Where: Asutifi North district in Ghana's Ahafo Region.
Population: About 63,000 in 2017, projected to rise to 84,000 by 2030.
Number of institutions: There are about 12 health care facilities and 90 schools in the district.
Main challenge: to reach the unserved who live in the poorer and rural areas, and make sure that WASH services go from a basic level to being safely managed and sustainable.
The district WASH master plan in Asutifi North responds to these challenges. It strengthens the decentralisation of decision-making processes for service delivery to local stakeholders, while providing a platform for dialogue between everyone involved.
2017: Preparations and strategic diagnosis
In 2017, IRC Ghana together with Asutifi North District Assembly, brought together local and national government leaders, implementation partners, chiefs, market women, water service providers, private sector, local NGOs and sachet water producers under the Asutifi North Ahonidie Mpontuo (ANAM) initiative, to think about how to provide WASH services to everyone in the district.
An in-depth assessment of Asutifi-North's provision of water and sanitation services was conducted. This assessment included:
2018: Master Plan development and launch
Under the ANAM initiative, a District WASH Master Plan was developed, that outlines each step that is required to get safe water and sanitation to everyone in the district. The plan formulation was led by local government, in consultations with all key stakeholders. It included:
The Asutifi North WASH Master Plan was officially launched by the District Assembly on 16 March 2018. This allowed for full ownership and recognition of the strategy by all actors cooperating within the district. People working on WASH in Ghana and other parts of the world attended its launch ceremony in Asutifi North. Government leadership, supported by the Safe Water Strategy partnership, and coordinated by a hub – IRC – is at the heart of achieving the master plan's vision.
2018 to 2021: Implementation of the first phase of the master plan
This stage includes:
In 2019, IRC helped Asutifi North district to conduct a study to better understand all the life-cycle costs of achieving the district's 2030 vision and to identify the outstanding funding gaps.
In 2021, a review of the master plan implementation took place.
Improved water services: By 2020, an estimated 11,500 people had experienced some level of water service improvement:
This has been the result of the efforts of ANDA and its partners, guided by the master plan.
Progress has been made, partly due to the district's relatively small size and compact geography, dedicated local leadership, well-aligned international partners and engaged citizens.
The District Assembly is showing political and financial commitment. The master plan has been incorporated into the district's medium-term development plans (2018-21 and 2022-2025. And the Assembly is co-financing the construction and rehabilitation of water systems in the district, investing in sanitation, and coordinating contributions from other key local actors in WASH.
Increased public funding for WASH: As a result of the partnership's collective work, in 2019 the District Assembly doubled its WASH budget allocations – including making investments in repairs and broken- down facilities (Capital Maintenance Expenditure - CapManEx) – and new partners are continuously joining the initiative to address gaps in the master plan.
The local mining company, is taking increased responsibility. It is complementing the efforts of the local government and partners by providing water facilities in communities where they operate.
The district's focus on water safety has increased. A new Water Quality Assurance Fund programme facilitates more frequent testing by Ghana Water Company Limited's regional laboratory and covers the cost of any unpaid tests.
The Asutifi North master planning process has been the starting point for collective action. Clear examples of successful collective action in and around Asutifi North include the following:
The National Development Planning Commission will share the lessons of the partnership's work in a WASH toolkit. This will guide planning and piloting of district master planning process in districts all over Ghana.
Partners involved in development and implementation of the Asutifi North Master Plan: