BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE
The 23rd edition of Ghana’s longest running and sole annual conference series on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) dubbed Mole XXIII, takes place in the Northern Regional capital, Tamale, from Tuesday, August 21, 2012 to Saturday, August 25, 2012.
This year’s edition, which will be held on the main theme: “Financing The Wash Sector: Past, Current Trends And Vision For The Future”, is expected to attract over 200 Ghanaian participants from civil society organisations (CSOs), non-governmental organisations (NGOs), government agencies, public sector and the media.
Sub-themes to be discussed at the three-day conference (August 22 – August 24), include “Public financing of WASH delivery: Exploring the options”, “Capital maintenance financing practices and innovative options for the future”, “Public-private partnership for WASH financing: what are the options?”, “Policies, standards and regulations for WASH Delivery” and “Tracking functionality of WASH service”.
According to the organisers - the Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS), the Mole Conference series is organised annually to mirror developments within the water, sanitation and hygiene sector, review progress and state civil society’s position on key policy issues.
This week’s conference is thus expected to provide a platform for critical discussions, with the view to identify and make appropriate recommendations to remove the bottlenecks to sustainable financing for the sector.
The discussions will among others, explore options and opportunities for financing the WASH sector in Ghana; examine public-partnership financing models for WASH as one of the options; ascertain relevance of operation, maintenance, and user fees as financing options; share knowledge and expertise on WASH sector financing generally and make recommendations for policy advocacy and influencing.
Stressing on the importance of this year’s Mole conference, Mr. Ben Arthur, Executive Secretary of CONIWAS, said; “ it is the desire of the Coalition to see all Ghanaians have access to sustainable and quality water, sanitation and hygiene services in Ghana,” adding, “the sector in Ghana suffers from chronic under funding resulting in the poor sanitation situation in the country, for example.”
He said it is against this background that the Mole XXIII Conference will be focusing on financing as the vehicle to increasing access and providing sustainable services to the public.
The Mole Conference is one of the biggest Multi-Stakeholder annual platforms in the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector in Ghana and is named after the venue of the maiden edition, Mole in the Northern Region of Ghana. Over the years, it has brought together sector practitioners from NGOs, Government, Private Operators, Networks, CBOs, CSOs, etc., to dialogue, learn and share knowledge and information on specific themes that affect the WASH sector.
Meanwhile, last year’s conference held on the theme; ‘‘Towards Decentralised WASH Services Delivery: Challenges and Lessons", took place in Busua near Takoradi in the Western Region of Ghana from Wednesday August 10, to Friday August 12, 2011 under the distinguished patronage and chairmanship of Nana Kwesi Agyemang IX, Paramount Chief of Lower Dixcove in Busua.