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The IRC Ghana team together with the Government hosted a sustainability forum as a final activity of the Triple-S project and as a formal start-up of the new initiative "Local Government Capacity Support for WASH". The latter is the project that is following up Triple-S and bringing together CWSA, World Vision, WaterAid, Safe Water Network and the Desert Research Institute.
During the forum, which was opened by the Minister for Water, it was great to hear - among many others - the voices of local government officers from the three Triple-S pilot districts explaining the impact of the project. And underlining in particular the new understanding they have of their role in (and responsibility for) service delivery - "no water, no vote" as one said. The project host and principal partner, the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA), expressed their appreciation for IRC support and their commitment to the changes that we have begun to make together. In fact, all three main speakers at the opening (the current and former Ministers for Water and the CWSA Chief Executive) all mentioned the importance of the switch being made from hardware to service delivery.
Mrs Vida Duti
Mrs Vida Duti, IRC Ghana Country Director, in the theme presentation touched on the project achievements against outcomes, success factors and the unresolved issues, as well as emerging partnerships among others. She stated that service monitoring has been well assimilated by pilot District Assemblies and CWSA and has triggered a change in approach to WASH planning and budgeting, but that actualization is hindered by limited funding.
She further stated that the concept of a learning alliance is assimilated, but a more structured and sustainable framework for learning is required. According to her, rural water service delivery is based on nationally agreed sector guidelines, but actualizing the change towards a harmonized sector requires entrenched application of the operational requirements within CWSA and the sector at large.
Mrs Duti listed a range of unresolved issues around service monitoring, sector financing, and harmonisation and alignment which, she said, are already under discussion through technical and advisory group engagements. She assured participants that partnerships and mutually reinforcing activities necessary to keep the sustainability agenda alive has already emerged.
Hon. Alhaji Collins Dauda, Minister for Water, Resources, Works and Housing
In his keynote address the Hon. Alhaji Collins Dauda, Minister for Water, Resources, Works and Housing commended IRC for the recent past innovative initiatives in Ghana, including SWITCH, WASHCost and Triple-S. According to him, “…these projects have helped the sector to develop holistic modalities and water sector strategic development plans, which focus on sustainable water and basic sanitation for all by 2025”.
Hon. Alban Bagbin, Member of Parliament and the guest of honour of the event, who had the opportunity of launching the Triples-S project in 2010 as the then Minister for Water, Resources, Works and Housing, had a statement read on his behalf by Dr Clement Kaminta, the Executive Chairman of the State Enterprises Commission. In this statement he said that sector diagnoses and dialogues facilitated by the Triple-S project unearthed critical bottlenecks, generating evidence that helped stakeholders to interrogate the underlying assumptions, beliefs and values behind how water services were delivered in the past.
Mr Clement Bugase, Chief Executive of CWSA
Mr Clement Bugase, outlined some significant progress made under the Triple-S Project including: enhanced CWSA’s District Monitoring and Evaluation System (DiMES); improved coordination and ensuring aid effectiveness; finalised and launched sector operational guidelines; the National Community Water and Sanitation Strategy; Framework for Assessing and Monitoring Rural and Small Town Water Supply Services in Ghana; Project Implementation Manual; and District Operational Manual to guide operations within the rural sub-sector. He said, “These successes will further strengthen our partnerships in defining the way forward”.
Hon. James Gunu, the District Chief Executive for Akatsi North District Assembly
Hon. James Gunu, the District Chief Executive (DCE) for Akatsi North District Assembly stated that through the Triple-S initiative he was able to understand the urgent need to maintain existing WASH infrastructure in his district. According to him what the sector needs is not provision of new infrastructure, but rather maintenance of existing ones; and that through the Triple-S, he has been able to liaise with his staff and sector players to ensure that all the 132 water infrastructures in the district are working. He called on his colleague DECs to ensure that water facilities in their district are well maintained to serve it purpose since such facilities are properties of the assembly.
Triple-S in Ghana
The Triple- S Ghana project (2009-2014), an initiative of IRC, operated under the auspices of CWSA and in four pilot districts – East Gonja in the Northern Region, Akatsi North and South in the Volta Region, and Sunyani West in the Brong Ahafo Region. The project provided support for the rural water sector in Ghana to develop and test innovative elements for improved water services and to address the systemic bottlenecks to providing long term water services.
The project partners and district panellists, Mr. Clement Bugase, Chief Executive of CWSA; Mr. John Aduakye, Chief Hydro geologist, CWSA; Hon. James Gunu, District Chief Executive, Akatsi North District Assembly; Mr. Seth Dumasah, District WASH Engineer, Akatsi South District Assembly; Mr. Kwasi Owusu Mintah, District Planning Officer, Sunyani West District Assembly; and Mr. Khalid Abubakar Giwah, District Planning Officer, East Gonja District Assembly variously spoke of the remarkable impact and the difference made by the 5-year project towards improving water service delivery in several communities in the country.
New initiative ‘Strengthening Local Government Capacity to deliver Water and Sanitation Services’
Dr. Patrick Moriarty, IRC’s CEO led the process of wrapping up the transition from the official closure of the Triple-S project and introduced the emerging initiative with partners. He stated that the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation has awarded US$ 3 million which is providing significant backing to IRC’s ground-breaking work with the Ghanaian government to bring together a wide range of national and local partners to create viable, lasting water services.
According to him, the new initiative will contribute to the delivery of reliable and safe water services over the next 3 years to 1.3 million people in 13 rural districts in Ghana. The beneficiary districts include, North Dayi; South Dayi; Bongo; Gushiegu; Wa East; West Gonja; Saboba; Kintampo South; Savelugu-Nanton; West Mumprusi; East Gonja; Sunyani West; and Akatsi.
Dr. Moriarty added that the grant will provide the following:
- Support CWSA to effectively perform its function as the facilitator in the delivery of rural water services in Ghana, regulate adherence to national norms and standards for delivery of rural water services. It will also enable CWSA to provide the needed technical support to the beneficiary districts and Hilton grantees in the application of the sector guidelines and processes for effective delivery of water services.
- Equip the District Assemblies to effectively fulfil their mandate for planning, implementation and coordination of delivery of water services and to efficiently manage water supply assets to guarantee reliable water services in their respective districts. Additionally, partner district assemblies will be able to collaborate with CWSA in ensuring proper regulation and adherence to national norms and standards in the delivery of water services in their respective jurisdiction.
- Provide Hilton grantees with the national norms and standards for the delivery of water services for better alignment with national requirements and collaboration with government in the delivery of water services.
The partners in the new initiative - WaterAid, World Vision International, Safe Water Network, the Desert Research Institute and CWSA - took turns to sign the Partnership agreement with IRC to signal the formal commencement of the Strengthening Local Government Capacity to deliver Water and Sanitation Services initiative.
In his closing remarks, Mr David Assumeng Tetteh, the chairman for the forum, who is a Member of Parliament and the chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Water Resources, Works and Housing, applauded Triple-S for the fine achievements, and added that Parliament was now performing more oversight roles and focusing more on monitoring of WASH services.