KUMASI (Ghana), Aug. 23 (MOLE)-- The 24th Mole Conference opened in
Kumasi on Wednesday with participants putting the need for scaling up
sanitation coverage in the country under the spotlight.
The three-day conference which was opened by Senior Presidential
Advisor, Paul Victor Obeng had all the main speakers acknowledging
the slow performance in the sector, calling for stronger
collaborations among the stakeholders to scale up Ghana’s performance
in sanitation delivery which is the Millennium Development Goal-seven
Mr Obeng conceded that something definitely went wrong, hence the
country’s inability to progress in the MDG-7, observing that
stakeholders were looking at a way of building partnerships at a time
they should have been evaluating performance in policy implementation
as a way of winding up activities on the MDGs.
He called on the stakeholders to develop enforceable standards for
achieving the MDG-7, which seeks to achieve 54 percent coverage in
sanitation, asserting that one of the reasons the country had
under-performed in sanitation was the lack of urgency in the
implementation of policies.
Ghana has only been able to achieve 15 percent with just over two
years left to reach the target date of 2015.
“We all know we have underperformed in the sanitation sector, so
whatever needs to be done should be done with a certain level of
urgency in order to recover lost time,” Mr. Obeng stressed
He continued, “We need a complete passionate evaluation of what has
been done, who did what and who has not done what, to be used as
building blocks for scaling up performance,” observing that the
scaling up cannot happen if there is no workable plans in place.
The Presidential Advisor admonished participants to institute a new
partnership in public education and dissemination to sensitize the
public on the new ways they should handle waste.
The 24th Mole Conference themed “Building Effective Partnerships
for Scaling up Sustainable Sanitation Services in Ghana.”
“The collective conscience of Ghanaians is in the filthy gutters
and as we visit our schools and find out that these children do not
have toilets, and when we see the mountains of refuse rising in our
towns and villages, and people practicing open defecation, that is
where the conscience of Ghanaians is,” Chairman of the occasion, Doris
Yaa Darteh (Ph. D), intimated.
Dr. Darteh, a Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH communications
expert raised the alarm that sanitation had long been a crisis in
Ghana, and if nothing was done to reverse the trend, it would become
a disaster, as people would begin to see it as normal.
“Sanitation is at the heart of our national development and so it
must be tackled with some urgency with all hands coming on deck,” she
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Energy and Natural
Resources, Prof. Esi Awuah who delivered the theme message observed
that one of the major inhibiting factors in sanitation delivery in
Ghana was the cultural behavior in which it is a taboo for people to
She observed that although private sector participation in the
sanitation has increased, work could not progress as expected since
bribery, corruption, nepotism and tribalism have caused the award of
contracts to incompetent people in the sector.
The Vice Chancellor expressed worry that countries were becoming
dependent on Development Partners (DPs) for service delivery in the
sector since governments themselves have low knowledge in sanitation.
Farouk Braima, Chairman of the Coalition of NGOs in Water and
Sanitation (CONIWAS) lamented that over five million Ghanaians still
practiced open defecation.
He believed the country still has a tough time meeting the MDG-7,
but added that when all stakeholders play their critical roles,
success can be achieved.
Mole is organized by the Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation
(CONIWAS), and is one of the largest stakeholder conferences on the
WASH sector in Ghana, bringing the government, Civil Society
Organizations (CSOs) Community Based Organizations (CBO), Development
Partners (DPs) and other stakeholder together to dialogue on ways to
improve service delivery in the sector.
Justice Lee Adoboe/GWJN