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Published on: 20/07/2012

Traditional chiefs appealed to the Accra Municipal Assembly (AMA) that central funding to the WASH sector is not reaching their districts. This results in a disastrous situation that affects all irrespective of who you are. This was said during a budget tracking exercise organized by the NGO network CONIWAS in Accra.

The exercise was conducted by CONIWAS through its member, Global Neighbourhood Healthcare Development [GLONEHDO], with support from Water Aid Ghana. Traditional chiefs, assembly men, WaterAid representatives and some community members analysed and discussed how much of the central budget allocated to water and santiation is reaching the districts and villages in Northern Ghana. The exercise was aimed at promoting more transparency, participation and accountability in the budget processes. It demonstrated how civil society can use budget information and public participation to strengthen and increase support for policies and contribute to oversight.

Traditional chief Mr. Nii Amarkai IV in a summary of perceptions of chiefs on water and sanitation funding, said they are very pleased for the opportunity given to them by CONIWAS, and hoped that his colleagues will involve themselves in the issues of water and sanitation.

Traditional chief Mr. Nii Amarkai IV, copyright Peter Simon Sekuma, 2012 He outlined the following issues as major concerns that needed to be given more attention:
  • Recognition of traditional authorities as mouth piece of their communities.
  • Adequate information on funding for water and sanitation projects in their communities to enable them to monitor its effective execution.
  • Need to participate in the budget process since taxes are collected in the communities for development projects on water and sanitation.

Another chief, Mr. Ga Mantse said although the issue of water and sanitation is a personal matter, people living in communities have leaders they look up to when it comes to issues beyond their control. He was grateful that the traditional authorities have been recognized by CONIWAS at such a time when the water and sanitation situation in most communities is nothing to write home about.

The AMA representative said they are willing to engage with traditional authorities to ensure development of communities, especially with matters related to sanitation.

Mr. Benjamin Arthur, the executive secretary of CONIWAS in a brief statement to the meeting thanked the traditional leaders for accepting to come along with CONIWAS in a fight for fair allocation resources to the WASH sector. He added that all the known sewage treatment plants for faecal matter are not working, and most of our rural toilets  are not working hygienically. The result is that we are polluting our environment and must be mindful of the health implication to the nation. He further reminded the chiefs that in 2010 the government of Ghana at the Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) meeting in Accra pledged to commit 0.5% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to sanitation, but only made provision for 0.1% in the 2011 budget. This was reflected by the low figures allocated to water and sanitation. He said the government had to do more than just make promises and serve the people as it promised.

In conclusion the representative from WaterAid Ghana said in order to ensure that the vulnerable groups in society get a fair share of revenue allocation, CSOs like CONIWAS have to continue monitoring how the government is actually spending the public funds, with a focus on leakages as resources flow downstream.

He presented copies of the Ghana Compact to the chiefs with the hope that they will read it and be able to hold government accountable to its promises to the WASH sector in order to track what is due to their communities.


Photo: Traditional chief receiving copies of the Ghana Compact, copyright Peter Simon Sekuma, 2012

Article by Peter Simon Sekuma from NETWAS Uganda, who spent nine months working for CONIWAS in Ghana, as part of IRC's Southern Youth Zone Programme (2011-2012). 

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