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Published on: 06/07/2022

WASH debates


Monday, 26 September the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of The Netherlands, RVO (Netherlands Enterprise Agency) and IRC convened a WASH Debate on the future of public-private partnerships, commonly referred to as PPPs. Audience members discovered the unique contributions, challenges and benefits of this collaboration between companies and government as it relates to the acceleration of the water, sanitation and hygiene development goals.

Showcasing the lessons learned from the Dutch government’s Ghana WASH Window specifically, this WASH Debate explored the following questions:

  1. To what extent and through which strategies, are public-private partnerships (PPPs) able to address the dual objectives of creating financially sustainable businesses and serving low-income populations?
  2. How has the Ghana WASH Window programme been able to overcome the complexity of setting-up PPPs? How do the benefits outweigh the initial challenges?
  3. What are some of the unique innovations which are made possible by PPPs?
  4. How does a larger number of PPPs in a specific country context affect outcomes?

Watch the recording


Meet the speakers

 Ghana Netherlands WASH Programme 2012-2022

Janet Dufie Arthur is a WASH and Climate Policy Officer at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Ms. Janet Arthur is a public health professional who has worked at the Netherlands Embassy for the past six years.

She manages the embassy's WASH portfolio known as the Ghana Netherlands WASH programme in which the Ghana WASH Window is embedded.



 Creating wealth from waste: Lessons from Ghana

Philip Amoah (PhD) is an expert in water quality and food safety with international recognition. In 2000, he joined the International Board for Soil Research and Management (IBSRAM) as a Research Officer. In 2001, after IBSRAM's integration in the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Philip became involved in several research projects and activities related to environmental and human health with a special focus on microbiological water quality and food safety issues. He took over (next to IWMI) the project leadership of the SaniPath project which assessed faecal exposure pathways in low-income urban settings.
Philip was a member of WHO Water Quality Technical Advisory Group whose main task was to assist in updating and implementing the work plans on water quality that lead to new Editions of the three WHO guidelines. In recent years, he has been involved (and even led) several resource recovery and reuse projects which includes setting up sanitation businesses through public private partnerships.


 Leveraging Partnerships for Advancing Safe Water Enterprises in Ghana

Joseph Ampadu-Boakye serves as Safe Water Network's Head of Partnerships and Business Development in Ghana. He leads strategic partnerships, advocacy, fundraising, grant writing, reporting, and communications. He is passionate about improving access to basic services in underserved communities.

Previously, he worked with MAPLE Consult as a Senior Consultant, where he played key roles in the formulation of national policy, design, and field implementation of water, sanitation, and hygiene projects in Ghana. He has consulted for the Government of Ghana and several bilateral and multi-lateral organisations, including DANIDA, the World Bank, the European Union, KfW, and GTZ. His strong interface with relevant stakeholders in Ghana's WASH sector across varied levels enables effective collaboration with funders and implementing partners.
He holds a MSc in Development Planning and Management (SPRING Programme), jointly awarded by Technische Universität Dortmund, Germany, and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana.


Football for water, sanitation and hygiene

Emma Lesterhuis is a Regional Manager South-West Africa with VEI. She's been working with VEI for ten years first working in Ghana as project coordinator, later became a WASH officer and coordinated VEIs projects to increase access to WASH in low income areas funded by the Water for Life foundation. Over the years she was involved in several partnerships in different countries working on school WASH projects.

She very passionate to see how children are motivated and can be agents of change to improve wellbeing within communities. In Ghana she was project manager for the Football for Water project, through which they achieved access to WASH services at 101 schools, in cooperation with the Municipalities, the Ministry, VEI, ProNet, Beyond the Goalpost and the KNVB. During this event she will share the importance of partnership in realising a successful project.



Presentations will be followed by a panel reflection across the cases and discussion between presenters, panel members and audience.
Panel members will include:

Fred Smiet

Fred Smiet has a professional career in international Environment and Water Management topics, spanning 44 years and more than 15 countries and regions. Working mainly in the development cooperation context, he has ample experience at policy and operational levels as a consultant and as staff member of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague and at various Embassies. Now retired, he works as a consultant for ENVCONSULT.

With a broad background in environmental issues, he has specialized in water resources management (IWRM), including WASH, as well as with water management as a theme in other sectors such as Climate and Food Security. Further experience centered on water management includes: policy development, operational level management, public-private partnerships, project appraisal and implementation, monitoring and evaluation, donor coordination.


Ingeborg Krukkert has more than 20 years of international development experience. While at IRC she has been involved in various disciplines and areas starting with information and communication. She has since lead the Asia and India Country Programme with a focus on sanitation and hygiene and worked with the Africa country teams on district-wide approaches related to WASH systems change.

Ingeborg currently leads a new business unit focused on developing a regional programme in Asia and new country programmes in Mali and Niger. Her passion lies in working with people and in thematic areas of waste, energy, climate nexuses and finding ways to engage with the private sector. She has a postgraduate degree in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, an MA in Anthropology, BA in Psychology and training in Information Technology.


Michiel SlotemaMichiel Slotema is an operational and programme management professional with over 25 years experience working in an embassy, INGOs and private sector. He currently works at RVO as the FDW program coordinator advisor for the Partner for Water (PvW) program Bangladesh.




Moderators Gábor L. Szántó, CP3P is coordinator of the Ghana WASH Window programme and senior advisor for international WASH initiatives at the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, a department of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate. He has over twenty years of experience in the water, wastewater and (organic) waste sectors.
Since 2001, he has been involved in practice-oriented and academic research projects aiming at the development of emission-poor, economically sustainable waste treatment processes.

Since 2007, he is involved in research and innovations in WASH method applications in emerging economies. Since that time he has been active in several countries of East and West Africa, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Since 2016, Gabor advises PPP-based, inclusive WASH initiatives in Ghana, Jordan and the West Bank and contributes to sustainable WASH business development and infrastructural investments alike.


Stef Smits is a senior programme officer, heading IRC's consulting department, IRC Consult. He has 20 years of professional experience in water supply and sanitation in over 25 countries in Europe, Latin America, Southern Africa, and South Asia. His main thematic expertise includes: institutional models for water supply, sustainability and enabling environment, monitoring, costing and financing of services and integrated water resources management.
Stef has led numerous projects on these topics, and published about them. In addition, he has ample management expertise: from consultancy assignments to multi-annual programmes, and units within an organisation. He has worked for a range of clients including bilateral donors, development banks, research funders and NGOs. Stef holds an MSc degree in Irrigation and Water Engineering from Wageningen University, The Netherlands.





17:00 Words of words
Stef Smits, IRC
Michel de Zwart, Ghana WASH Window Coordinator

17:10 Introduction
Gábor Szántó, Netherlands Enterprise Agengy (RVO)

17:15 Presentations

  • The role of public-private partnerships in the support of water sector strategies
    Janet Arthur, Netherlands Embassy in Accra
  • Creating wealth from waste: Lessons from Ghana
    Philip Amoah, IWMI
  • Leveraging Partnerships for Advancing Safe Water Enterprises in Ghana 
    Joseph Ampadu-Boakye
  • How we improved WASH services at 101 schools in a successful partnership
    Emma Lesterhuis, VEI

17:55 Panel discussion with questions from the audience

  • Fred Smiet, Former Senior Policy Officer at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Accra, Consultant ENVConsult
  • Ingeborg Krukkert, New Focus Countries Lead, IRC
  • Michiel Slotema, Sustainable Water Fund (FDW) Programme Coordinator and Partners for Water (PvW) Bangladesh Advisor, Netherlands Enterprise Agengy (RVO)
  • Moderation: Gábor Szántó, (RVO)

18:30 Closure and summary
Stef Smits, IRC

Background on the event

One of the key tenets of the Dutch water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) policy is leveraging public finance and attracting private finance to the WASH sector. Public-private partnerships (PPPs) are one of the effective means of achieving lasting impact. Over the past decade, a large number of PPP initiatives have been implemented: through the Sustainable Water Fund (FDW), the Facility for Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Food security (FDOV), and the Ghana WASH Window (GWW), a dedicated PPP-facility focused on a single country.

Strengthening executing capacity is core to the current PPP approach. This is necessary as implementation often includes diverse activities, e.g., public sensitisation, market development, construction and business development. Despite the fact that there is a sustainable business case to invest in the WASH, or broader water sector, upfront investments are required. Moreover, to reach certain low-income or otherwise vulnerable populations, public investments may also be needed. The private sector does not only attract investment but also innovation in technologies and business processes, for example. However, since PPPs are often complex in their organisational and financial set-up, the transaction costs are relatively high.

As next generations of PPPs are being identified and formulated, it becomes crucial to reflect on the lessons and insights gained from the previous PPPs. RVO and IRC are therefore co-hosting this WASH debate as a means of illuminating and sharing key learnings to inform and improve the next generations of PPPs in the WASH/water sector.

The debate will draw on the experience of PPPs under the Ghana WASH Window programme in particular. Concentrating on a specific example in order to understand how different projects shape PPPs within the same context. Most importantly, the event will identify how to take the collective experience and knowledge further. It will explore how these lessons may inform and strengthen future programmes or projects that will be carried out in other countries and contexts.

To learn more about how the Ghana WASH Window programme watch “From WASH and waste management to business in Ghana”.


The Ghana WASH Window is funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of The Netherlands in Ghana.

This event is brought to you by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of The Netherlands, RVO (Netherlands Enterprise Agency) and IRC.


This event is brought to you by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of The Netherlands, RVO (Netherlands Enterprise Agency) and IRC.

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