Accra, Ghana 16 November 2020 – The UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed visited the informal settlements of Ussher Town and Jamestown in Ghana’s capital which have been transformed by UN-Habitat’s work with Government and the community.
The Deputy Secretary-General who is also Chair of the Sustainable Development Group, saw the results of the people-centred approach to slum upgrading which has resulted in a wide range of community and public spaces being used sport, studying, handicraft and other cultural and commercial activities.
The Mayor of Accra, the Project Director of the Gamashie Development Agency and the Secretary of the Community Development Committee took the high-level delegation, which also included the Special Representative of the Secretary General to the African Union Hannah Serwaa Tetteh to see infrastructure built by the community as part of UN-Habitat’s Slum Upgrading Programme (PSUP). This included paved streets, drainage, water points, public bath houses and repaired sewerage networks and hygiene facilities. The community involvement cut construction costs by half and created new skills.
They also saw the refurbished Ga Mashie Development Agency (GAMADA) office which serves as a homework centre for children, a basketball court, boxing gym and an open area for meetings, all aimed at ensuring full participation, increased safety and social integration.
The Deputy Secretary-General, who is on a two day visit to Ghana as part of a wider regional tour, spoke to young people, women and adolescent girls about the Community Managed Funds, getting training and support to come up with business initiatives and accessing a loan to be paid back to a community managed revolving fund. Many of these business initiatives are delivering basic services to the community such as water, sanitation and hygiene facilities. PSUP has enabled 3600 women and youth to access affordable finance for business and commercial activities.
The UN-Habitat project in the area was started in 2013 by UN-Habitat’s Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme (PSUP), initiated by Organization of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, and financed by the European Commission.
UN-Habitat has also provided the informal settlements, which are located in the Ga Mashie district, with facilities for handwashing, water tanks and standpipes, masks and sanitizers to prevent the spread of COVID-19, financed by UN-Habitat’s Emergency Fund and by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).
The collaborative project has been selected by Dubai Expo 2020 as a Best Practice Winner and the story about the PSUP project is on the World Expo website and will be presented in an exhibition during the EXPO from October 2021 to March 2022.