The KNUST – Africa Institute of Sanitation and Waste Management (K-AISWAM) has begun a specialised postgraduate diploma and certificate programme in urban planning, environmental sanitation and waste management for metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs).
The five months training, which began last Saturday, forms part of the institute’s effort to bridge the gap in the water and sanitation sector by building the capacity of the MMDAs to deliver the facilities and the services required to reach the millennium development goal (MDG) on sanitation.
It is also to equip the MMDAs with the skills and knowledge to access sanitation needs, design and implement appropriate and sustainable solutions to environmental sanitation and waste management and also the development needs of their respective assemblies.
About 45 participants from the various MMDAs in the country, excluding the Northern Region, are attending the programme.
In depth programme
At a ceremony to commence the programme, the PROVOST of K-AISWAM, Professor Ernest Yanful, said although the programme was designed for staff of the MMDAs, other individuals and organisations that provided environmental services could also attend.
That, he said, was to help bridge the gap in the industry, which included the waste management service providers, generators, managers and academia.
He said aside from building the capacity of the MMDAs, they would also be opened to new areas in waste management such as entrepreneurship in waste management, waste financing and project management, among others.
“And so we are thinking that the students who would graduate from the programme would not just have a broad background but also the in-depth knowledge to be able to tackle the challenges that they face in the water and sanitation sector”, he said.
Professor Yanful, therefore, urged the participants to take advantage of the programme as they would gain a lot of experience that would help them.
Utilise the facilities
On the need for capacity building and development within the MMDAs, the Executive Chairman of the Jospong Group of Companies, Mr Joseph Siaw Agyepong, said the area of water and sanitation had over the years received huge investment from donor partners but tapping and using it for the benefit and development of the society had not been achieved.
“We, therefore, need policy makers like you from the district assemblies and other agencies to address the issues on the ground because if we continue to bring in other development planners from other countries and they do not understand the chemistry and traditions in the county, they will always give us something for the short term,” he said.
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