Almost two months after 3FM 92.7’s Community Connect programme took up the issue of the non-existence of a place of convenience for the Kanda Estates Cluster of Schools, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly has woken up to its task and finishing a 12-seater facility that was left idle for over two years.
The lack of the facility left pupils of the Schools and tutors numbering close to 1,000 at the mercy of nature, since they had to go and ease themselves in a nearby open gutter or bush, notwithstanding the dangers involved.
Some of the pupils are as young as three years and are compelled to defaecate in open spaces behind the school, nicknamed “Borma” by the pupils.
3FM 92.7 broke the story on April 7, 2017 on Community Connect, a community advocacy programme that seeks to bring duty bearers to task.
Initial checks by Community Connect proved that the project had stalled due to the maze of bureaucracy within the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) and the Ghana Education Service (GES).
On that occasion, Reverend Jonathan Bettey, PRO of the Ghana Education Service promised to get the situation rectified in seven days but that did not happen.
Asked how soon the situation could be rectified, Rev. Bettey said “the children are already used to defaecating in the open and one more week would not be a problem; so they should bear with us”.
The Community Connect team followed up with the AMA and got the new Mayor to get officers to respond quickly to the needs of the Schools by getting another contractor back on site.
It emerged that the first contractor, a Ghanaian, even though had been paid fully could not execute the project, leaving building materials on site at the mercy of the weather. It was then re-awarded to a Chinese contractor.
Teachers in the school in a chat earlier with 3FM 92.7 expressed disgust about the situation and urged the authorities to act with speed to avoid an outbreak of cholera.
“The situation is very disturbing. First of all, we do not have a place as teachers to go ease ourselves or visit the washroom and have to make do with make-shift sites or nearby ones,” a teacher said, “or in other cases we are compelled to use the open gutters or bushes around.”
They showed excitement and great relief when Johnnie Hughes, host of the show, visited the Schools with his team to acquaint themselves with the progress of work last Friday.
“We are happy and now know that radio gets results. We really appreciate 3FM’s intervention which got the authorities to act,” the teachers echoed.
Head of Accra Sanitation Improvement Project of the AMA Stephen Ackon promised work would be completed within a week from Friday May 19, 2017.
An old facility constructed during Colonel Kutu Acheampong’s regime was demolished in 2014.
But no provision was made for the over 700 pupils and teachers who usually spend the entire day in and around the school.
Community Connect airs every Friday from 3.00 pm to 4.00 on 3FM 92.7.
By Gideon Sackitey|Producer, Community Connect|Ghana