Mole XVI Conference 2005

Mole XVI Conference 2005

Over the past 16 years, the Mole conference has constituted the most important multi-stakeholder forum for discussion issues relating to the development of the Community Water and Sanitation Sector issues. This year's Mole conference has again lived up to expectation. It was organised by the Coalition of NGOs in the Water and Sanitation sector (CONIWAS) at the Miklin hotel in Kumasi from 7 till 10 June 2005. The conference brought together about 100 stakeholders within the Ghanaian Water and Sanitation Sector including donors, agency staff, NGO personnel, community groups and District Assembly staff. The theme of the Conference's was "Counting the Numbers: A Water and Sanitation Sector MDG Challenge".

The Mole XVI conference was officially opened on Wednesday 8 June 2005 by the Regional Minister of Ashanti Region. Conference sponsors and well wishers were given the opportunity to deliver good will messages. In the afternoon there were presentations from UNICEF, TREND Group and the CWSA on MDG monitoring. The last presentation of the afternoon was an entertaining presentation on the Guinea Worm Eradication Programme.

Day 2 of the conference started with the presentation of the outcomes of a case study that had been commissioned by CONIWAS on different monitoring systems within Ghana. The study was quite critical on the different monitoring systems that exist throughout the Country. The main conclusion was that there were (too) many parallel systems and that there is very little communication and cooperation between the involved organisations and projects. The rest of the Day 2 involved three modules of presentations and discussions: First different organisations and projects had the chance to present their monitoring systems. This was followed by a session where the emphasis was on methodologies for data collection for monitoring. The key organisations in this session included the Association of Water Boards. The last session for the day involved presentations on Knowledge Management. The Task Force on Knowledge Management (an ad hoc group constituted by the Sector and supported by the CWSA) gave a presentation on concept of KM, the potential benefits of improved KM and efforts to mainstream KM in the Ghanaian Water Sector. This presentation was complemented by the presentation of the GTZ sponsored EVORAP-Project which sought to describe in detail the achievements of the Projects in terms of documentation and capacity for knowledge management.

Day 3 started with a panel discussion on strengthening capacities for MDG monitoring. The panel members were asked to elaborate on what was according to them the most critical factor concerning monitoring the MDGs. The main points that came up included coordination between organisations and the need for a better (institutional) framework, the lack of capacity and resources on DA level and the importance of going through government. Discussions also highlighted the need to broaden the scope of monitoring beyond "counting the numbers" to include efforts that seek to strengthen the effectiveness of projects with particular emphasis on Post Construction Support to District and sub-district stakeholders. The concluding activities for the Conference involved a working group session on different themes that had come up during the conference. The themes included Post Construction Support to Projects, Gender in monitoring, knowledge management etc. Following the reporting back by the different working groups, a draft conference communiqué was discussed in plenary.

Generally the Conference was a great success in terms of its goal of bringing together a wide range of sector stakeholders to discuss sector development issues. The Theme for the conference proved to be very pertinent to the current level of sector development and the outcomes clearly established the huge challenges that exist with the effort to develop a coordinated sector-wide approach to monitoring of sector activities. Once again, CONIWAS has chalked a great success with the MOLE Conference. But the wide scope of issues that came up and could not be exhaustiveness discussed clearly established the need for other means for on-going sector dialogue between stakeholders.