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Published on: 09/02/2012

On Friday 3rd February 2012, IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre celebrated the official opening of its office in Accra, Ghana. This was an historic event for IRC, as this is the first office IRC has established outside The Netherlands since its foundation in 1968. The office will be led by Mrs Vida Duti, the country director for Ghana.

Unveiling the plaque to open the office

IRC activities in Ghana

Since the 1990s, IRC has worked with various stakeholders in Ghana in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector to define problems, research solutions and implement change.  Through its partnerships with various institutions in Ghana, IRC is currently implementing initiatives such as the Sustainable Services at Scale (Triple-S) initiative, WASHCost approach, WASHtech Project and supporting the Resource Centre Network. The opening of the country office will further strengthen IRC’s presence and activities in Ghana.

Minister leads opening ceremony

Honourable Alban Sumana Bagbin (MP), the outgoing Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing (MWRWH) in Ghana, led the opening ceremony by acknowledging the contribution of IRC towards the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector in the country, in terms of both technical and knowledge assistance.

The Honourable Mr Bagbin went on to say that “The Government of Ghana sees the opening of (the) IRC office here as a significant step to further strengthen our strategic partnership. This will help to document lessons from the past, co-generate ideas and develop innovations to address the issues confronting us today, and to institute appropriate sector change to manage implementation of our vision for the future”.

Mr Bagbin giving his opening speech

Mr Bagbin observed that the establishment of the IRC Ghana office is extremely opportune, as the organisation is providing strong evidence for change in the sector. He added that, since coming to Ghana, IRC has had a positive impact on the sector, especially in relation to new sector ideas and reforms.

Speaking about a broader sector vision, the Honourable Mr Bagbin added that the vision of government is to ensure a sustainable provision of basic water and sanitation to the whole Ghanaian population by the year 2025.

The Minister concluded his opening speech by saying that “On behalf of my ministry and the government of Ghana, I once again express our sincere gratitude and assure IRC, particularly the team in the Ghana office that we are going to show more than keen interest and commitment in the work in Ghana. I want to assure you that as the host ministry of the advisory committee of the Triple-S Project, we will continue to provide policy direction and try as much as possible to embed the learning and innovations that we so gratefully get from IRC and other partners in our policy and practice as a country”.

IRC's vision

“Today we open the Ghana office with lots of local staff. We have an excellent relationship with our partners here in Ghana and we are very proud of that. This is an indication of our commitment to continue working here in Ghana for the coming years”, said Mr Nico Terra, Director of IRC.

He said that the opening of the IRC Ghana office was very important to IRC as an organisation because it is the first country office to be opened outside of The Netherlands and, more importantly, it is a crucial step in IRC's internationalisation.

Mr Terra went on to explain that in 2007, IRC had made some important strategic decisions to generate more impact as a knowledge transfer organisation in the water sector in developing countries. “We have combined our projects into programmes to have a more lasting presence in the countries. We want to work more intensively with our partners and have more locals involved in our projects and programmes”.

He emphasised that IRC will continue to play a role as a knowledge centre, innovator and change agent in the water sector in Ghana, adding that IRC, together with its partners, will support the development of the sector towards a more sustainable water and sanitation delivery in the rural and peri-urban areas.

Mr Terra officially presented the power of attorney to Mrs Vida Affum Duti, the new IRC Ghana Country Director. She takes over from Dr Patrick Moriarty, who is now the manager of IRC’s International Programme and Director of the Triple-S initiative.

Mrs Vida Duti receives the power of attorney from Mr Nico Terra

Support from the Dutch government

Also present at the opening was His Excellency Gerard Duijfjes, Dutch Ambassador to Ghana, who revealed that in January this year, the Minister for Development Corporation of The Netherlands announced a five-year programmatic support of 10 million euros  to IRC  and a new ten-year, 100 million euro programme in water and sanitation support for Ghana. He added, “This is a clear indication of our ministry’s commitment to the water and sanitation sector. It is also important that we see water and sanitation as not only the responsibility of the responsible ministry or various teaching or learning institutions or NGOs, but also the private sector”. Ambassador Duijfjes assured Dutch government support to the sector in Ghana for the next 8 -10 years and wished the IRC Ghana office all the best.

IRC Supervisory Board

Mrs Duti concluded the opening speeches by expressing her gratitude to the IRC Supervisory Board for their presence at the opening of the IRC Ghana office, and for coming to Ghana to visit and see for themselves the IRC activities and projects there.

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