Accra, July 19, 2017 – The 17 metropolitan municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) participating in the stage 2 of the sanitation challenge for Ghana (SC4Gh) contest exchanged implementation experiences at the first learning and practice convening (LPC) session in Accra.
The 2-day session registered over 120 participants including representatives from all 17 MMDAs; Members of Parliament (MPs), Development Partners (DPs) and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) the private sector, academic/research institutions and members of the media. The LPC mainly took the form of a mix of interactive plenary overview of MMDAs’ live pitches, moderated discussions and sharing on the judging criteria after a high level opening by Hon. Kofi Adda, Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources and chaired by Nana Dr. Ato Arthur, the head of office of the head of local government service.
The key emerging issues from the live pitches centred mainly on finance, regulation, partnerships, technology, leadership and institutional Arrangement, and social norms among others. On finance, the imaging issues centred on limited funds for liquid waste management strategy implementation partly due to the delay in the release of funds from the central government; the no funds syndrome that characterise most Assemblies; the competing demands for Assembly funds; low interest from landlords for counterpart funding arrangements; and the high interest rate on micro finance loans for household latrine construction, etc.
The issues around regulation comprised MMDAs’ commitment to the prosecution of sanitation offenders and the case of no magistrate courts in some MMDAs. On partnerships, the difficulty in finding partners/investors outside the districts was noted. Issues around technology centred on poor households unable to construct household latrines; limited capacity to manage technologies; unavailability of space for the construction of household latrines; and high water table/Clayey soils impeding latrine construction in some project areas. On leadership and institutional arrangement, the change in political administration affecting project implementation was also noted. Under social norms, the high expectation from community members and the social misconception on the use of Biogas for cooking were raised.
The experience exchange session following the 5-minute summary presentation by each of the 17 MMDAs also brought to the fore some interesting learning points in the following areas:
- Need to research and study other sanitation models; select successful ones and implement within the local context to make a difference;
- Behaviour Change Communication (BCC ) and Enforcement
- Need to embark on comprehensive educational programmes and also get byelaws gazetted for effective enforcement;
- Enforcement and education are critical for triggering demand for household toilets;
- Behaviour change takes time so you need sustained education to be able to achieve compliance;
- It is important to de-emphasise the building of communal toilets and promote dignity through household toilet ownership;
- BCC is a key strategy for discouraging opening defaecation;
- BCC is the bedrock to encouraging the building and use of household toilets;
- Evidence-based advocacy messages should be used to encourage household toilet ownership – eg. ‘It’s much more expensive for a family to pay for public toilet usage over time (with the missed dignity opportunity) than to construct and use its own household toilet.’
- Need to strengthen sanitation bye-laws and prosecution capacity for effective enforcement
- Partnership and Community involvement
- Effective involvement and management of key stakeholders to serve as natural leaders inspires buy-in and support for the implementation process;
- Partnership, stakeholder involvement, leadership and team work are the keys to successful implementation of the liquid waste management strategies
- More has to be done in identifying and supporting poor households through options like the village saving and loan schemes;
- Sanitation is life – sanitation is not waste but resources, especially liquid waste and needs to be taken really seriously by all MMDAs
- Sanitation markets (Sanimart) is critical for getting target communities up the sanitation ladder;
- Sanitation is big business – every step of the sanitation value chain is a business and job creation opportunity and should be explored to the fullest.
In his keynote address to open the LPC session, Hon. Kofi Adda congratulated the MMDAs for making it to the final stage and urged them to aspire for the top most prize in the competition whilst creating better and dignified condition in their respective urban communities. The Minister stated “It is gratifying to note that 17 MMDAs who met the minimum condition for stage 2 and vying for the ultimate (GBP 1.285million Dignified City Award) are teaming up with citizens, private sector and non-state actors, innovators and solvers to implement locally owned solutions. I personally wish all MMDAs were on board to ensure that sustainable sanitation services are available and affordable for everyone living in Ghana”. He further assured, “We will forge partnerships and work towards generating the needed resources to scale this initiative across the 216 MMDAs so as to make sanitation and the president’s ‘toilet for all’ vision, a reality.”
The LPC was organised by the SC4Gh team – MSWR, IRC, Maple and IMC Worldwide to enable MMDAs discuss common challenges and possible solutions and their direct impact on the SC4Gh implementation process. The main purpose was to, i) create a platform for sharing experiences, opportunities and challenges in the implementation of the SC4Gh; ii) enable peer review of activities being undertaken; iii) generate ideas for innovation and renew sustained buy in from key stakeholders; and iv) initiate steps for mainstreaming SC4Gh in development planning and composite budgeting at the MMDA level. The highly interactive session was co-facilitated by Vida Duti of IRC Ghana and Kwaku Quansah of the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources. The event was widely reported by the local media (Daily Graphic, Ghana News Agency, Modern Ghana, Ghana News, etc.)
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