Kumasi, July 10, 2017 – Achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 6.2 (SDG 6.2) target require creative partnerships, innovation and responsive sanitation financing mechanisms among others. The Sanitation Challenge for Ghana (SG4Gh) initiative, which is being implemented as an innovative financing arrangement to improve urban liquid waste management in the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) seeks to encourage and promote these ideals. This was the entry point of the SC4Gh prize update that was shared and well received by stakeholders at the side event of the fifth annual national basic sanitation stock taking forum (STF) in Kumasi.

The side event, which was under the theme, “Sanitation financing: Remodelling and forging partnerships for urban sanitation improvement in Ghana,” highlighted progress made in stage 1 and the status of stage 2 of the sanitation challenge for Ghana. The emerging SC4Gh Prize for the private sector and non-state actors was also raised.

Abu Wumbei and Kwame Asubonteng of IRC Ghana jointly led the discussion with the support of Kweku Quansah of the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources (MSWR). Mr. Wumbei stated that improvement in urban sanitation coverage in Ghana was far behind the regional average (2014 JMP); and that there was the urgent need for innovative approaches like the SC4Gh to change the trend.  He added that the SC4Gh is a GBP 1.43m prize value launched by the Government of Ghana in 2015 to stimulate competition among Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) and to encourage inclusive partnership for the design and implementation of liquid waste management strategies (LWMS).

Mr. Wumbei recounted that the competition started with 139 prequalified MMDAs and 48 successful submissions of the LWMS at the end of stage 1. He also stated that 21 MMDAs emerged as honourary award winners with 3 of the 21 sharing a total monetary awards of 75,000 GBP; and that 17 of the 21 MMDAs met the minimum criteria and were considered for the implementation stage – the Dignified City Award.

On progress made so far by the MMDAs, the SC4Gh team outlined that there were various ongoing interventions along the liquid waste management value chain at the MMDA level including, i) the promotion of household toilets construction for the poor; ii) construction of institutional & public toilets; iii) reduction of open defaecation through CLTs; iv) hygiene promotion; v) enhancement of regulations and compliance enforcement of bye laws; vi) acquisition of land for construction of liquid waste treatment and reuse plants.

Kwame Asubonteng announced that the SC4Gh partners have succeeded in sourcing an additional amount of US$ 225,000 from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation through CWSA. He explained that the additional amount will constitute the total prize purse for rewarding private sector and non-state actors who are able to partner and provide investments, innovative business solutions and expertise to at least one of the 17 SC4Gh MMDAs. Mr. Asubonteng stated, “The SC4Gh prize for the private sector and non state actors is geared towards enabling partnerships with MMDAs to achieve the full cycle implementation of their liquid waste management strategies.”

The facilitated interactive session enabled the team from IRC and the MSWR to respond to a number of issues raised by participants including clarification on the MMDA prize categories; why SC4Gh is only urban focused and not for all MMDAs; the level of support and motivation for MMDAs; criteria for judging and sustainability of the initiative. Kweku Quansah assured participants that the Ministry was working on forging partnerships and sourcing the needed funds to scale the competition to all 216 MMDAs.

Wrapping up the session Mr Quansah reemphasised that the stage 2 prize purse of GBP 1,285,000 has been earmarked for various categories of MMDAs who successfully implement their strategies. And that out of this amount GBP 400,000 is the first prize value for the Metropolitan and Municipal Assembly category, whilst the first prize for the District Assembly category is GBP 285,000. Additional GBP 600,000 will be available for other outstanding specialised areas of the competition. He commended the MMDAs showing strong commitment to come up with innovative ways to fund their liquid waste management strategies and for willing to sponsor their teams to participate in all the Stage 2 activities of the contest.

The competition, which is part of ‘Ideas to Impact’ programme runs from November, 2015 to December, 2018 under the auspices of the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources with funding from the UK Department for International Development. IRC Ghana is the national implementing agent acting on behalf of IMC Worldwide with technical support from Maple Consult (Ghana). The Dignified City Award of the SC4Gh seeks to induce MMDAs to among others forge partnerships for planning, mobilizing finance for the implementation of the urban liquid waste management strategies with great potential to create lasting impacts.

The side event, which was convened by EHSD/MLGRD, IRC and Maple Consult attracted over 40 participants drawn from local government authorities, NGOs, academia, development and private sector partners. With the SC4Gh Prize for the private sector and non state actors coming up, it will be interesting to see the additional energy and dynamics that will inspire real action in collaborative partnerships building towards the implementation process.

About the National Basic Sanitation stocktaking forum

The National Basic Sanitation Stocktaking Forum (STF) is an annual sector event organised by the Environmental Health and Sanitation Directorate of the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources (EHSD-MSWR). The annual STF seeks to create a platform for the Private sector, Academia/research Institutions, Development Partners, MMDAs and Central Government actors to deliberate on CLTS and other basic sanitation concerns in both rural and urban sanitation programmes. The theme for the fifth edition of the annual STF was ‘Five (5) years of Rural Sanitation Model and Strategy (RSMS) implementation in Ghana, learning for scaling up, now and beyond.’ The objectives included, i) create a platform for all stakeholders in the Sanitation sub-sector to discuss, review  and assess progress on the RSMS and agree on a strategy for scaling up; ii) share best practices and lessons learnt in the implementation of the RSMS by various organisations; iii) share best practices and lessons learnt in the implementation of the Urban Sanitation interventions by various organisations; iv) learn from other basic sanitation interventions ; v) share and learn innovative basic sanitation implementation experiences; vi) plan appropriate interventions to coordinate and support all basic sanitation activities. This year’s event attracted over 150 participants across Ghana and beyond.

Writer’s email: wumbei@ircwash.org

Innovative Financing for Urban Sanitation Improvements in Ghana

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