By Theophilus Mensah
In early October, Rotary Foundation Chair Paul Netzel was on hand to open the West Africa Project Fair in Accra, Ghana, where Rotary and USAID are partnering to improve sustainable access to water, sanitation and hygiene in six regions of the country.
The project fair, as the name suggests, involves Rotary clubs across the West Africa sub-region, and is in its 12th year. It serves as an excellent forum for local clubs to show off their projects and establish partnerships with international clubs to secure the financial and technical support needed to implement projects in the region.
The Ghana Host Committee of the H2O Collaboration decided it would be good to have a booth at the fair, to showcase this unique public-private partnership, build awareness, and seek the support of new technical advisers and financial donors. As project manager of the committee, I assisted Ako Odotei, the committee chair, in setting up our booth and providing information. We were located near a staircase, which turned out to be a very strategic location.
We welcomed members from the Rotary clubs of Accra, Accra Legon, Accra Dansoman, Sunyani Central, Tema, and Accra RRC, many of whom expressed support for our efforts. Frank Owusu Debrah, past president of Sunyani Central, noted how important it is to help Rotarians gain a clearer understanding of the project. He believes it will dispel any negative perceptions and motivate more members to give toward meeting the $200,000 Rotary has agreed to raise in each country.
Rotarians in Nigeria and Niger were also excited about the water and sanitation improvements, and expressed interest in developing a similar WASH program in their home country.
All in all, I was very pleased with the results of the fair, which was well organized and well attended. We were able to provide valuable visibility to the collaboration.
Learn more about the Rotary-USAID International H2O Collaboration