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Published on: 17/04/2014

The Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Alhaji Collins Dauda, has called on stakeholders in the Rural Water Sub-sector to harmonize their operations and activities to avoid duplication of efforts.

The minister made this remark when he launched a set of operational documents for the rural water sub-sector in Accra on March 18, 2014. The event forms part of activities commemorating the 2014 World Water Day. It was under the theme:"Water and Energy: Achieving sustainable WASH services for all in Ghana".

Why the documents are needed?

In his keynote address, Alhaji Dauda,described the launch of the documents as "another milestone in the national effort at bringing safe water and improved sanitation and hygiene services to our rural communities and small towns".

He observed that the water and sanitation sector is made up of multiple stakeholders who are all implementing various forms of activities and projects. However, these are largely being implemented on a project-based approach, rather than being considered part of a larger harmonised programme for development.

Tasked by the Government to produce strategy and operational documents, the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) developed a set of operational documents for the rural water sub-sector in collaboration with key stakeholders to provide an environment that ensures a harmonised approach to providing water and sanitation service delivery. The documents are the National Community Water and Sanitation Strategy (NCWSS), the Project Implementation Manual (PIM), the District Operational Manual (DOM), the Framework for Assessing and Monitoring Rural and Small Town Water Supply Services in Ghana and its How-To-Do Guide.

These documents should help in clarifying objectives, defining roles and responsibilities and building strong partnerships across all key stakeholders to improve the delivery of water and sanitation services. When the documents are properly used, it will provide directions for stakeholders to follow laid down procedures in the delivery of services and ensure quality of work.

Alhaji Dauda said 'It is my hope that the launch of these sector operational document would bring about the needed change in the sector to the benefit of rural and small town dwellers in Ghana. I urge all sector players to use them and provide feedback for future improvement on subsequent versions".

How will the documents facilitate activities in the sector

Mr. Clement Bugase, Chief Executive Officer, CWSA, in his welcome address noted that while CWSA can speak of appreciable levels of successes in the rural water sub-sector, they have unfortunately, not been able to publish all their guidance documents.The non-publication of the operational documents and their inaccessibility by stakeholders, has resulted in many fragmented methods, processes, and implementation procedures

He expressed the hope that the availability of these operational documents now will not only help streamline collaboration and harmonisation of implementation of community water and sanitation programmes, but also serve as reference materials for stakeholders at all levels in the sector.

Mr. Bugase expressed profound appreciation to the Board and management of CWSA for their immense support and acknowledged in particular the commitment by the technical committees of CWSA, Triple-S and IRC towards the development of these documents.

Solidarity messages on launch of Documents

Solidarity messages were delivered by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Development Partners and the Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation. They all commended the Ministry of Water Resources Works and Housing and CWSA for taking this important step and pledged their support to collaborate in the use of the sector operational documents. The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development pledged to provide oversight to Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to ensure application of the standards and norms for water service delivery as provided in the operational documents.

The Canadian High Commissioner, His Excellency Christopher Thornley speaking on behalf of Development Partners observed that the launch of the key water sector operational manuals is a step forward in refining Ghana's water and sanitation vision and called on Government to finalize the Water Sector Strategic Development Plan.

Announcement of the Hilton Foundation support

Mr. Chris Dunston, a representative of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, expressed his delight at the launch of the document which will contribute to bring about sustainable water and sanitation delivery.

He said the implementation of water and sanitation facilities involve huge funds and there is, therefore the need to put in place measures to ensure that they work as they should. However, research shows that a lot of these facilities are not functioning as they should. It was therefore good news to see what the Triple-S project is doing in that direction to ensure sustainability. The Hilton Foundation has therefore approved funding for CWSA and IRC Ghana to scale up the Triple-S project to ten districts throughout the country.

"We have been able to secure $3 million for 3 years to allow this to occur and we look forward to working with other development partners in Ghana to scale this up further in a more cost effective way'. He said the Foundation is excited about how this will help the transition to a more sustainable approach. He said in the past, there was concentration on increasing access for rural coverage, however now that coverage has increased, attention is moving to ensuring that these assets become reliable to deliver services.

The Sector Reflection session

The event also provided a platform for reflection on three sub-themes:

  • Water and Energy: the inter-linkages between water and energy (Power generation, supply and costs) and implications for scaling up sustainable WASH Services.
  • Ensuring adequate financing for WASH: A reflection on implications of the current and future modalities for financing WASH to ensure equitable and sustainable services for all people living in Ghana.
  • Uptake and use of sector documents: A deliberation on measures to promote and use these sector documents in order to improve alignment with Ghana's procedures and systems for sustainable WASH service delivery.
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