From Tuesday, August 13 to Friday, August 16, 2013, more than 100 experts and major players in Ghana’s water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector will converge in Kumasi for the 24th in series of the annual dialogues on Ghana’s WASH sector. The Mole conference series, which has become the number one multi stakeholder conference on water, sanitation and hygiene in Ghana, will this year be on the theme: ”Building Effective Partnership for Scaling-Up Sustainable Sanitation Services in Ghana”. This main theme has been categorised into four sub themes, which are “Public-Private Partnership for Scaling-Up Sustainable Sanitation Delivery”, “The Role of MMDAs in Sanitation Service Delivery”, “Community’s Perspective in solving Sanitation Challenges: opportunities and realities” and “Sanitation and health linkages: a way out of Ghana’s Sanitation Challenges?” The key objective of the conference is to take stock, share experiences and engage in collaborations to find sustainable solutions to Ghana’s current sanitation crises. According to the organisers, the Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS), the conference will specifically explore options and opportunities for sustainable sanitation delivery in Ghana; examine public/private partnership models for accelerated sanitation delivery and ascertain the relevance of operation, maintenance, and user fees as financing options for improved sanitation delivery. It is also expected to share knowledge and expertise on sanitation delivery and provide recommendations for policy advocacy and influencing. In an exclusive interview Thursday, August 1, 2013, Mr Benjamin Arthur, Executive Secretary of CONIWAS, said the choice of this year’s theme was informed by the fact that all NGOs in the sector seem to be doing their own thing with no proper coordination. “So we don’t have any mechanism to be coordinating all these projects and initiatives…We think that if we can bring people together and build that relationship and know what is going on, we can at least put things together and it can move us ahead in terms of sanitation delivery. And more also know the general challenges each individual organisation, especially the private sector is facing in scaling up sanitation,” he stated. Mr Arthur disclosed that the innovation for this year’s conference will be a value added component, which will comprise various organisations sharing and indeed demonstrating various projects in sanitation they have embarked on, highlighting the successes and “challenges that are preventing them from scaling up”, to inform dialogue on the way forward for such projects or innovations. The Mole Conference series is named after the venue of the maiden edition, Mole, in the Northern Region of Ghana, 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. This year’s edition is being organised with the support of WaterAid Ghana, International Resource Centre (IRC), CARE-KASA, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Plan Ghana, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and CHF International, all organisations in the WASH sector, among others. Last year’s conference, Mole XXIII, was held from August 21 to August 25 in the Northern Regional capital Tamale with the theme: “Financing the WASH Sector: Past, Current and Vision for the Future” and was chaired by Vo-Na Baba Bawa, Member of the Council of State.
By Edmund Smith-Asante