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Ghana Conference Examines Ways to Improve Water and Sanitation in Africa

Experts in the field of water and sanitation have gathered to share their knowledge at an international conference opening Monday in Accra, Ghana. The meeting is a collaborative effort by Ghana’s Ministry of Works and Housing and the Water Engineering and Development Center (WEDC) at Loughborough University in Britain. Minta Aboagye is the chairman of the local organizing committee of the conference. He told VOA reporter Joana Mantey that the weeklong meeting will identify challenges in meeting the Millennium development goals, which advocate improving access to clean water and sanitation by 2015.

The conference will focus on four broad themes: water resources, water supply, environmental sanitation and management issues. Aboagye said papers on research findings will be presented by representatives of academia, industry and agencies involved in water delivery and sanitation services. He said participants will meet “providers from other parts of the world, especially Asia, so that we can also benefit from their experiences” – experiences such as the role of women in delivering water and ways to ensure clean water after a conflict or flooding.

And in what ways have such conferences affected the lives of people in developing countries? Aboagye said one example is what he called the Mozambican Latrine. “It’s an improved latrine for small households which we have adopted [in Ghana].“ This type of latrine is fitted with vents that remove the smell and allow natural lights in the enclosed space.

Aboagye said the forum has provided a platform for exchange of ideas and innovations.