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Published on: 25/04/2013

Mr. Bugase was delivering his opening remarks at a Sustainable Services at Scale (Triple-S) Ghana project Reflections meeting in Accra. The Triple-S Project is an initiative to address the challenge of sustainability of rural water supply. The Project is hosted in Ghana by the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA), the governmental agency responsible for facilitating and regulating the rural water sector in Ghana. The Triple-S Reflections meeting was to provide opportunity for self assessment of the project for the period it has run, take stock of what has been done so far, celebrate successes and achievements, acknowledge challenges and strategies to move with remaining activities till the end of the project.

 Mr. Bugase, recalling some key decisions since the beginning of the project said, “We started this journey (of the Triple-S Project) together about three years ago and we all agreed this was going to be a project with a difference; a project where we will not start with a pre-determined outputs, outcomes, methodologies and milestones but a general idea of what was expected by the time official activities of the project are winding down”.

Mr Bugase stated however that “The winding down of Triple-S activities will be the starting point of mainstreaming all the ideas, processes, techniques and technologies we would have developed through the learning process of the project into CWSA’s way of doing things as far as providing sustainable water and water related sanitation services is concerned”.

Mr. Bugase continued that “Along the line in the project we defined for ourselves what we mean by services, what components of our service if handled well will result in sustained high level of service to our clients and we also determined what we call the service indicators which will serve as a guide to the rural water sub-sector whenever we examine our facilities and service delivery”.

He reiterated the need for functionality of facilities in sustainable service delivery “We have gone further to say that for the services to be sustainable, the facilities should be functional. The facilities must be functional all the time to meet the demands of the users. It should therefore be able to provide a level of output that it was designed to provide each time”.

He said these are some of the ideas that the Triple-S project will leave with us but asks “All these years that we have been with Triple-S, what have able to do, and most importantly, to what extent have we prepared ourselves to mainstream these ideas and processes into the activities of CWSA such that they become part of our day-to-day way of doing things and therefore resulting in functional facilities and sustainable services that we have always wanted to provide?”.

There were presentations by Tyhra Carolyn Kumasi, a Senior Research Officer of Triple-S, on Project Implementation Update from November 2009- March 2013, and Veronica Ayi-Bontey, National Learning Facilitator for IRC/Triple-S, on Signs of progress and analysis of what works and what does not.

The most significant signs of progress were the demonstration of uptake, leadership for scaling up by CWSA and funding by other development partners,  opportunities for co-funding to scale-up service monitoring also emerged, for example, UNICEF and SNV supported scaling up of service monitoring in 10 districts in the Northern Region of Ghana. District assemblies in the pilot districts also led and financed remedial actions to address issues of non-functionality of systems while some initiated and co-financed the second round of service monitoring.

On the next steps, it was agreed on the need to extend the project concept to the other remaining 7 CWSA regional offices which are non-Triple-S focus regions. This will include the development of a structure for sustainability in all regions.  This is to institutionalise the Triple-S concept in CWSA because ‘the beginning of change starts from within an existing system before it can positively impact on others’. Life Cycle Cost Approach (LCCA) training will be organised in all 10 regions. This will enable CWSA to act as resource persons to District Assemblies.

It was also noted that the discussion about sustainability at the policy level is being translated into concrete actions in policy and sector operational document reviews to guide the code of practice in the rural water sector.  GOG has initiated a process to review the Ghana SWA Compact to include a section on sustainability. A critical element of this is the translation of the 2012 SWA commitment statement on adoption of a service delivery approach into the Ghana compact. Drafts of National community Water and Sanitation Strategy (NCWSS), Project Implementation Manual (PIM) and Districts Operational Manual (DOM) have been prepared for technical review; and a plan for engagement towards building consensus for adoption and use of the operational documents has been developed. Government and other key actors continued to show interest in enhancing their knowledge on the service delivery approach and learn from experiences of other countries.

 Compiled by Victor Narteh Otum, DCO-IRC Ghana - April 25, 2013

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