation in Ghana continues to pose a challenge to us despite various efforts by the local authorities and other private sector initiatives to improve the situation. Part of the problem can be attributed to inadequate strategies for managing the waste generated from domestic and industrial sources while a major part of the problem derives from the attitudes, and consequently the actions of inhabitants.

In an attempt to tackle the issue of poor sanitation in Ghana, the Evergreen Club of Ghana {ECOG} organized a one-day interactive seminar on religion and the status of sanitation in Ghana to alert and educate the various publics on poor sanitation in our country and how individuals, religious bodies and community leaders can come together to combat this situation. The programme took place on 29th February, 2012 at the British Council, Accra.

The theme for the event was:

RELIGION AND THE STATUS OF SANITATION IN GHANA – CHALLENGES AND OBLIGATIONS FOR OUR RELIGIOUS AND COMMUNITY LEADERS”

The central issue addressed was whether the attitude and actions of Ghanaians towards the environment was godly enough and the possible consequences for spiritual, moral and physical development of individuals and the nation as a whole?

1.1 OBJECTIVES

The main objective of the seminar was to organize an interactive forum where individuals would be able to comment on poor sanitation in Ghana and expose the attitude of Ghanaians that have contributed to this state of affairs, and, what individuals, groups and organizations could do to restore a cleaner environment.



1.2 OTHER OBJECTIVES

Other objectives of the seminar were as follows:



  • To sensitize Ghanaians on how some of our attitudes and actions destroy the environment.

  • To re-awaken the conscience of Ghanaians towards a clean and healthy environment.

  • To educate Ghanaians on their religious obligations towards the environment.

  • To induce a sense of commitment in the citizenry towards environmental sustainability

2.0 CONTENT OF THE SEMINAR

The seminar was divided into three main sections:



  1. The opening session

  2. Lectures/Addresses/Presentations

  3. Discussions and Open forum

2.1 SPEAKERS AT THE SEMINAR

The seminar had five Guest Speakers, four of whom spoke from their various religious Perspectives i.e. Christianity, Islam, Culture/Tradition and Buddhism, whilst the final speaker was from the Waste Management Department of Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) who spoke on the challenges of waste management in Ghana.





Members of the high table from left, Nana Frempong Anokye Ababio, Omanhene of Agona-Ashanti, The Very Rev. Dr. Frempong-Manso (Chairperson), Past Moderator of Presbyterian Church, Ms Sakeena K. Bonsu, National Director, ECOG, Alhaj Mohammed bin Ibrahim, Past Regional Director, B.A., Min of Health and Rep from Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission, Mr. Alex Nartey, Elder, Church of Pentecost and Coordinator, ADR, Judicial Council.

The speakers were as follows:



  • 1ST SPEAKER

TOPIC: Religion and Sanitation in Ghana – Challenges and Obligations for Religious and Community Leaders: the Christian Perspective.

SPEAKER: Mr. Alex Nartey

ORGANIZATION: Judicial Service and an Elder of the Church of Pentecost, Ghana


  • 2ND SPEAKER

TOPIC: Religion and Sanitation in Ghana – Challenges and Obligations for Religious and Community Leaders: the Islamic Perspective.

SPEAKER: Alhaj Dr. Mohammed Bin Ibrahim

ORGANIZATION: Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission, Ghana


  • 3RD SPEAKER

TOPIC: Religion and Sanitation in Ghana – Challenges and Obligations for Religious and Community Leaders: the Traditional Perspective.

SPEAKER: Nana Frempong Anokye Ababio

ORGANIZATION: The Paramount Chief of Agona, Ashanti and a Lecturer at GIMPA


  • 4TH SPEAKER

TOPIC: Challenges of Waste Management

SPEAKER: Mr. Samuel Kpodo, Deputy Director, Waste Management Dept.

ORGANIZATION: Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA)


  • 5TH SPEAKER

TOPIC: Religion and Sanitation in Ghana – Challenges and Obligations for Religious and Community Leaders: the Buddhist Perspective.

SPEAKER: Mr. Moses Fiagbelo

ORGANIZATION: Soka Gakkai International, Ghana

3.0 ORGANIZATION

3.1 SPONSORSHIP

The programme was organized under very severe financial constraints as the corporate bodies that initially showed keen interest to support the programme, failed to honor their pledges. Members had to source for funds from within the Club in the form of personal contributions.



3.2 PUBLICITY

The programme was publicized through the following media:



  • Banners were hosted at Trade Fair Centre, the British Council and the Accra High street to bring to the notice of individuals and organizations with a view to attracting patronage.

  • There were announcements on the T.V and radio to reach out to Ghanaians from all corners to start creating awareness about the problem of sanitation and related issues.

  • Letters were also addressed to NGO’s, Institutions, Government Departments and individuals inviting them to attend and participate in this critical and challenging national issue.

4.0 PARTICIPATION

The seminar was attended by a cross section of Ghanaians including Religious bodies, Institutions, NGOs, individuals as well as some media houses. People showed interest in the subject-matter and expressed themselves very freely but with the seriousness that the poor state of sanitation deserved. Expressions came in the form of questions and comments etc. For the full list of participants see Appendix I



5.0 ACTIVITIES

5.1.1 WELCOME ADDRESS



In her welcome address, Ms. Sakeena .K. Bonsu, National Director of ECOG, expressed her heartfelt gratitude to the people present for making time out of their busy schedules to participate in the program.

She addressed the issue at hand which was the sanitation menace in the society making references to cities and countries such as Malaysia, Singapore and Kigali capital of Rwanda which had very poor sanitation state in the past but can now boast of cleaner environment in recent times.

M
The National Director, ECOG, delivering her welcome address


adam Bonsu urged individuals to start curbing the menace from their homes in the forms of advice and upbringing of their children as well as adults in the society and referred to the saying that “charity begins at home”. She also made a particular appeal to Ghana Education Service (GES) to include environmental programs in the educational curricula in order to educate school children on the environment and to create the needed awareness in them at early stages.

She acknowledged Ghanaians as being very religious. She therefore urged them to see to the protection of the environment that God has created for their benefit, as a religious, moral and national duty. She noted the fact that Ghanaians are regarded worldwide as hospitable people but that should not be enough and that they should also be seen as clean people too.

Citing Kigali as the cleanest city in Africa, Ms. Bonsu explained that it should be possible to achieve a similar feat for Ghana and expressed the wish that Ghanaians would manage polythene materials the way Rwanda was doing. Rwanda, she said started in 2008 to replace all polythene materials with paper and other bio-degradable materials and they have achieved a large measure of success in a period of 3 – 4 years.

She further advised all and sundry to partake in helping Ghana to improve upon her poor state of sanitation.





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