The World Bank is to provide an amount of $8 million to support the establishment of a Regional Water and Environmental Sanitation Centre in Kumasi (RWESCK) to help tackle the global threat of climate change.
The project, which will be sited on the campus of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi, is to be completed within one-and-a-half years.
It is expected to scale up research, training and capacity building of both students and other stakeholders in sectors such as water and sanitation.
This was disclosed at a consultative workshop and launch of the centre in Kumasi. The project that would produce experts in water and sanitation management is a collaboration among the centre, the World Bank and the government.
The meeting brought together experts in the water and sanitation sectors in the West African sub-region who discussed the way forward in the management of water bodies and environmental sanitation.
The Head of the centre, Prof. Samuel Nii Odai, indicated that the project had been running since 2009 and that it had already trained over 300 Master’s and 20 PHd graduates in the water and sanitation sectors.
According to him, the availability of the fund would help streamline the programme with a permanent office accommodation and equipment to facilitate effective teaching and learning.
Prof. Odai, who also doubles as the Pro-Vice Chancellor of the KNUST, said the RWESCK was established following a research which showed that there were low coverage of water and inadequate toilet facilities in most parts of the country.
He said it was for that reason the centre was facilitating research and postgraduate training in water and sanitation to help address the challenges in those sectors.
Sequel to the meeting, the centre proposed the placement of students for internship at the relevant bodies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help design appropriate solutions to threats of climate change.
A five-member steering committee was set up to advise the centre on the way forward.
The Vice Chancellor of the KNUST, Prof. William Otoo-Ellis, who launched the RWESCK, witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by the various stakeholders to guide and actualise their agenda.