Dr Beatrix Allah-Mensah, Senior Social Development Specialist, World Bank, Tuesday said institutional arrangements, approaches and methodologies for developing, use and management of water and sanitation services needed to be looked at again so as to factor in gender and household–based elements.
“There is the need for innovation. Assumptions about households and gender in general and in particular as units of analysis should give way to using the data and information to develop follow up actions, monitor and evaluate the actions with reference to gender and households,” she said.
Speaking at the on-going 64th New Year School in Accra, Dr Allah-Mensah urged stakeholders to earmark resources, set targets and indicators to measure progress towards expected results and use outcomes to inform future policies, strategies and actions.
The school is being organized by the University of Ghana Institute of Continuing and Distance Education under the theme; “The Key to Future Health of Our Nation: Improved Water, Sanitation and Hygiene”.
Dr Allah-Mensah said there was the need for people to understand the different levels, actors and principles that governed the provision of water and sanitation in urban and rural areas as they had implications for gender and household considerations.
“Whilst partnership is key Government and its agencies should show a high sense of commitment devoid of rhetoric through institutional and policy strategic decisions starting with review of policies, strategies and action plans with the aim of ensuring commitment to the gender and household dimensions.
“With these, it is expected that the role of gender and households in the use and management of water and sanitation services would, in addition to being units of analysis, be seen as critical actors who could contribute effectively through action-oriented programs leading to changes in rhetoric to real and sustained results,” she said.
Dr Allah-Mensah said this was what we had all been yearning for as individuals, groups, households, governments, institutions and organizations.
Dr Grace Bediako of the National Development Planning Commission, noted that there were very few attempts made to incorporate gender into water, sanitation and hygiene issues.
She said women were the users and collectors of water and must be given support in management and development of water, sanitation, hygiene and housing systems.
Dr Bediako said 60 per cent of households in rural sub-Saharan Africa had women aged 15 and above collecting water and those women managed water resources not only for domestic purposes but for productive purposes as well.
She said 43.6 per cent of households in Ghana depended on adult women for collection of water and called for an improved access to water to benefit all.