MOLE XXXIII Conference underway in Elmina

The 2022 MOLE Conference, the largest gathering of the Water Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) sector opened at the Elmina Beach Resort on Monday.

The conference organized by The Coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS), is under the theme: Ghana’s Commitment To Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Connecting Systems To Bridge Service Gaps.”

The four-day conference, which marked the 33rd in the Mole series, attracted participants from sectors, including Ministries, Departments and Agencies, academia, media, and civil society.

The Deputy Minister and MP for Sissala East and Deputy Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources Hon.  Amidu Issahaku Chinnia who opened the conference commended the organizers of this MOLE XXXIII conference for their hard work and diligence in continually providing such a platform for knowledge sharing and learning.

Stressing that, the theme set for this year’s edition, which is “Ghana’s commitment to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: Connecting systems to bridge service delivery gaps”, situates well within a collective goal of achieving universal access to safe water and sanitation for all by 2030.

“The theme is relevant at this time whereas a sector, we need to commit more through the service we deliver to the good people of Ghana, especially when we are left with only 8 years to the SDG end line.

This necessitates concerted effort toward effective targeting in order to better understand the people to whom we provide WASH services,” she stated.

According to her, pressure on stakeholders to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure universal access even before the 2030 deadline has never been higher since the United Nations made the historic declaration that access to basic water and sanitation is a universal human right through Resolution 64/292 in 2010.

“Ghana’s performance towards SDG 6 according to the global SDG dashboard indicates moderate improvement, which if this same momentum is maintained, may not be sufficient to reach our set goals by 2030.

A careful look at our country-specific data, the Population and Housing Census presents an interesting case; the case where for instance, access to household toilets, which had reduced from 48% in 2000 to 46% in 2010, suddenly took an upward trend of 59% in 2021, thanks to the ambitious collaborative interventions and hard work of all of you gathered here.

To put this into context, this 13-percentage point increase translates to an additional one million households who now have access to household toilets, which includes both exclusive and shared use,” she explained.

She said it is imperative for WASH stakeholders, to focus a bit more attention on delivering comprehensive district-wide sanitation services in order to meet their set targets. Meeting these set targets will require coordinated, cost-effective, and inclusive efforts by all.

A minimum of 2 billion US dollars is required in capital investments to meet our SDG target on Sanitation. The breakdown is as follows:

● Construction of household toilet facilities is estimated at 1.41 billion US dollars.
● Sanitation services including emptying and treatment is estimated at 103.3 million US dollars.
● 85.1 million US dollars and 146 million US dollars for schools and healthcare facilities with sanitation facilities.

According to her, sanitation projects totaling 500 million US dollars have been implemented in Ghana since 2010.

About 60 percent of this investment has focused mainly on non-sewered sanitation and condominium sewerage. It would take some additional funding to bridge the existing gap in safely managed sanitation.

Ghana has made remarkable progress in the delivery of safe drinking water and we are on track to achieving basic access to the SDG targets.

According to the 2021 Population and Housing Census, 87.7% of Ghanaians have access to basic safe drinking water. However, approximately 3.8 million people still lack access to safe drinking water.

However, the Sector Minister hinted that the greatest enemy for safe water delivery in Ghana is the galamsey menace.

“As WASH stakeholders, we need to make our voices heard on the ongoing discussions aiming at stopping galamsey,” she entreated.

The Chairman of the Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS) Yaw Attah Arhin, said Mole XXXIII WASH Conference which was themed: Ghana’s Commitment to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH): Connecting Systems to Bridge the Service Delivery Gaps has been carefully selected to reflect the complex mix of interventions and the systems required to deliver sustainable WASH services to the good people of Ghana, particularly the poor and vulnerable.

He said they will reflect on Ghana’s WASH commitments towards achieving national and SDG 6 targets for water, sanitation, and hygiene in the country.

Also, explore area-wide approaches that address equity concerns and promote sustainable WASH service delivery for everyone everywhere.

According to him, there will also be a highlight on cutting-edge partnerships with education, health, economic and environmental sectors in delivering cost-effective, affordable, and inclusive WASH services.

“We shall also review existing innovative financing approaches that are inclusive and self-sustaining. Explore appropriate technology and innovations for delivering WASH services in an equitable and inclusive manner. Develop practical and actionable recommendations for accelerating access to sustainable WASH services,” he stated.

In the area of solid waste management, he commended the government for effectively partnering private sector to progressively realize the president’s vision of a clean, healthy, and prosperous Ghana.

“I wish to reiterate the commitment of CONIWAS and its members to work with government, development partners, private sector, academic and research institutions, and indeed all relevant stakeholders to accelerate and sustain the delivery of safe drinking water, improved sanitation, and hygiene to the good people of this country, particularly the poor and vulnerable,” he emphasized.

In a Solidarity Message delivered on behalf of Dr. Joseph Siaw Agyepong, the President of the Environmental Service Providers Association (ESPA) commended the government of His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for the strong partnership he has forged with the private sector.

Citing the establishment of the Kumasi Compost and Recycling Plant, the Kumasi Waste Water Treatment Plant, and the 16 Integrated Recycling and Composting Plants across the 16 regions of the country, and other water-related facilities.

However, he stated that the Executive Council of the Environmental Services Providers Association (ESPA), has resolved to work closely with CONIWAS going forward to advance Ghana’s WASH sector agenda.

This year’s MOLE conference was funded by UNICEF and GAMA SWP, Global Communities and Ghana Water Company Limited our Platinum Sponsors, World Vision Ghana, WaterAid Ghana, and Zoomlion Ghana Limited our Gold Sponsors and Catholic Relief Services, IRC, Plan International Ghana, SNV, Environmental Service Providers Association (ESPA) and CWSA.

Source: Ike Dzokpo, Newsghana

Credit: GWJN

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