The 22nd edition of the longest running annual Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector event in Ghana, the Mole Conference is currently on going at Busua Beach Resort in the Central Region of Ghana. The conference is discussing the theme, ‘‘Towards Decentralized WASH Services Delivery: Challenges and Lessons".
The key objective of the conference is to take stock, share experiences, challenges, lessons and the way forward on the effort towards decentralized water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services delivery. The specific objectives of the workshop are to discuss the sustainability of WASH Services with respect to small town water supply; identify and discuss the implications of Oil and Gas industry to the WASH resources in Western Region; and to gain consensus on mechanisms for expanding CLTS and in a way which enable people move up the sanitation ladder.
The conference covers four sub themes, namely, i) Governance, Accountability and Aid Effectiveness in the WASH sector; ii) dealing with long term financing for small town systems; iii) Oil and Gas and its implications in the WASH sector; and iv) Scaling up Sanitation and Hygiene- The CLTS factor.
Governance, Accountability and Aid Effectiveness in the WASH sector:
The Paris Declaration on Aid-Effectiveness, the Accra Agenda for Action and the European Union Code of Conduct all commit the development partners to improve aid effectiveness. Poor governance has been blamed for most of the crisis in WASH today, especially with regard to effective /local government leadership, transparency and accountable conduct of service providers, be they public, private or not-for-profit. Ghana has taken giant strides to harmonize procedures and programmes amongst the myriad of players in the WASH sector. A sector wide approach (SWAp) is underway, so is a Sector Strategic Development Plan (SSDP). This conference will examine how these initiatives would in practice help to:
- Bridge the gap between international declarations and practical implementation of those declarations (localizing the Paris Declaration for Implementation and Monitoring).
- Improve efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery
- Increase effective community participation in decision making at all levels
- Strengthen sector governance,
- Improve transparency and accountability of duty bearers to communities
Dealing with Long-term Financing for Small Town Systems
Small towns systems have been successful to some degree in meeting operation and maintenance costs with minimal external support. What is clear is that no system yet has been able to demonstrate that it is capable of meeting the replacement costs of the system effectively when the system outlives its current lifespan. Inadequate savings, inflation, depreciation of the cedi and political interference combine to further complicate this problem. For the goal of meeting all costs including future replacement costs to be met, small towns need to seek money market solutions for tailored made financial products, or to plug unto existing ones. They also need innovative risk protection mechanisms to insulate them from catastrophic events that result in huge financial outlays for repairs.
Oil and Gas and its implications in the WASH sector
The emergence of the oil and gas industry in Ghana has ramifying implications for the WASH sector in Ghana. The Western Region, which is home to the oil discovery, is already experiencing a boom in tourism. The number of visitors trooping to the region, and seeking permanent or temporary stay is on the increase. With a high price tag on housing, less wealthy people will have to give way to wealthier visitors who are able to pay a better price for the choicest apartments in the choicest parts of the cities. This means the poor would gradually be displaced to the peri-urban areas, or those sections of the city with no or less reliable services. The demand for WASH services would outstrip the capacity of the already overstretched municipal or district authorities. The consequences could be dire for local government authorities, citizens and central government. The conference will facilitate a serious reflection on the situation and propose measures as to how districts in the affected districts could better prepare against an imminent WASH crisis.
Scaling up Sanitation and Hygiene - The CLTS factor
CLTS is the new song in the sector. Whilst some countries that chose this path have every reason to celebrate their success, other countries that opted for the same path are less able to do so. The conference would review how far Ghana is progressing with the CLTS agenda, and whether there are any early signs of ultimate success. Participants would know if CLTS would count towards the MDGs or not.
New and On-going Developments in the WASH Sector
Since Mole XXI, there has been new developments in the WASH Sector of which Sector practitioners and Stakeholders may not be aware and have not been able to contributes and or share their experiences on. These initiatives would be shared during the conference. Some of these are Household Water Treatment and Storage Strategy, Sector Wide Approach (SWAp), Sector Strategic Development Plans, Sector Monitoring and Evaluation Framework, MDGs Accelerated Framework
And Promoting Women in leadership in WASH at the highest political level
This is anchored on knowledge sharing sessions covering structured and expert panel discussions, exhibitions, structured media events, conference communiqué and report.
The Mole Conference series is one of the biggest multi-stakeholder annual platforms in the WASH sector in Ghana. The Platform, named after the venue of the maiden edition, Mole in the Northern Region of Ghana, is organised by the Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS) and brings together sector practitioners from NGOs, Government, Private Operators, Networks, CBOs, CSOs, etc. to dialogue, learn and share knowledge/ information on specific themes that affect the sector.
For further information visit: www.moleconference.org or contact, CONIWAS Secretariat,