Thursday, March 31, 2011


Members of KNUST alumni , C-poly branch with Dr. Sir L. Hony
The Regional Chairman of KNUST Alumni association Dr. Sir Lawerence Hony has appealed to members of the association to participate more in the functions of the alumni.  
He made this known during the  inauguration Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology Alumni branch at Cape Coast Polytechnic. He asked the executive of the branch to find innovative ways to attract more members to participate in the monthly meeting and strengthen its network base in order to solve challenges facing the nation.

On his part, the President of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology Alumni branch at Cape Coast Polytechnic Emmanuel Bamfo-Agyei disclosed that the association would organise several research conferences to encourage members to carry out more research. In an attempt to generate income for the association, he suggested a consultancy firm, would be established  to provide services to companies and individuals.

In a related development, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor William Otoo Ellis, called on the National executives to establish a journal that will publicise the activities of the association and appealed to them to chase for membership in the ten regions of the country. He said this when he welcomed the Executives and members of the KNUST Alumni Association to the University at the Council Chamber. The event was designed to congratulate Professor Ellis on his appointment as Vice-Chancellor, and make him aware of The National Council Meeting of the Alumni Association. 

The National President of the KNUST Alumni Association, Tony Danklu, stated that the Association could be strengthened on the University's campus since it is the basic source of potential members. He appealed to Management of the University to come to the Association's aid in devising strategies and implementing mechanisms aimed at attracting and sustaining new members. He further suggested that the University institutes an Alumni levy as a viable strategy of sustaining fresh graduates in the Association. At the end of the interaction of the meeting  Professor S.O. Asiama, the former National President of the KNUST Alumni Association, who was judged as "KNUST Alumnus Of The Year 2010" was honoured with a plaque. He expressed his appreciation to the Vice-Chancellor for the warm reception on behalf of the KNUST Alumni Association.

Shortly afterwards the National Executive Council (NEC) held a meeting at the Republic Hall conference room. Emmanuel Bamfo-Agyei represented Dr. Sir. Lawrence Honorary Regional Chairman of KNUST Alumni Central Region reported the activities of the chapter. He indicated that as part of membership drive a new chapter had been established on Cape Coast Polytechnic. He also revealed that a chapter would soon be establishing on UCC campus. 

Some of the National Executive Members applauded Central Region for their creativity of attracting members to the association. However many more expressed displeasure that when they visited the region those that there were only four members to be met at ECG. They appealed for Cape Coast Polytechnic chapter to be strengthened.

The house appointed Emmanuel Bamfo-Agyei as coordinator of Cape Coast Polytechnic Branch to be present at any meeting of the National Executive Council. Tema, Kumasi, Sunyani , Temale , and Koforidua  chapters presented their report.The council directed Koforidua to conduct election to elect new executives in the next two months.

It was announced by the President Tony Danklu that the North America KNUST Alumni Chapter will organise their congress in the June 2011 and any who is interested to attend can inform the association. Members who were interested in attending were reminded that only if they were capable of paying airfare would they be able to go. The next KNUST Alumni congress would be held at Kofridua in 2012, the month is yet to be confirmed.

- Kwamina Bamfo-Agyei

Promising performance for Black Stars at Wembley

An altogether promising international friendly match took place away for the Ghanaian Black stars against England. With a small crowd at Wembley of 80,102 fans in a potential 90,000 and 21,000 being Ghanaian, the atmosphere in the English Home grounds was dominated by the buoyant Ghanaain supporters. Many reported that the weak side put up by Capello was to blame for poor attendance on the English front. With names such as John Terry, Ashley Cole, Stephen Gerrard, Frank Lampard , Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand all missing from the English Team. The crippled English team performed well considering the youth and inexperience of the players. Ghana only lacked Chelsea’s Michael Eissien, out on Injury. 
It was a fairly even match with both sides providing many chances for both Joe Hart of Manchester City and Richard Kingson of Blackpool to be tested. England were certainly under pressure with their team of inexperienced youngsters, being pressurized by the Black stars Gyan and Adiyah within the first half; forcing some spectacular saves from the young English keeper.  England’s response was swift with an impressive shot from Downing and another challenge from Young from just 20 yards out forcing an athletic save from Kingson. It was the debut international Goal from Andy Carroll of Liverpool that sailed passed the arms of Kingston in the 43rd minute of the first half.
Gyan was relentless throughout, putting pressure on England’s defence and was finally rewarded with a goal in the 91st minute. His performance on the night would be certain to wipe clean his memory of missing that crucial penalty in the World Cup sweeping past Lescott to score the equalizer. Despite never having played England the Black Stars seemed to hold up well. However Danny Welbeck’s choice to play for the England squad was met with a cacophony of jeers from the Ghanaian supporters, but according to the rules of  FIFA he can still choose to play for Ghana, if he so wishes. Fabio Capello, Englands Manager reported to the BBC that “It was a fantastic game, I am happy because Ghana didn’t play it like a friendly”.

Laura White- Projects Abroad.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


In a coastal region such as Cape Coast and Elmina, it is natural that fishing is a major business. Elmina is supposed to be the largest fishing town in Ghana. And where fishermen are, there is  a need for boats. Central Press has visited the boat yards in Elmina and spoken with Mr Ephraim Edjah, a ship building master and some of his employees and also with Mr Edward Oquaye Mortey, the Mechanical Superintendent of the Fishers Commission in Elmina.

Fishing boast still require a lot of hand crafting in Ghana. While in Cape Coast or Moree canoes made of one giant log are the common standard, in Elmina larger ships are made with a wooden frame construction and wooden planks. The parts being used come from a saw mill in a standard format.. The only electrical tool being used is a drilling machine, everything else is manual work. To build one of these 62 feet long vessels, six men usually need approximately six months.

Mr Ephraim Edjah has been in the fishing boat business for ten years, and is the owner and founder of the Nyame Beye Company, which employs around six people, including his son. His company is one of four main companies in Elmina, which boasts the largest fishing industry in Ghana, and makes approximately two to three boats a year, depending on the size of the vessels, providing his employees with steady and reliable work all year round. He is appealing to the government to look into opening a boat-making school which would offer more young people access to an indispensable, worthy and rewarding trade, and which would also enable new boat-making technology from around the world to be shared and taught to students, in order to enhance and develop Ghana’s fishing boat industry.
New materials like fiberglass would help to extend the durability of the vessels that now last about 10 years, but so far none of the workers around the Elmina shipyards have any experience with the handling of fiberglass.

Nyame Beye Cmpany is one out of four shipyards at Elmina harbor. Since the capacities of the companies are limited, there is no real competition. The owners rather cooperate and would send a potential customer to one of their neighbor docks in case their own capacities are tied up for the next few months.

CP then spoke with Mr Edward Oquaye Mortey, the Mechanical Superintendent of the Fishers Commission in Elmina. He is responsible for the inspection of the shipyards and the ships before they leave the dock and head out into the ocean to make sure that certain safety standards are being met. Mortey also educates the fishermen in handling of an engine powered boat or nautic navigation which is now supported by GPS as well. When asked for his opinion regarding a school for shipbuilders and also fishermen, Mortey was all-in. He stated that it would be very useful if fishermen had to complete some sort of certificate to get the permission to go out fishing. This would ensure that they all have a certain basic knowledge about what they are doing and what they shouldn't do. Apart from the above named topics they should for example also learn about sustainable fishing because it is crucial to make sure that the fish population in the Ghanaian sea has a chance to recover so that the fishing business will remain a stable, blossoming business for many years to come. - Frances Black/Axel Patsch


Frances Black - Projects Abroad
Photography by Olivia Berry

The recent cholera outbreak in the Central Region has led many citizens to question how much is being done, and how much has already been done, to improve the availability of safe and clean water. Safe water is a basic human need, and people are looking to those in power for indicators of plans and goals for the future, and how these will be achieved so that a tragedy like this can be avoided in the future.
However, concerned residents should not be disheartened as progress is gradually being made in the Central Region. Although the Central Region has one of the lowest coverages in Ghana as a whole, which is a source of worry for many, those at Water and Sanitation have been working hard to change this with the facilities and funds and their disposal. Between 2009 and 2010, coverage in the Central Region has increased from 45.10% to 52%, showing that the needs of local people are being heard. Gustav Merrit Osiskwan, the Regional Hydrogeologist, stated that by 2015 their target is to have reached an optimistic 76% coverage, emphasising that he was confident in achieving this goal.
Notable improvements and evidence of change are manifold, and for some part rely on the donations and work of charities. Between 2005 and 2008, Unicef dug 353 holes and 53 wells to collect safe water from, and installed a mechanised water system for one community. The International Development Association (IDA) has also promised to provide 200 boreholes between now and 2016 to help provide water to small towns. As well as this, the Danish International Development Assistance (DANIDA) has installed a total of 120 boreholes in four towns in the central region, and the Rotary association have provided 20 boreholes. As a result it is clear that the need for clean water is not a problem which is going unnoticed, and many charities and organisations are stepping up to the mark to make sure that the issue is improved upon. Due to the importance of donors in the improvement of water and sanitation in the Central Region, donors are always encouraged to come to the aid of the Water and Sanitation programme, where their help would be invaluable to the lives and safety of others.

The issue has also proved sensitive for the government, who are providing 65 boreholes for the region, although it must be noted that this is distinctly lower than what many of the charities are offering.

Since the intervention of these organisations, there has been a drastic improvement in water-related diseases, which are used as a strong indicator of how successful new sanitation methods are. Diseases such as diarrhoea and cholera, among others, are caused by unsafe water, so decrease in their frequency is a clear sign for Osiskwan that significant progress is being made. He also highlighted the importance of maintaining basic hygiene in order to curb disease and illness, such as making to sure to wash one’s hands after using the toilet and making sure that clean water is not contaminated with unclean substances.
The basis and foundation of the Water and Sanitation programme, explained Osiskwan, was to distinguish which areas correspond to the three basic service levels, and to work from there. The first encompasses communities with populations of around 300 people, who receive a point water system, whereby residents must walk to a well or borehole fitted with a hand pump. This comes under the rough, approximate calculation of providing one borehole for 300 people. Nevertheless, as Osiskwan admitted, they must also take into account how scattered or close together the community is, as this would affect how far people would have to come to collect water. Although one hole or well per 300 people may not sound like enough, it is a strong and essential starting point which can then be built upon to provide more water supply.
Moving up from communities of 300, the next service level takes into account communities of roughly 300-2000 residents, who would ideally receive 3 to 5 boreholes, or they will have one borehole which is piped to several places, which is easier and more cost effective.
The next and final service level is for towns with a population of over 2000, who should subsequently receive a small town water supply system, involving piped, clean water in every home. This is obviously the ultimate model for any community, and hopefully in the future all homes will have clean, running water in them, akin to most developed countries.
Nevertheless, although these different service levels show much promise in theory, it is evident that there is still a lot of work to be done before these ideals are achieved for every community in the central region. Many towns and villages continue to expand, which places increasing pressure on those that supply sanitation and water services to keep up with the needs of the population. Indeed, these levels are starting points and basic structures on which to build even stronger water facilities in the future. One borehole for every 300 members of the community is a vital and realistic goal, however hopefully in the future this will be built upon to make sure that everybody can easily access safe water.

Osiskwan concurred that it would ideally be extremely beneficial if every new home was fitted with plumbing facilities, however although in theory this could happen, in reality it would be a different story, as many do not have the money for this, and it would be near impossible in some rural areas, where most other houses do not have internal plumbing. It would also be incredibly difficult to officially monitor whether or not all new homes were being fitted with plumbing in some small communities.
He also emphasised that the money that people must pay to use the water wells – normally about 5 pesewas per bucket – went straight to the cleaning and maintenance of the water supply points, and towards training people in the community to look after them. He highlighted that in this way, the power was being put into the communities’ hands, making them self sufficient and unreliant on the interventions and support of others. After the borehole or well is introduced, they can look after it by themselves with the money received, and hence have control over their own water supply, giving the community a deserved sense of independence and an ability to provide for their neighbours.

Therefore, although there is still a lot of work to be done in the Central Region to make sure that everybody has at least basic, practical access to safe, clean drinking water, with a coverage of 52%, the problem is gradually being tackled with the help of a number of influential organisations, showing that there is optimism and hope for the future. The cholera outbreak has certainly acted as a further wake up call to those in power, and it will hopefully draw attention to the work that is already being done to make the Central Region a place where safe water will be accessible for all.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


So far, many Ghanaians are not used to topics like garbage collection, pollution, and waste separation or even recycling. The common practice right now is that people drop their waste at the spot where they don't need it anymore, meaning that they just throw it into the drains next to the street or anywhere else, especially because there are no litter cans anywhere to be seen. The problem is that especially plastic items such as water sachets or soda bottles will not dissolve but stay for many years. This means that there is an absolute need to collect the garbage to keep the environment clean.

A company that takes care of this issue is Zoomlion Waste Management. Zoomlion are operating thoughout entire Ghana and in other countries like Togo or Angola.

 The Ag. Regional Operations Supervisor of Zoomlion in Cape Coast John Sackey, revealed that the company's services and plans is to improve the Ghanaian environment. He said part of Zoomlion's business is the supply of large containers (12 -15 m³) to the communities in the Central Region where people can deliver their waste from their homes. Once filled up the containers are picked up by trucks and emptied at a designated dump outside Cape Coast.

The company also supply smaller individual garbage cans to private homes. Homeowners do not have to pay for the container but are charged for the collection which happens based on agreement, e.g. once a week or every other week.

Another branch of Zoomlion's activities is NETP, the National Youth Employment Program. Here young people are being paid to ride around the streets on special tricycles that are equipped with a container. The workers collect the garbage from the streets and the drains, put it in their containers and the content again gets moved to the dump. In addition, once the pile gets too big, a bulldozer comes and compresses the trash.

Now here we can find the next problem. The dump is located in a valley northeast of Cape Coast with a small river nearby. Nevertheless, before opening the dump the ground has never been sealed. This means that when it is raining, the poison from the rotten garbage is being washed into the ground and polluting the river and the groundwater which then again leads to health problems.

Still, the collection of garbage is the first of many steps to come to a cleaner environment in Ghana. Once people get used to that, the next step will be the separation of the different materials such as plastic, glass, metal, paper to recycle them.

In recent times, some youths at the refuse site who are collecting these materials to use them again but apart from the unhealthy environment, it would be much more effective to separate these items in the first place instead dumping them all together.

John Sackey says that he hopes that in the future Zoomlion will have a separation facility for the garbage as they are now common in the „modern world“ but it can't be foreseen when this will turn into reality. Nevertheless, recycling will be, regarding to Sackey, a major issue as it is in first world countries already. The production of water sachets, plastic bottles etc. need many raw materials like oil and energy. Instead of just producing more of these containers with the old ones piling up on the garbage dump one the goals is bringing them into a recycling process to save resources and energy.

As we have mentioned before, one of the biggest factors of the pollution are the water sachets that seem to fly around everywhere. One of these bags with half a litre of drinking water only costs approximately 10 pesewas. There is no doubt about the fact that clean drinking water has to be affordable for everybody but on the other hand, ways have to found to reduce the amount of waste caused by it. So one suggestion Sackey made was to increase the price for the sachet water moderately and introduce a refund system so that when people return the empty bag they will be refunded with some money for it.

Refund systems have been very effectively put in place in European and North American countries. For example for each soda or beer bought in Germany, the customer has to pay an extra 10 – 25 Cents, which he will get back when returning the empty container. Moreover, for those who are too lazy to bring them back and just throw them away, somebody else will pick up the bottles and cash them in.

If people still refuse to return their bags, the additional money could also be seen as an environment tax, used for the collection of the garbage, Sackey says.

The most important issue though is to educate the people to change their behaviour. People must be aware that they have to keep clean the environment to save it for the future and for their children. Therefore, Zoomlion also has „sanitation guards“who work with the communities and health offices to show them importance of a clean environment. He said, when people still are not willing to change their minds, there is also the possibility to enact bylaws to force the people to protect their environment. It is still a long way to go but the first steps have been made. - Axel Patsch


For people in the western world such as Europe and North America, it is a matter of course to have a flushing toilet and running water in their home. There are washrooms at your workplace. In addition, when you are away from home you will find some facilities in restaurants, shops, gas stations or anywhere else. There might be a few summerhouses in the woods of northern Sweden who still have their drop toilets behind the house, but those are the exceptions.

In Ghana, the situation is significantly different. In the larger cities, some private homes have running water and flushing toilets. However, even in the office buildings in downtown Cape Coast you will not find such facilities. Every now and then you can see a man urinating in the ditch near the roads which is not only uncommon in the first world but people can also be fined in several countries for „peeing in the public“. Moreover, it gets even worse when you come to the rural areas of Ghana.

One example is Moree, a fishing town of roughly 2000, a few miles west of Cape Coast.
In Moree, none of the fisher's huts has running water. All the villagers have to claim their water from a hand full of fountains throughout the town and bring it home in buckets.

Therefore, with no continuous water supply and no canalisation system there are no private toilets either. All they have in Moree are a few public facilities.

There are three flushing toilet facilities around town. The fee is 10 p per use. Once they are filled up, they will be emptied by a truck, which approximately takes one day.
Somewhere near the beach there are also drop toilets, one men's and one women's site. Instead of using those facilities, some people even decide to just let it run down at the beach. At the end of the day, it does not really make a difference because the faeces from the drop toilets will be washed away by the sea, too. To make it even worse is the fact that people also wash in the sea without soap or any other sanitizer.
Although there is a company called Zoil who for a monthly charge of 50 GHC clean up the beach every morning, it is not very hard to imagine that this lack of hygiene can cause serious health problems.

Just recently, there has been an outbreak of Cholera in Ghana again. By March 18th, 2011 there were be around 4000 cases reported of which 60 were fatal which 482 new cases just last week. While Ghana capital Accra has been hit the worst, there are already four regions, one of them being the Central Region, affected by the disease.
Joseph Amankwah of the Ghana Health Service said, “This is a major outbreak. It’s a major concern,” and “Cases are on the increase. … We need to address the risk factors aggressively.” (Source: Reuters).
Cholera is a bacterial disease spread by contaminated water and food. If caught early can be easily treated by oral rehydration fluids. If not treated, it can kill in hours.
“I wouldn’t say it’s out of control but it’s alarming so we need to step up preventive efforts,” said Sally Ohene from the World Health Organisation.

Poor environmental sanitation is, next to poor access to potable water and open drainages, one of the major risk factors supporting the spread of Cholera and other diseases.

With all this in mind and a real health threat knocking on our door right, know it is not hard to imagine that it is mandatory to have major improvements in the Ghanaian sanitarian system. Because that is critical to control the outbreak of Cholera and will be the most effective way to prevent the epidemic from spreading faster and claiming more lives. - Axel

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


 Frances Black - Projects Abroad

In England, water doesn’t run out. It flows freely from the taps and hoses of every household, filling up pots, pans, baths and bottles. It does not have a value, a meaning, a purpose; it is simply there, an unquestioned condition of our daily lives, fluidly but unremarkably passing before our eyes. We triumphantly douse our cars with buckets of gleaming water; we chase each other with hoses spurting endless streams of liquid, and when it rains we shake-off the cascades of raindrops with indifference and rejection. Water is a normality, and its cleanliness is rarely considered when we fill up a glass. It is gulped down and spilled, its supply as seemingly never-ending as the air we breathe. Everybody does it, and with such a reliable supply it is not something to be judged or criticised, but rather serves as a striking and interesting comparison with the relationship that many others have with water.

It is shame that many others cannot enjoy this unchallenged flexibility, with around one eighth of the world’s population lacking access to safe, clean drinking water. Many people do not see water as a permanent and constant guarantee, but rather a source of worry and anxiety, as approximately 1.4 million children die every year from diarrhoea caused by unclean water and poor sanitation. Instead of using water freely, they must protect it and use it sparingly, with every drop holding significance and worth. 

In the village Moree in the south of Ghana, there are only five community pipes offering safe water for a population of about 2,500. The pipes, although vital and fantastic for the community, are alas still not enough to provide for all of the residents of this town, and as the town continues to expand and grow, for many the taps are a long distance from their homes. As well as this, the water is not free of charge, with the price depending principally on whether the pipe is a private or public one. One private pipe, owned by Timothy Otoo, charges 5 pesewas per bucket of water. With the average person in the developing world using 10 litres of water every day for their drinking, washing and cooking, it is clear that water can be an expensive commodity for many. Instead of using a private pipe, one could also use one of the public taps in the town, which charges 5 pesewas for two buckets of water. Although this may seem like the obvious choice, it is far busier and far more crowded than the private pipes.

Fortunately, the cleanliness of the areas around the pipes is not taken lightly by the owners, as they reassured us that they are cleaned regularly to make the area safe. Nevertheless, despite the seemingly successful nature of the pipes, the chief of Moree, Nana Kweigya, stated that the town still had many problems. For example, the council vowed to build a large reservoir in Moree, but failed to complete this, and many people have to carry their buckets of water a long way to their homes. He asserted that as Moree was such a large community, they should receive help to make sure that everyone has enough water, stating that ideally people should have water in their houses.

The differences seen in Moree go to show how two places can have such vastly opposing attitudes to something so fundamental and central to the life of human beings. In London you could run a bath, wash the dishes and drink a bottle of water without blinking an eyelid; however in Moree, the contents of the average bath, at 100 litres, could last one person about 10 days, and clean, safe water would be a priceless possession rather than an expectation. Hopefully one day everybody will be able to take advantage of water without one single second thought, without one flinch of hesitation, and without one thought to disease or rationing.


-Olivia Berry (Projects Abroad)

Ghana has a reputation for making very celebratory and attractive coffins. Funerals in Ghana are a time of celebration, and usually held many months after a person has passed away. This usually means there is a lot of time to create a wonderful coffin to represent aspects of the deceased person’s life.

George Machalin from ‘Perfect Aluminium’ Ltd in Moree has recently started making glass and aluminium coffins which he says must be beautiful because they act as a home in the afterlife. But he laments that after putting so much time into creating the coffin, it gets hidden underground, which is frustrating.

Mr Machalin saw the business opportunity of creating ‘everlasting’ coffins, and now sells a steady 4-5 coffins a month, which usually cost around 1,500 GHC.

The unusual coffins of Ghana are believed to have originated from the Ga people, from the south-east coast of Ghana, who revere their ancestors and give great importance to funeral celebrations. Their tradition of creating beautifully carved figurative coffins originated in the 1950s, allegedly in Teshie, a fishing community in Accra.

Sometimes coffin orders are collected from the deceased before they die, and are commissioned by the families. The coffins aim to characterise their personality such as a car for a businessman, a Cocoa pod for a farmer, a bible, or even a camera. The coffins function as status symbols and some communities even pool cash to help fund them.

The British Museum in London and other museums around the world display coffins made by Ghana’s most renowned coffin maker, Paa Joe.

Paa Joe was taught by Kane Quaye and his brother Ajetey, who developed the concept of a fish-shaped coffin for a fisherman even further and in 1951 made a coffin in the form of an airplane to bury their grandmother who grew up near the Kotoka Airport, and always wanted to fly. The Quaye’s thought they were honouring her wish and last request by letting her finally rest in an airplane.

In late 2010 the Daily guide reported there was a vast increase in Chinese-made caskets being imported into the country which appears to be killing the local furniture industry.

Ghana has huge opportunity to become world-leading in fantastical coffins, and the government should support local artisans to expand and export to other countries. The tourism industry can also benefit from the unusual coffin industry in Ghana with local tours and exposition.


Laura White - Projects Abroad

World water day was celebrated in Cape Coast University today with a conference on the responsibilities of both the government and the public to ensure safe water for all. The Centre for Environmental Impact Analysis through the words of Mr. Samuel Obiri addressed the UN Resolution of September 2010 claiming that Water is a Basic Human Right, and therefore every human being should have access to safe water. With the focus of WWD being “Water and Urbanisation”, the focus of the conference was very much to examine potential methods for improving water supply to urban area in the Central Region.
With over two million people contracting water-borne diseases such as Cholera, and perishing as a result, the call for clean water to rapidly developing urban areas is an urgent requirement. Clean and safe water is a basic requirement for life, allowing for hygiene and safety of the whole family. In Ghana the Urban Water Policy was introduced in 2007, with a view to addressing clean water accessibility and improvement of sanitation facilities. Mr. Obrimi stressed the importance of both Government and the citizens of Ghana to “honour their commitments to these policies”. His criticism that the UWP was a set of guidelines and not legislation, making the commitments more voluntary for officials is one of the leading reasons for the lack of substantial improvement. He urged that decision makers review their legislation on sanitation and water treatment making it a legal entitlement for all citizens to have access to clean potable water. He suggested that by punishing pollution of water sources severely and developing sub sector policies it will allow local officials to deal with problems more efficiently.

Mr. Obrimi also focused on the public responsibility to ensuring safe drinking water and its accessibility. With an estimated 52% of the Ghanaian population living in an Urban Environment, and that number constantly growing in number, he stressed the importance of public pressure to bring about change. He urged a commitment of resources, both financial and physical into developing water sources for local communities and urged collective pressure on local government to maintain these vital sources once installed. He also highlighted the responsibility of the general public to punish and discourage polluting of precious water sources, and responsible disposal of waste water from their homes. In general its the slum populations of cities and towns that suffer most. According to the Ghana Water Company’s assement criteria, urban drinking water supply coverage in 2008 was 58% with approximately two thirds of peri-urban settlements relying on neighbors and private water vendors for their water supply paying up to twelve times the price of their more wealthy neighbors. With annual urban population growth at an estimated 3.5% in Ghana, and the population of Africa and Asia set to double between 2000 and 2030, inadequacies with water are bound to grow if there are no sustained measures aimed at addressing the problem. 

The CEIA also alleged that the ongoing deforestation for mining was affecting the provision of clean and potable water supplies for urban areas. With little or no restriction of the dumping of waste water into rivers used to provide local urban population with potable water, the government is crippling itself in its attempts to change. For example a study conducted by CEIA between 2008 and 2009, named the WACAM Water Report revealed that all 250 rivers in the Tarwa and Obuasi mining regions were contaminated with high levels of toxic chemicals or contaminants causing massive financial strain on the Ghana Water Board converting and purifying the water for public use.  As a result of pollution by human activities, according to the GWB, the River Densu is a particular strain on the water treatment plant in Weija.
In the words of Kofi Annan addressing the world on World Water Day in 2000, “access to safe water is a fundamental human need and, therefore, a basic human right. Contaminated water jeopardizes both the physical and social health of all people. It is an affront to human dignity.” With companies like Helio Tech Ltd, a german based organization providing simple and renewable desalinization technology for Ghana, using solar power to process clean and safe drinking water. The problem of supplying electricity to rural areas no longer becomes an issue, with the technology totally reliant on the power of the sun. It also promises to purify or desalinate between 50 and 5000 litres of water daily, needing only the reliable natural resources of the sun and sea. Although the technology was introduced in April 2009, it has yet to be manipulated to its full potential in Ghana. However with the looming approach of the Deadline for the Millenium Development Goals set by the UN in 2015, perhaps this is an attractive method for change that should be seriously considered.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Frances Black – Projects Abroad
Mr. Yahaya Yakubu Tanko was adjuged the overall best graduate at the seventh Congregation with a CGPA of 4.55.
The Overall Best Building Technology Graduate for 2009, Mr. Yahaya Yakubu Tanko, received the Bamfo-Agyei Excellence Award while the Best Female Construction Graduate Award for that year, Ms Mercy Tebepah had the Agnes Boham Excellence Award.  They obtained First Class and Second Class Upper divisions respectively and each received one 100 dollars.

The ceremony saw a graduation of one thousand and seventeen graduands it  took  at the Ceremonial Grounds, and featured rousing and heart-felt speeches.
671 were male and 346 were females. They had all begun their studies at the Polytechnic in 2009 in many varied subjects such as Business, Engineering and Applied Sciences, and therefore their graduation was a day of celebration as well as one which called attention to the future of each student, and how they could use their skills to be successful in a competitive job market.
One significant focus of the day was the attendance of Mr Mahama Ayariga, the Deputy Minister of Education incharge of tertiary pledged the government’s commitment to the welfare of Polytechnic Teachers’ saying it was in consultation with its professional association, POTAG, the Fair Wages Commission and the other stakeholders to ensure that their salaries are migrated unto the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS) devoid of anomalies to forestall problems.

He announced that Government has secured 80 million dollars to undertake massive infrastructural development in the Polytechnics towards developing the requisite manpower to sustain the middle income economy the country has achieved.
The Ag. Rector of Cape Coast Polytechnic Mr Augustus Marx Koomson made an incredibly poignant and relevant speech, of which the main focus was how to harness the facilities provided by the Polytechnic so that students could compete on the global job market. He stressed that polytechnic education is ‘the catalyst of our industrialisation drive’, and generally encouraged students to learn and develop themselves as people and students as much as possible, in order to be successful.

As Ghana is working and striving to develop itself as much as possible, it was clear that much of this hope and vision rested in the graduating students gathered there on Saturday. These young graduates represent aspirations that many have for the future of Ghana, and will hopefully go on to achieve great success.
In addition to this, Koomson also drew close attention to the improvements that the Polytechnic had made from GETFund and the Teaching and Learning Innovation Fund (TALIF). GETFund has provided the Polytechnic with ‘infrastructure and facilities for learning and research’, such as giving staff local and overseas training programmes. As well as these improvements, Koomson spoke of the new block of lecture theatres and offices, as well as the upcoming initiatives to open the Fashion Design and Technology Departments.

He emphasised the importance of moving with the times, and adapting to modern changes. The speaker explained that students must ‘explore the power of modern ICT […] Students must dare to explore the uncharted paths’. They went on to say that ‘Today social, economic and political developments throughout the world have contributed to dramatic change in the way global business is conducted’. One had the impression that the Polytechnic is incredibly aware of its potential standing in the world and wishes to not only to become similar to the leading technical institutions in the world, but to become one in its own right.

However, the most striking and bold move was the revelation that the Polytechnic will also be opening a Department of Hotel, Catering and Institutional Management, including a Model Training Hotel. This is a clear indication that Cape Coast Polytechnic is making steps to evolve with the times in order to accommodate the ever-increasing popularity of Ghana with tourists, as this will without a doubt be an invaluable source of revenue for the residents of Cape Coast and Ghana as a whole. This shows how Ghana is gradually working to use its own unique and history and culture as a source of its growth.

Other ways in which the Cape Coast Polytechnic is pushing itself and growing as an institution is through international collaboration. Its partnership with Nanjing University of Information Technology in China, Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences and Vaasa Polytechnic in Finland, is other evidence of the Polytechnic working hard to increase its standing and prestige internationally, by forging bonds and friendships with academic institutions all around the world, which can only be a positive move for Cape Coast. As well as academically benefiting from this exchange, students can also have the opportunity to experience different cultures and different parts of the world. An example of this is the United States exchange programme, which took four 2nd year students to study in America. Koomson highlighted the importance of ‘global networking’ as ‘the catalyst to growth in industry and commerce’.

Nevertheless, Koomson explained that the constructive evolution of Cape Coast Polytechnic did not end there. Following the discovery of oil and gas in Ghana, he asserted that Management was extremely eager to train students with skills for the oil and gas industry, and that the Polytechnic would welcome collaboration with industry to make this happen. This evidence of forward-thinking and motivation to take advantage of such a significant moment in Ghana’s history and economy is exactly the attitude needed if Ghana wishes to develop itself as a world power, as it is crucial to capitalise on such an opportunity with the correct skills and training to benefit Ghana as a whole.

Therefore, Koomson has showed in which ways the Cape Coast Polytechnic is trying to make sure that it is constantly expanding and developing itself to adapt to modern changes in Ghana culture and circumstances, and harnessing its huge potential. Time will tell whether such plans will successfully come to fruition, and whether the institution will develop and change for the better.

Nevertheless, although much of the speech offered a glowing image of Cape Coast Polytechnic and its plans for the future, Koomson did not fail to point out some of its faults and problems. One issue that was highlighted was the lack of necessary sports facilities, which he insisted were absolutely crucial for the holistic education of the students, who could use these facilities to let off stress and to socialise.

The Chairman of the Council appealed to the government to improve the condition of service of the polytechnic staff, he warned could hinder the growth and development of the institution, as a plentiful and satisfied workforce is fundamental in implementing the many changes that the Polytechnic wishes to make. As well as this, a lack of satisfactory accommodation was highlighted as a major problem, with a population of approximately 4000 students, but only one block of Students Hostel which holds 230 people.

The Chairman of the Council Dr. Ato Cobbinah, urged the industry to partner government in its quest to improve infrastructure in those institutions. He stated that although they had benefited greatly from government funds, the incompletion of the Polytechnic’s Sports Stadium and the Shopping Mall and Commercial Area for many years was of great worry and disappointment, as they could both be great sources of enjoyment and income.

As a result, although much said during the day showed the positives of Cape Coast Polytechnic’s present and future, this shows it reacting and adapting positively to changes in Ghana and the world market. It was also clear that the Polytechnic still faces many fundamental problems with its facilities and accommodation, which could hinder its growth and development for the future. We hope that those with the power to change the situation hear the problems spoken about and that the Polytechnic stays close to and works hard to achieve the admirable and courageous changes that could benefit Ghana in its quest to play on the world stage.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Laura White - Projects Abroad

In Nana Kobina Gyan Square this afternoon a dramatization of the traditional tale of Cinderella, was given an African Twist.  Performed by the Ghana Dance Ensemble and the Ghana Dance Troupe the play was a combination of old dramatic methods and modern pantomime fused with African Dance and singing renamed Cynderama. The musical enlisted the all star cast of Edinam Atatsi, Dzifa Glikopi, and Mawuli Semevor allowing for a talented and engaging performance despite frustrating technical difficulties throughout the musical.

The traditional Ancient Greek style of theatre with a running commentary provided by a ‘chorus’ in the form of a court Jester, the simple costume changes signifying different characters and the musical interludes between scenes allowed for the somewhat archaic style to be utilized in a modern way. The vibrant and colourful acting encouraged the audience to contribute to the play, and thoroughly entertained the young school children present absorbing the style of pantomime without making it melodramatic. Although these somewhat different styles would struggle to fuse together, the talent of the actors and the clever directing allowed for a successful cocktail of genres. 

Cynederama follows the traditional folk story of Cinderella: of which there are versions throughout the world; Rhodophis (Ancient Greek), Cenicienta (Spain), Aschenputtel (Germany), Ye Xian (China) to name but a few. The tale of Cinderella was made famous by Charles Perrault in 1697, when he introduced the fairy godmother, pumpkin and glass slippers; integral parts of the modern version accepted today. It tells the tale of a step daughter abused and mistreated by her step mother and her evil step sisters finding romance in the arms of a prince and above all freedom and happiness.

Rewritten by the award winning Efo Mawugbe and directed by Francisca Quartey, the musical has been provided with a modern twist aimed at children. Cynderama’s chief goal is to fulfill her mother’s dying wish and go to university and not the traditional get married and live happily ever after, although a handsome prince might easily convince her. The didactic message of being loyal and faithful to both family and the individual filters down through the acts, makes for a creative and engaging environment. It is only through   a series of moral challenges and not succumbing to temptations that Cinderella ends up with her prince.
It was clear from the laughing crowd, the giggling and chatter that the play was enjoyed by it general audience. Thanks to the Dr. Annan, MP KEAA and the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry for making it possible.


Frances Black - Projects Abroad
Photography by Laura White

The Ghana Dance Ensemble and The Ghana Drama Troupe, Abibigroma, presented a lively, energetic and colourful version of the classic Cinderella story today, mixing great acting with upbeat songs, dance and music, to create a unique and varied storytelling experience.
The cast, which included Edinam Atatsi, Dzifa Glikpoi and Mawulie Semevor, confidently threw themselves into the roles, and made the play hugely entertaining and fun to watch; they always made sure to engage with the audience, who were predominantly school children. The actresses playing the ugly sisters stood out particularly, making sure that they came across as the spoilt, bullying baddies that every good fairy tale requires. Also standing out was the play’s narrator, whose keen enthusiasm and confidence brought the story to life, and whose animated delivery engaged and drew in the audience.
Unfortunately, despite the obvious passion and hard-work contributed by all those involved in the production, technical problems with the sound system and the microphones used by the actors blighted the performance throughout, and meant that it was often very difficult to hear what was being said. The ominous groans and squeaks of reverb often dominated the air, and sadly this greatly affected the ability of the audience to follow everything that was happening on stage. Credit and praise, however, must be given to the actors and actresses, who took the problems in their stride and did not falter in delivering convincing and vibrant performances for the school children, despite the technical hitches.
Overall, Cynderama was an interesting and lively twist on the traditional, universal tale of the triumph of the underdog, and which in spite of the technical difficulties showed that the actors and musicians involved have a fantastic show and a natural flair for storytelling and entertaining audiences.


Ghanaians have a relaxed attitude towards time where events are unnecessarily delayed, this lateness is known as "African Punctuality".

Time management is the art of arranging, organizing, scheduling, and budgeting one’s time for the purpose of generating more effective work and productivity. Time management and the judicious use of time are very crucial to our personal, family, community and national development.

Time has become crucial in recent years thanks to the busy world in which we live.
Chief Nana Prah Agyensaim VI, Assin Omivenkyi Traditional Area, recently attended a program to congratulate a local school on their 25th anniversary. Mr Agyensaim was two hours late to his speech, and he said he did not feel compelled to give any apologies for his lateness.

A local in Cape Coast was explaining how two Ghanaians make an appointment to meet at a particular time, and yet in both of their minds the meeting time is always at least two hours later than the time they actually agreed to meet. They call it the Ghana Maybe Time (GMT), a corruption of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

The Benefits of Time Management:
1. Control: Proper time management allows you to take some measure of control over your life. By pre-planning your activities you help your days to become ordered.
2. Productivity: Proper time management allows you to be more productive. When you don’t properly manage your time, you often have too many activities and not enough day. Time gets away from you.
3. Confidence: Proper time management gives you confidence. This is partly because you have taken back control of your life.
4. Fun: Proper time management allows you to have more time for fun. By prioritizing and getting the most important and pressing things done first, you then have time to do the things you really want to do.
5. Ability to Meet Goals: Another one of the benefits of time management is the ability to meet your goals. It is nearly impossible to meet your goals when you fail to properly manage your time. This is because you never get around to doing what needs to be done in order to achieve the goals you've set for yourself.

Usually people who have poor time management have no idea where they truly spend their time, They are totally unaware of exactly how much time they waste and they underestimate the amount of time it will take to get a task done, to improve time management make a to-do-list. 

Getting the most out of your To Do List:
1. Think about your daily routine. The tasks that you absolutely have to complete must be accounted for. If they are not they will take time away from the activities on your list.
2. Prioritize each task you put on your list. What comes first? What task can wait a bit but still has to get done by a set time and which activity can be put off for a bit?
3. In order to accomplish all your tasks, you will need to make room for unexpected activities that may crop up. So make sure you make room for them on your To Do List. 

As an individual forget about what the people around you are doing with their time and think, what is my time worth; what am I losing over time and what am I gaining over time. How is my attitude to time affecting what I do and the people I work with? It is only selfish people, who do not care about whose time they waste and what the consequences are to them and to others.

In most developed countries, time is considered of paramount importance; lateness is a sign of rudeness, disrespect and is a cause of anger and frustration. Most nations have strict working and public transportation timetables to adhere to; even five minutes of lateness can cause a business to lose revenue.

In 2009 President John Evans Atta Mills launched a national crusade for time consciousness and punctuality, stressing discipline as the basis for national prosperity, yet not much change has been seen. Adults and people of authority have to set an example for younger individuals and employees. The ‘lateness culture’ in Ghana needs to be eliminated, and fewer excuses have to be made so that Ghana can propel forward.

- Olivia Berry (Projects Abroad)

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Sixty-four asembly members comprising six females and fifty-eight males were  inaugurated at the  ceremonial grounds of Cape Coast Metropolitan assembly sixth  on Tuesday 15th .

The ceremony featured a number of speeches by important guests and also several cultural displays involving dance and music.
The chairman Osabarima Kwesi Atta II  made a poignant speech in which he emphasised the importance of the Assembly, saying that it ‘forms part of the governance of Ghana’, and that it brought government closer to communities. He also reminded those elected of the importance of keeping to the promises that they made and not turning their back on those that elected them, stating that their role was first and foremost to serve the people, to listen to their problems and to set an example, for ‘a better life in Cape Coast’.
The Metropolitan Chief Executive, Anthony Egyir Aikins disclosed that the Cape Coast Stadium,Kotokuraba and Kotoka markets  would be constructed this year to give the city a facelift.
 He implored Assembly members to ‘take decisions that will be in the best interests of Cape Coast’, and to show maturity, understanding and unity. In addition to this, he highlighted the crucial importance of completing projects on time.
Assembly members being sworn in by the High Court Judge
Other issues raised during the day included helping children living on the street through fostering, family planning and education, and the increase in the charge for using public toilets. One individual even raised the possibility of opening a sports complex for Cape Coast.
The Assembly members were then sworn in by a High Court Judge, during which process they repeated their oaths together.
Another highpoint of the day was a speech from President John Atta Mills read by an individual at the ceremony. Mills heralded the inauguration as ‘an important milestone’ and ‘a mark of confidence that people have in you’.

- Frances Black (Projects Abroad)

Photography by Olivia Berry


The Social Welfare coordinators at Cape Coast Metro Assembly have decided to take a stand on unregulated day care centres.

H.H Kunbah from Child Protection in the Social Welfare department stated that day care centres hold a considerable amount of responsibility caring for younger children, teaching them life skills whilst their parents are at work or otherwise occupied. It is a great opportunity for young childen to socialise with others before they reach school, and to start simple education and interactive activities.

After inspecting various new day care centres and speaking to  local propieters, a need arose to educate and regulate the daycare industry. Social Welfare ran a workshop to educate owners of day care centres with their lawful requirements.

The premises of the day care centres will first be visited by the planning department who will confirm that the centre is not near a major road, public toilet or rubbish dump. It is also a requirement to have a substantial wall surrounding the day care centre to prevent children from straying.

Felicia Ankrah, Director of Social Welfare at Cape Coast Metro wanted to make clear to the audience of the workshop that a day care centre is not a school and as a result had many different requirements. The Social Welfare plan to inspect all day care centres in the Cape Coast area to check various regulations. These include having play equipment and toys, having daily routine charts and mattresses.

It is also a prerequisite to feed the children a hot meal. This obligation lead to a heated discussion at the day care forum, as some propetiers were frustrated to be operating like a charity as parents neglected to pay their fees. It appeared that some of the requirements were not practical for owners to initiate without support from Social Welfare.

Social Welfare will also be inspecting premises for washing facilities which include running water and soap. Toilet facilities (W/C), drinking water and children’s detailed personal records would also be viewed. Mrs Ankrah endevours to have one attendant and one care giver to every 25 children. 

All members of the forum and workshop insisted that the Metro Assembly should follow up on their reports and inspections so that day care centres can improve or be punished if they wrere running illegal operations, which gives a farier foundation to the whole industry.

It is also encouraged for day care centres to only admit children after 6 months of age so that they can have breast milk from birth. Although it was admitted that this is difficult since the national maternity leave is three months. Mrs Ankrah said this is a fine opportunity for families to be encouraged to start planning their children.

The biggest requirement will be trained attendees to assist the children. A sixteen week program will be introduced that trains individuals on a variety of different subjects like First Aid, Child development, methods of teaching young children and how to manage a day care centre. Trainees will also be taught nutrition and personal hygiene for young children, laws surrounding children, how to keep accurate records of students and simple accounting.

All trainees will also be required to do practical work to make sure they use organisational policies, procedures and individual children’s profiles to plan activities and provide care to children, facilitating their leisure and play and enabling them to achieve their developmental outcomes.

Augustina Dadzie from St Anns preschool, said they workshop was a success. “Most people did not know the rules and regulations surrounding preschools; today’s forum meant we now have all the necessary information to register our schools and be kept up to date with new policies.”

Mrs Dadzie was concerned that she would lose staff to the training program, but it was decided that the program would take up a mere four hours of each day so that day care centres suffer as little impact as possible.

All day care centre owners are urged to visit the Social Wefare department at Cape Coast Metro Department to make sure they are adhering to all new regulations, rules and registrations or risk imprisonment and/or immense fines as per the Childrens Act 1998.
-Olivia Berry (Projects Abroad)