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The Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources signs a four-year Memorandum of Understanding with IRC.

Signing of MoU. Left to right: IRC Ghana Country Director Vida Duti, IRC CEO Patrick Moriarty, Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources Hon Joseph Kofi Adda and Chief Director of the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources Obeng Poku.

IRC and the Government of Ghana have agreed to step up moves to strengthen WASH systems in the country over the next four years.

The Hon Joseph Kofi Adda, Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, and Patrick Moriarty, CEO of IRC, signed a Memorandum of Understanding at a ceremony in Accra on March 20, 2018. The signing was witnessed by Ministry Directors, representatives of water agencies, development partners, NGOs, academia and the media.

We are 100% committed to this MoU. Hon Joseph Kofi Adda

The Minister said: “We are 100% committed to this MoU and to your support for the sector and to the collaboration in partnership with you over the years. Thank you again for all your interest and for supporting us.”

Patrick Moriarty used the occasion to explain why systems of water governance are central to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets for water. “The more we looked at sustainability, the more we saw that the failure to achieve sustainability was actually to do with failure, or weakness, in building the systems.”

The initiative to put together a partnership to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals for water in Asutifi North District was an exciting way to show what this means in practice. “Asutifi with many other partners around the table is all about giving meaning to this very abstract concept of ‘let's build strong systems’. Let's work out what it means to build strong systems to get services that are sustainable to everyone.”

Government leadership

Patrick paid tribute to the political commitment shown by the Government of Ghana. “We don’t see things moving fast enough in WASH, not just here, but in other countries too. We see that if we continue at the rate we are going we are not going to reach the Sustainable Development Goals.

“The critical element that has been identified globally is leadership and particularly government leadership and government finance. The most exciting thing I have been hearing in the last year or so in Ghana is the renewed emphasis on government leadership.

If we just talk about PPP the private money won't come in. Patrick Moriarty

"I think we have seen that without that we are going nowhere. If we just talk about PPP [public-private partnerships] the private money won't come in. If the government doesn't believe in the sector the private sector won't believe in the sector either.

“What we see is renewed commitment by the Government of Ghana to doing this - to putting that strong political leadership in place from the president down. As long as you want us here we are here. We are grateful for your partnership, we are grateful for everyone around the table's partnership and I am convinced that with that strong leadership we can and we will do it.”

Minister Adda said it had been a struggle to build up the strength of the Ministry since it was created in January 2017, but they were succeeding with strong political commitment from the President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, who is the co-chair of the UN Eminent Persons Group for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“We are committed not just to what we are going to be doing or signing with IRC here, but we are a committed government in the WASH sector and delivery of the SDGs. It goes without saying that we are 100% committed on the change theory mentioned, and all the new things you have to say about strengthening the WASH systems. We are 100% committed to this MoU and to your support for the sector and to the collaboration in partnership with you over the years.”

IRC Ghana Strategy 2017-2021

Vida Duti, Country Director for IRC Ghana, presented the Minister with a copy of the IRC Ghana Strategy 2017-2021 – Building WASH systems to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals.

During this period IRC Ghana will focus on:

  • Support to strengthen country WASH systems;
  • Demonstrating proven and promising solutions and models for SDG 6 in focus districts, strengthening the capacity of local government to apply the service delivery model;
  • Leveraging partnerships and networks to improve WASH delivery;
  • Building credible and actionable evidence and fostering sector learning and dialogues;
  • Strengthening the capacity of civil society organisations (CSOs) to build popular support and lobby for transparency in WASH service delivery.

Vida Duti said: “We believe that by focusing on water systems we will be contributing to strong national and local water services and in that way will support actions for WASH services for everyone.”

Robert Bos, chair of the IRC Supervisory Board, said he had been impressed to see the inaugural event of the initiative in Asutifi North “where the engagement was apparent of all partners: national and local government, traditional leaders, NGOs and CSOs, and agencies that promote engagement by the private sector.” He expected this initiative to spread rapidly.

Robert Bos added: “All of us in this room are committed to the 2030 agenda and I want to explicitly express this commitment here on behalf of IRC to the initiative in Ghana.”

The MoU was also signed by Vida Duti and by Obeng Poku, Chief Director of the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources.