Three Duapa Award winning MMDAs of the Sanitation Challenge for Ghana took the centre stage as stars of the moment when they shared their experiences at the 39th WEDC international conference in Kumasi, Ghana, which took place from11th to 15th July 2016. The side event which attracted over 86 participants from local authorities, local and international NGOs, academia, development partners and the private sector across the world, featured the first prize winner, Jasikan; second prize winner, Atiwa; and third prize winner, Nanumba North. Under the theme, “Remodelling and catalysing partnerships for Urban Sanitation Finance in Ghana: Local Governments share their experiences” the 3 District Assemblies who participated and won in the first stage of the MMDAs contest shared practical experiences on their strategies and how they intend to roll it out to create real impact.
Samuel Ahiaku, the District Environmental Health Officer of Jasikan was the first to share. He recounted the ideas that went into drafting of their strategy and highlighted the key areas including, support for 1144 houses, faith-based and business premises to own and use improved latrines and practice hand-washing with soap; facilitate the provision of 16 units of 20-seater public latrines fitted with gas digesters; procure a cesspit emptier (vacuum car) for dislodgement of cesspit tanks; construct sanitarily engineered liquid waste treatment plant also fitted with gas digesters. He indicated that the total cost of these activities will be GHC6, 650,688; and outlined the financing mechanism and partnership building process that was underway to ensure effective implementation. Hamidu Osman, the Assistant Development Planning Officer of Atiwa District was the next to share. He indicated that their liquid waste management strategy seeks to achieve the following – ensure functional sanitation value chain through proper collection activities in partnership with institutions, NGOs, companies; liquid waste collected to be converted into resources for public use; construction of biogas and composting plants; improve service delivery through improved capacity building; behaviour change and engagement using community information systems and the formation of local sanitation committees; and target women as agents of change in their communities on good hygiene practices. Mr. Osman also indicated the financing and partnership building modalities for the full implementation of the strategy.
Eric Ofori, the District Planning Officer of Nanumba North, followed the same pattern in his presentation, outlining the strategy and defining the financing and partnership engagement processes for the implementation phase. The key strategy highlights presented included – Small town led community sanitation strategies including hand washing stations, behaviour change communication, capacity building for communities and encouraging household toilet construction; design and operate decentralised liquid waste treatment and re-use plants; acquire financing through multiple channels including capital investment, public-private partnerships, donor grants, etc.
The session started with a brief opening and overview of the Sanitation Challenge for Ghana (SC4Gh) by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) and IRC. This was then followed by the experience sharing by the 3 winning local authorities, which was greeted with wide spread applause and encouraging words from participants, including other competing MMDAs. Enquiries on the judging process and criteria among others were all addressed to the delight of participants by the Challenge team present – MLGRD/ IRC/ Maple Consult.
The Dignified City Award
Vida Duti, IRC Country Director rounded up the session outlining the next steps towards the second stage of the SC4Gh, named, Dignified City Award. She announced that, “21 MMDAs will be duly informed by the MLGRD of their qualification and condition for the Dignified City Award before the end of July, 2016; the informed MMDAs will be required to respond/ register their intention to participate in the 2nd stage of the challenge by Mid-August, 2016; the qualified MMDAs will then be required to participate in an inception workshop to be announced later”.
Mrs Duti also stated that an independent verification agent will visit all participating MMDAs for the baseline data before commencement and at the end of the competition to assess level of progress. According to her the report from the verification agent and periodic progress report from the MMDAs will inform the judging for the second stage; which will be climaxed by a face-to-face encounter with the Judges by the shortlisted MMDAs.
Kweku Quansah of the MLGRD, the chair of the session congratulated the Duapa Award winning MMDAs and urged them on to do their outmost best at the implementation stage. He thanked the judges for the great job done, stating that “the geographical location of the 3 top award winning MMDAs reflects the main segments of our country – northern, middle and southern zones.”
The Sanitation Challenge for Ghana, launched by the MLGRD with financial support from DFID, is a competition to incentivise local authorities to improve the provision of sanitation services. The side event was convened by the Sanitation Challenge partners – The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD)/ IMC Worldwide/ IRC Ghana/ WHS/ Maple Consult – to share local government’s experiences in participating in the first stage of the sanitation challenge contest; and plans for catalysing partnerships for financing the implementation of the urban sanitation strategies for maximum impact.