|A Cross Section of Mole XXIV Participants|
BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE
Experts attending the just-ended annual water, sanitation and hygiene conference in Kumasi, Ashanti Region, dubbed Mole Conference XXIV, have tasked the Ghanaian Government to, through the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, improve transparency and accountability in sanitation and waste management.
In a 12-point communique issued at the end of the three-day conference held on the theme: “Building Effective Partnership for Scaling-Up Sustainable Sanitation Services in Ghana”, the over 100 participants also charged organisers of the conference - the Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS) and other Civil Society Organizations, to, in collaboration with government, establish and monitor sanitation sub-sector specific transparency and accountability standards.
Under the second sub-theme of the conference – “The Role of MMDAs in Sanitation Service Delivery”, the conference urged Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs), to collaborate with private sector agencies, rural banks and micro-finance institutions to support credit for household latrines.
The MMDAs were also mandated to strictly enforce legislations, regulations and bye-laws on environmental sanitation, while CSOs continue policy dialogues with stakeholders on effective implementation of bye-laws.
For their part, the communique obligated CSO organizations to collaborate with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) to ensure full scale implementation of the “Polluter Pays Principle on sanitation” through legislation, whereas the ministry was given the duty of collaborating with the private sector to promote and create value addition to sanitation and solid waste management to create employment.
Touching on sub-theme three – “Community's Perspective in Solving Sanitation Challenges: Opportunities and Realities”, the Mole XXIV participants asked NGOs and CSOs to, in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government develop best Open Defecation Free (ODF) villages into training/learning centres as well as promote the upscale for other villages /community-led initiatives in sustainable sanitation services.
The private sector was also urged to collaborate with MMDAs to intensify the implementation of comprehensive behaviour change communication action plans, in order to improve behaviours and attitudes of individuals and communities.
On the other hand, a demand was placed on MMDAs to harness the influencing role of Chiefs, Queen mothers, community leaders and traditional authority for effective, intensive community level education, sensitization and management of sanitation delivery.
Making their final call, participants requested the Ministry of Local Government to utilize the platform of the Inter Ministerial Coordinating Committee (IMCC) to address weak collaboration and coordination among key sector MDAs and other allied institutions to ensure WASH and Health sector linkages.
“CSOs, development partners and private sector should work with government to accelerate the implementation of sanitation policies and strategies to accelerate improved sanitation delivery, recognizing the necessary links between sanitation, hygiene and health,” the conference participants summed it all up.
This year’s conference, which was opened by P. V. Obeng, Senior Advisor to President John Dramani Mahama, was held at Fumesua near Kumasi from Wednesday August 14, 2013 to Friday, August 16, 2013.