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Mr. Kojo Akoto Boateng, Broadcast Journalist and Environmental Activist, has encouraged members of the Ghana Institution of Engineering (GhIE) to adopt an advocacy approach to flooding and sanitation in Ghana. He said this at a Panel Discussion organised by GhIE as part of its 50th Anniversary Conference dubbed: “GhIE@50: Engineering Ghana’s Sustainable Development”, at the International Students Guest Centre (ISGC) – Teiman, Accra.

Speaking on the theme “Engineering and Society: Flooding and Sanitation”, Mr. Kojo Akoto Boateng noted that activism and advocacy are important tools that can be used to effectively headline issues related to flooding and sanitation. According to him, engineers in the country have taken a subtler approach to dealing with issues related to flooding and sanitation, hence allowing less knowledgeable people to tackle such issues.   

Ing. Anthony Mensah, Director of the Environmental Health and Sanitation Directorate, Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources (MSWR), in a remark noted government’s commitment to improving sanitation and waste management in the country. He highlighted ongoing government initiatives such as the Integrated Urban Environmental Sanitation Master Plan (IUESMP), aimed at sanitation and waste management challenges confronting the national capital. Mr. Mensah also encouraged members to actively participate in governance in order to promote change.

On his part, Politician and Civil Engineer, Ing. Kwabena Agyapong spoke on the need for proper planning of cities to avert disasters that often affect the country during rainy seasons. Adding that building regulations have been substituted for planning regulations in Ghana, thus an “area should be declared a planned area” before one can build. He further noted that, engineers are “duty bound” to ensure the right thing is done.

A member of the panel, Ing. Dr. (Mrs.) Celestina Allotey implored the institution to encourage activism by supporting members who speak on sensitive issues and stand-up for what is right. She also challenged members to hold themselves accountable by being ethical in their day-to-day operations. Adding that, “we must be able to turn the spotlight on ourselves” when dealing with criticisms.  

In his closing remarks, Mr. Kojo Akoto Boateng encouraged the institution to setup a marketing and communication function aimed at influencing policy and creating awareness in the public sphere.