Thursday, August 23, 2012

Gov’t commends NGOs for their support in water, sanitation services delivery

EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE

Hon. Nii Nortey Dua

Ghana’s government ministries responsible for water and sanitation services delivery – the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing (MWRWH) and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD), have paid glowing tribute to non-governmental organisations operating in the country, for their support in the delivery of water and sanitation services.

Delivering the keynote address at the 23rd Mole Conference on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) at Tamale in the Northern Region of Ghana, Hon. Nii Nortey Dua, Deputy Minister, Water Resources, Works and Housing and Member of Parliament, Ledzokuku Constituency, said; “The two ministries, within whose ambit WASH activities fall, recognise the immense contributions of CSOs and NGOs in WASH services delivery, as a complement to government’s efforts to improve the sector.”

Addressing the conference organized by the Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS) and held on the theme; “Financing the WASH sector: Past, Current Trends and Vision for the Future on Wednesday, August 22, 2012, he disclosed that over the years, “Government has in collaboration with development partners and other sector stakeholders  initiated policies, strategies and plans to deliver WASH services to the poor and the marginalised.”

“Government has also reviewed the Legal Instrument of the Community Water and Sanitation Agency and provided an enabling environment  for NGOs and development partners, to make the relevant contributions to the sector,” the Deputy Minister stated.

He further commended CONIWAS for consistently organising the Mole Conference series for the past 23 years, saying it was unprecedented.

Earlier in his welcome address to the over 100 participants, Hon. Moses Mabeneba, Northern Regional Minister, declared; “I am aware that there are a lot of organisations, especially NGOs in this region supporting us with WASH services. I must say they are doing good work and we appreciate their services.”

He said it is in view of the challenges of accessing potable water supply services in both urban and rural areas, with women and children in particular having to walk long distances, coupled with the unacceptable level of environmental and hygiene services, that the region has over the past three years, partnered government agencies, the NGO community and development partners, “to make WASH services more accessible to our people.”

Hon. Mabeneba however lamented that there are a lot of non-governmental organisations they do not know of or know how they operate, adding that some of such NGOs enter communities and assist them without the regional administration’s knowledge and without going through standard procedures and authorities.

The Minister also tasked all NGOs in the region to employ proper coordination and reporting mechanisms to let them know the exact assistance that they offer the communities they work in.

For his part, Dr. Frederick Addai, Director, Water Directorate, Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing said no nation can develop, leaving its water and sanitation sector behind. “If we all agree water is life and that sanitation and hygiene affect the quality of life, then financing the WASH sector should be a priority for everyone,” he stressed.

Also admitting the immense support civil society continues to offer the sector, he said; “Delivering WASH services is an arduous task and we need more people to help in doing this – so we need NGOs, CBOs and the rest who are genuine partners, to help delivery in the WASH sector.”

Dr. Addai assured  CONIWAS of the Water Directorate’s support even as the demand for water and sanitation services go higher and expressed the hope that the coalition’s financiers would appreciate their good work in the sector and continue to assist them organise the Mole conference series.

Making a statement on behalf of the Acting Director of the Environmental Health and Sanitation Directorate (EHSD), Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) Mr. Lenason Naa Demedeme, Mr. Cosmos…… Senior Public Health Engineer, EHSD, Tamale divulged the EHSD has developed a National Environmental Sanitation Strategy Action Plan (NESSAP), to essentially tackle the issue of capacity.

“What is really required is the needed capital investment in the sector, for which I urge the government, NGOs, private sector and development partners, to do more in this direction,” he said.
“No one can overlook the critical role CONIWAS is playing, especially in the areas of advocacy, citizen engagement and sector programming,” he stated, asking the coalition to keep it up and that there is still room for improvement.  

He listed the areas for which more development will be needed from the NGOs as; monitoring, evaluation, accountability, effect of fully fledged decentralisation on WASH services delivery, collaboration, harmonisation, nationwide start up of community led  total sanitation (CLTS) and the capacity of civil societies, saying “These are your areas of expertise and we expect you to provide the needed support to deal with them.”

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