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Published on: 28/11/2011

A water and sanitation Expert, Mr. Robert Van Ess, has therefore called for the harmonisation of the project cycle for implementing WASH service across all projects in Ghana.

This is part of his recommendations following a review of the current project cycle for implementing WASH Services. Mr. Van Ess was speaking at a National Learning Alliance meeting, organized to share findings of the review of the project cycle in Accra.

Triple-S Ghana is working with the Community Water and Sanitation Agency to assess the relevance of the various phases of the project cycle, how it has been implemented across projects and the impact on long-term sustainability of WASH Services.

According to Mr. Van Ess, the involvement of local government in the delivery of WASH services is minimal.

He said “roles of local government in the provision of WASH services  within the  decentralization framework of Ghana  should be revisited, properly defined and formalised to ensure that the processes of making water available to people at the district level were adhered to”.

He noted during interactions with WASH focal persons across the various regions, it was obvious the Regional Coordinating Councils (RCC) had not been fully integrated into the WASH project implementation at the regional level. He said apart from the initial regional project start-up workshops, the regions involvement in WASH project activities has been limited to attending meetings, processing tender documents for award of contracts by the Regional Tender Committee etc.

Mr. Van Ess

Mr. Van Ess observes, although the RCCs have a critical role to play in coordination, monitoring and evaluation of project implementation at the district level, WASH project activities are not a priority for them due to their level of involvement. He said this could have a negative impact on the long-term sustainability of water and sanitation facilities in the regions.

He said, “It is rather saddening that the WASH projects have not featured strongly in the co-ordination, monitoring and evaluation of the development projects at the Regional Coordinating Councils”.

This was corroborated by a representative from the Ashanti region, Mrs Lucy Owusu Ansah, WASH Focal person.

Mrs. Lucy Owusu Ansah, WASH Focal person

She was of the opinion that RCCs   need a platform for sharing information on WASH activities in order to know what is going well, the challenges etc, in order to move toward sustainability. She said “it takes time to get districts to function as they should. We should know their roles and responsibilities in every project, in order to provide the oversight support required of them.”

On the part of District Assemblies (DA’s), Mr. Van Ess, observes they have been involved in some aspects of project implementation from the promotion phase to the community development and construction of facilities., This notwithstanding, DAs are not happy about situations where consultants and contractors have executed contracts in their districts without their knowledge. For example, some NGO’s go directly to communities to construct facilities without involving the District Assemblies. This he observed does not make the District Assemblies to assume full ownership of these projects when completed, affecting post-project management. .

He said “District Assemblies do not see themselves in full control of projects implementation and that their sub structures are not playing any role in WASH activities.”

Speaking on the topic “Beyond the project cycle”, Dr. Patrick Moriarty, Director of IRC Ghana, who also doubles as Triple-S International Director said the sector needs to begin looking at a service delivery cycle, instead of a project cycle that delivers facilities and moves on. Dr Moriarty, , observed the sector needs to think about the original project(time limited activity) within a broader cycle that makes provision for monitoring water services as per national norms and standards as well as post construction support and capital maintenance expenditure.  He proposed a service delivery cycle as captured in his presentation.

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