Internationally acclaimed actor and director Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje joined WaterAid Ghana to campaign for safe water and toilets for all Ghanaians.
The Film star was marveled at the “strength and resilience” of Ghanaian communities living without clean water and decent toilets.
He is therefore calling on government and civil society organisations (CSOs) for urgent action to bring these life-saving basic rights to everyone, everywhere.
Akinnuoye-Agbaje made the call last week when he visited the Upper East Region with the international development organisation WaterAid where he visited Akamo Primary School and Katui CHPS in Kasena Nankana West (KWN) District, neither of which currently have clean water or decent toilets, putting their pupils and patients at risk of infection and disease.
The British born Nigerian Hollywood actor/director said: “The teachers were doing their very best for the children in that school but both teachers and pupils had to wander far off into the bush, where there are poisonous snakes, in order to relieve themselves. And when they wanted to get a drink of water it was an even longer walk to the pump, where at times they had to queue in the unbearable heat. They are dealing with the situation with strength and resilience, but they shouldn’t have to endure such inhumane conditions”
“It’s not right that children should have to worry about the indignity of going to the toilet in the bush in front of classmates or go thirsty when they are trying to learn.” He stressed.
Akinnuoye-Agbaje, whose autobiographical directorial debut ‘Farming’ will premier in Accra this week – is working with WaterAid to highlight the water and sanitation crisis in Africa and his trip to Ghana marks his first visit to the organisation’s projects.
He also visited Feo CHPS and Kabre Primary school in the Bongo District where WaterAid has recently installed clean water, toilets and and provided hygiene education. The CHPS also has an incinerator that runs on gas produced by the toilet waste.
At Kabre school, he spoke to 14-year old Hayford who told him: “I didn’t use our old latrines because they smelt and my classmates would tease me that I smelt too when I came back. I used to go in the bush instead. The new toilets have everything that you need – they flush the waste away, have somewhere to wash your hands and a mirror to check that you look nice and tidy.”
At Feo CHPS, midwife Margaret Awovunga told the actor, famous for his roles in Farming, Oz and The Bourne Identity amongst many other films that before WaterAid’s work pregnant women would sometimes deliver outside the clinic whilst she was walking to the pump one kilometre away to get water. Now women in labour benefit from their own toilet, shower and washbasin, helping to protect them and their new babies from infection.
Margaret said: “When I saw the new facilities provided by WaterAid I was so happy I thought I never want to leave here. I now feel proud to be part of my profession.”
WaterAid Ghana Country Director Abdul-Nashiru Mohammed said; “WaterAid can only complement government’s efforts in the country but to improve maternal and child health as well as ensure girls and boys of school-going age stay and complete school, all stakeholders need to double their efforts in ensuring everyone everywhere has access – communities, schools and health centers”.
WaterAid is working to bring safe water, sanitation and hygiene to everyone in the region – currently access rates are 71 per cent of people have access to clean water (CHECK) and 8 per cent have a decent toilet and will soon start work at Akamo and Katui.
During his visit, Akinnuoye-Agbaje also met with Regional Minister for Upper East Region – Honourable Paulina Patience Abayage, Bongo Naba Salifu and District Chief Executive – Honourable Gerard of KNW, to discuss their plans to ensure that everyone, everywhere has clean water, decent toilets and hygiene.
Story: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH
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