Monday, October 7, 2013

CONIWAS, partners call for deeper collaboration of MMDAs to upscale sanitation

BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE


Mr Benjamin Arthur, CONIWAS Executive Secretary delivering the communique
Metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs), play a very vital role in sanitation management in the country.

Their efforts in the collective management of liquid waste especially, but solid waste as well, seems to have slackened over the years.


It is in view of this, that the Coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS) and partners, have called on MMDAs to engage in deeper collaboration with various stakeholders, to upscale sanitation service delivery in the country.

The call was made by Executive Secretary of CONIWAS, Mr Benjamin Arthur Friday, September 27, 2013, at a press conference in Accra to share a 12-point communique that came from a three-day national water and sanitation conference held last month in Kumasi.

Dubbed Mole XXIV, the conference, which has been held annually for the past 24 years, was on the theme: “Building Effective Partnership for Scaling-Up Sustainable Sanitation Services in Ghana.”

Deeper collaboration
In the communique, the 120 participants made up of experts in water, sanitation and hygiene from academia, non-governmental organisations, Government institutions, foreign state agencies (development partners) and MMDAs, urge the latter to collaborate with private sector agencies, rural banks and micro-finance institutions to support credit for household latrines.

The MMDAs are 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.

Under the second sub-theme of the conference – “The Role of MMDAs in Sanitation Service Delivery”, the communique further tasks the MMDAs to, in partnership with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, partner the private sector to promote and create value addition to sanitation and solid waste management to create employment.

MMDAs are also to harness the influencing role of Chiefs, Queen mothers, community leaders and traditional authority for effective, intensive community level education, sensitisation and management of sanitation delivery.

Private sector participation
A cross section of the media at the press conference
However, the private sector is 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.

The communique also obligates CSO organisations 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 is assigned the task of collaborating with the private sector to promote and create value addition to sanitation and solid waste management to create employment. 

CONIWAS and partners also demand that NGOs and CSOs, 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.

Conversely, the communique charges CONIWAS and other Civil Society Organisations, to, in collaboration with government, establish and monitor sanitation sub-sector specific transparency and accountability standards.

Government involvement
It further calls on the Ghana Government to effectively partner academia, development partners and private sector to operationalise the Strategic Environmental Sanitation Investment Plan (SESIP) as well as scale-up successful pilots on sanitation.

The Ministry of Local Government is also asked to utilise 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, recognising the necessary links between sanitation, hygiene and health,” the conference participants stress.

The communique was divided under the four sub-themes of the conference which include; “Community's Perspective in Solving Sanitation Challenges: Opportunities and Realities”, Public-Private Partnership for Scaling-Up Sustainable Sanitation Delivery” and “Sanitation and health linkages: A way out of Ghana’s Sanitation Challenges”.

FACTS
§  The Coalition of NGOs in water and sanitation (CONIWAS) is an umbrella Civil Society Organisation established to contribute to water resource management and sustainable provision of water and sanitation and hygiene service promotion in Ghana.
§  It is dedicated to ensuring potable water supply and improved sanitation integrated with hygiene promotion is available in right quantity and right time to the citizens of the country, especially the poor and marginalised people in society.
§  CONIWAS’s membership is currently made up of 90 NGOs from all over Ghana.

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