Accra, January 2017 - The Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS) wishes to commend the Ghanaian government for creating a Ministry dedicated to sanitation and water resources.
“This is a dream come true as we have been calling for this for many years. It is our hope that this will go a long way to give meaning to Ghana’s commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 - Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all,” says Martin Dery, Chairman of CONIWAS.
CONIWAS believes that one of the factors contributing to low performance in the Water and Sanitation sector is weak coordination. This has mainly been due to scattered responsibilities for water and sanitation over different Ministries - even though the sector believes in an integrated approach to promoting access to safe water and sanitation. At the local government levels too, water and sanitation have not been attracting the priority they deserve, partly due to the fact that they do not have Directors representing their ministries within the MMDAs.
As a result, even though the country is believed to have achieved the MDG targets for drinking water, available data from the state agencies - both Ghana Water Company Limited and the Community Water and Sanitation Agency indicates that less than 65% of Ghanaians have access to potable water, while according to the WHO/UNICEF JMP report only 15% of households in Ghana use improved toilet facilities. More than five million people practise open defecation on daily basis and every district in the country contributes to this.
While there are a number of on-going interventions that have the potential to help the country to achieve total sanitation and water for all, CONIWAS believes that low political ownership, prioritisation and investment at all levels accounts for the lack of the anticipated success. It is also our belief as a coalition that once all the water and sanitation agencies and their partners begin to operate under one Ministry, policies and strategies will be better aligned, owned, and easier to implement and monitor. This will be a potential for a coordinated and functional sector. While we endorse the creation of this ministry, we also make our structures available to government for further dialogue necessary to help shape this noble political idea of a dedicated ministry into a functioning technical and operational system to achieve maximum result for the people of Ghana. We therefore suggest the involvement of CONIWAS and civil society in drafting any policies and operational strategies necessary to help the new Ministry to settle and function well especially at these initial stages.
Civil society in general and CONIWAS in particular have played a key role in supporting governments formulate policies, develop and implement strategies to both improve access to water and sanitation services and raise its profile. We will continue to play our well-known role of embarking on advocacy campaigns and dialogues with government and citizens to help increase awareness and raise the profile of the sector in the light of the ambitious new sustainable development goals.
CONIWAS reiterates its resolve to continue to work with government and partners to find lasting solutions to the sanitation and water challenges facing the country.
The Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS) is an umbrella Civil Society Organization (CSO) established to contribute to water resource management and sustainable provision of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services in Ghana. It is a member-based organisation with over 100 members spread throughout the country supporting communities to have access to improved sustainable WASH services. It is dedicated to ensuring availability of potable water supply in the right quantity and right time, improved sanitation integrated with hygiene promotion to the citizens of the Country, especially the poor and marginalized people in society. It was formed in 2003 to provide space for WASH Sector NGOs to engage themselves as well as government and other sector organizations on issues affecting the sector. The Network provides a forum for CSO coordination and involvement in debates and information exchange to influence policy decisions and strategies affecting the WASH sector. It also initiates, develops and maintains collaborative mechanisms among CSOs working in Ghana and at international arena by enhancing communication on matters relating to WASH.
Blog post originally posted 20 January 2017, by CONIWAS.