The middle zone sanitation challenge workshop ended in Kumasi on November 27, 2015, with good impressions expressed by some of the over 200 participants drawn from 3 regions and 55 districts. The enthusiastic participants were all confident about their chances and possibilities of winning the competition.
Sharing his impressions immediately after the one-day workshop, Yakubu A. Rahman, District Coordinating Director, Dormaa East District in the Brong Ahafo Region stated, “The workshop was fantastic; we learnt a lot about sanitation and have been taken through how to apply and how to access the facility (prize). So, as soon as we get back home we will setup a team, and we will be applying immediately. We shall win! I’m confident and very sure about that!”
Mrs Ayidana Harriet Esmeralda, the Assistant Planning Officer, Sunyani Municipal Assembly also expressed her position, “I think this programme has been a very nice one. For some time now in recent past years, if you’re aware, Sunyani has been adjudged the best and cleanest city in Ghana – so I think with this programme we will be able to give you the best strategies to enable us maintain that position – so I think Sunyani will win. We’ll register as soon as we get back; we will be winning, we are 100% confident!”
These were some of impressions expressed by some of the visibly enthusiastic participants, which reflected the views of most of the participants. Partner institutions like the CSOs were not left out, Mr. Peter Subarb, Executive Director of Centre for Sustainable Development based in Brong Ahafo Region shared his impressions – “My impression about this workshop is fantastic. This is the first time some of us have got insights into what is really going to happen. We have been attending workshops and training sessions, but this gives very deep understanding of the situation, the expectation and what is at stake. So we’ll carry home the message and see what we can do to help mother Ghana. I’m really excited about the prize and will contact some District Assemblies for partnership”
Opening the workshop, Hon. Peter Anarfi-Mensah, the Ashanti Regional Minister expressed the districts’ appreciation for the Sanitation Challenge opportunity. The Minister stated in a statement read for him by the Kumasi Metropolitan Coordinating Director, “I wish to, on behalf of all districts gathered here promise DFID, IMC Worldwide and their consultants (IRC/WHS) as well as our mother Ministry (Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development) that we will show keen interest and actively participate, as this will go a long way to augment our efforts”.
Hon. Kojo Bonsu, the Kumasi Metropolitan Chief Executive stated in his welcome address, “The Sanitation Challenge is aimed at challenging us to come up with strategies for transforming urban sanitation services, provide solution to eliminate open defecation, reduce the sanitation gap between the rich and poor, and increase access to basic and hygienic sanitation for all”. He declared, “KMA and I believe all districts have wholeheartedly embraced this contest in good faith and we promise to deliver to meet the objectives of this project”.
Veronica DiBella of IMC Worldwide delivered a short statement, stating that the Sanitation Challenge for Ghana is part of the ‘Ideas to impact’ programme, which is funded by the UK Department for International Development. She stated that the Challenge was designed by Trémolet Consultants, with support from Maple Consult, under contract to IMC Worldwide who manages the Ideas to Impact Programme on behalf of DFID. According to her, the challenge is hosted by Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) with day to day management provided by local implementing Agent, IRC Ghana/ WASH Health Solutions.
The resource persons and facilitators of the workshop, which included Kwaku Quansah of MLGRD; Kwame Asubonteng, Vida Duti and Abu Wumbei of IRC Ghana; Ben Arthur of WHS; Veronica Di Bella of IMC Worldwide; and Mawuena Dotse of MAPLE Consult, took turns to present and facilitate plenary and group sessions, including hands-on mock competition on liquid waste strategy development, among others. The mock competition was adjudicated and dummy prizes presented to the winning groups.
Prof. Esi Awuah, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Energy and Natural Resources and chair of the opening session, observed the competition and provided useful comments to the participants. She touched on gray water management – the need for decentralized treatment systems; and creating natural wetlands in treating graywater to attract birds in the communities. She noted in a song for the District Assemblies that technology alone cannot solve the problem of sanitation but a mix of appropriate technology, hygiene education, community participation, among others could make the difference in delivering the much anticipated clean communities.
A zonal pre-zonal workshop media briefing, which took place a day earlier generated local media interest, leading to radio interviews, as well as live radio coverage by the Garden City FM of the Ghana Broadcasting Cooperation. The good impressions and enthusiasm generated during the zonal workshops will need to be sustained and translated into competitive and innovative actionable plans and strategies. How this turns out going forward will be interesting to monitor.
The zonal workshops
The Sanitation Challenge for Ghana zonal workshop followed the successful launch of the Sanitation Challenge for Ghana – a contest for Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to reward excellence in urban liquid waste management, and aimed to provide orientation and support MMDAs to design liquid waste strategies to bring about significant changes to urban centres and towns.
The specific objective is to create awareness and stimulate interest of eligible MMDAs and beneficiaries in the Challenge Programme; orient MMDAs, potential investors and innovators about the prize design, operational and submission requirements; incentivize and motivate eligible MMDAs to commit and participate in the Challenge; and to create a platform for MMDAs to engage and share ideas and challenges.
The competition, which is part of ‘Ideas to Impact’ programme runs from November, 2015 to December, 2018 under the auspices of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development with funding from the UK Department for International Development. IRC Ghana in partnership with a Ghanaian consulting firm Water Health Solutions is the national implementing agent acting on behalf of IMC Worldwide.