By Samuel Dodoo, GNA
Accra, Oct. 3, GNA – A five-day workshop on slum upgrading, learning and exchange programme has been opened in Accra for 23 representatives from six African countries to learn from Accra’s best practices in improving the living standards of slum dwellers.
The workshop is being organised by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and UN-Habitat to develop the capacities of local, national and regional decision makers in slum upgrading and methods for community engagement through the city-wide slum upgrading strategies and demonstration programmes.
The participating countries are Ghana, Nigeria, Cote D’Ivoire, Madagascar, Lesotho and the Philippines.
Mr Mohammed Adjei Sowah, the Accra Metropolitan Chief Executive in an address said the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) has contributed $250,000 towards the third phase of a Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme (PSUP) in Ga Mashie and has internalized the programmes’ approach and its contributions to addressing the needs of informal settlers in Accra.
He said the success of the Ga Mashie Project would be replicated in other informal settlements within the metropolis.
Mr Sowah pointed out that the implementation of the programme has contributed positively in the areas of local economic development through the improvement of public spaces and localised banking.
"Over 800 people have been provided with monetary support, more household toilets have been constructed to improve accessibility to toilet facilities, a recreational centre has been provided for children and youth in Ga Mashie to develop opportunities in alternative sporting," he said.
He urged the PSUP participants to consider co-financing the programme to deepen its impact and create separate budgets to upgrade informal settlements.
Mr Kwesi Adjei Boateng, the Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development indicated that the successful implementation of the third phase of the PSUP did not only transform the community but also boosted the living standards of the local people and created jobs through the establishment and operationalization of the Community Managed Funds.
He said that, the AMA under the PSUP, has constructed 4,050 square meter walkways and public spaces, renovated Home Work Centre and a recreational facility to provide conducive atmosphere for over 100 children in the community to learn.
Mr Boateng expressed the hope that the training programme would enhance and build the capacities of participants to effectively deal with the practical challenges that confronted urban settlements.
He urged the participants to strengthen the sister network relationships and come out with strategies and innovations for improving sanitation and solid waste management in slums.
Ms Kerstin Sommer, the Leader of the Slum Upgrading Unit and the PSUP; UN-Habitat, on her part, said the Menu of Services (MOS) approach provided countries the opportunity to evaluate their slum upgrading needs in terms of policy frameworks, capacities at national, city and community levels.
She noted Ghana’s experience in the implementation of the previous PSUP cycles, which she said were amongst the best practices in the PSUP implementation and urged participants to share experiences.
The PSUP is a programme financed by the European Commission (EC) and the Political advocacy of Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Group (ACP) of States and designed to improve living standards of slum dwellers in the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries and cities.
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