Kwabena Sapong a private consultant talks about sustainability during the Ghana water week.
Kwabena Sapong Manu, a consultant in the water Sector, in Ghana and most of African. He is currently working with the African development bank, to support countries to develop water action plans. Talked to Abu Wumbei about sustainable service delivery at the Ghana water Forum, 2010.
In respect to Sanitation and Water as well sustainability is a critical issue. You can build all the facilities but if they are not functioning to deliver the services they were put up to do, then you can are not assisting us to anywhere.
Ghana has been successful in putting up projects and managing then for a short period. Mr. Kabuana urges that there a number of issues that need be tackled if these facilities have to continue providing service thought out their lifetime.
Question: Sustainability has been the theme for the Ghana Water Forum. What in your opinion constitutes Sustainability?
Sustainability connotes that the facilities you put in place can deliver the service thought out their lifetime and the final consumer receives service throughout the lifetime of the project.
When you talk about sustainable service delivery, you are looking at the factors the ensure sustainability, for example: maintaining the system in a manner such that they can continue to give us output that we designed them to?. What does it mean to maintain the system? We need to make available the resources through the tariffs or other user fees to do Operation and maintenance, it goes beyond that, we need to do capital maintenance, in other words, restore the system in the near situation to enable the systems continue to provide service.
The other aspects of sustainability are that to ensure that people who manage the system have the capacity to efficiently perform their tasks. Otherwise the systems will break down.
Sustainability also means that you have it, which implies I should pay substantially. i.e. sustainability also means increasing uptake. Meaning that the systems provide services to those who already have but further more we need to allow the moneys that systems generate to produce new ones for others who are not yet served.
Questions: What is the role of learning alliances in providing Sustainability?
Having worked in Ghana and many other countries, I find that we are not sharing information enough, and where the information is available and is being shared we are not reading enough, we don’t seem to be reading enough.
I have tackled projects that are doing pilots but if the proponents of those projects had just had just taken time to learn what has been done by others. We would have gone direct to scale rather than just doing pilots and demonstrations.
It’s good that we have learning network in Ghana, the knowledge products first has to be available and we as sector players must ensure that we disseminate information on projects that they have done. We need to get people to read these products documents, so that we can learn from others and use these lessons learnt, the bad ones and the goods and we can apply them to our circumstances.
Mr. Kwabena recommended the National learning platform to increase its base of learners.