This article originally appeared on Ghana News Agency.
Nii Nortey Duah, Deputy Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, has reiterated government's commitment to continue to support any initiative that would increase access to potable water and improved sanitation services to all Ghanaians. He said access to potable water, improved sanitation was key to the socio-economic development of the country, and government was aware that many Ghanaians still relied on streams, rivers and other unsafe sources of drinking water, which had diverse effects on their health.
In Ghana it is estimated that 51 per cent of the population live in urban areas and out of this only 62 per cent have access to improved water supply.
Nii Duah said this at the launch of the National Strategy for Community Participation in Urban Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Services in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, CHF International and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Accra on Wednesday.
He said the strategy would create the environment for innovative community management that would synergise with the operations of Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), as well as open a window of opportunity for engagement of communities and the GWCL to share ownership responsibility for the good of poor communities. The strategy would create adequate capacity and commitment of communities and Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) towards operation and maintenance for sustainable service delivery.
Nii Duah said that it would engage the non-traditional actors aside the GWCL, the MMDAs and other known entities in the provision of WASH services, by adding extra energy to sustainably provide the needs of members of the deprived urban communities. He noted that the strategy if properly implemented would assist in mobilising small, medium and large investment for the development of small water systems, particularly urban poor and peri-urban poor.
Nii Duah said although the rapid rate of urbanisation in the country had made it impossible for government to meet the ever-increasing demand for improved WASH services for the urban population, government was hopeful that this strategy would help the sector address its key challenges. He appealed to development partners and other non-governmental organisations to support the implementation of the strategy.
Mr. Alberto Wilde, Country Director, CHF International, said the objective of the WASH project was to increase household access to affordable, improved and sustainable drinking water supply and increase household access to improved and sustainable sanitation facility. He said it was also to promote innovative economic enterprises or businesses related to water and sanitation, improve hygiene and sanitation behaviour and strengthen local governance for water supply and sanitation service delivery and hygiene promotion. Mr Wilde said the project was well integrated to assist government to improve the water and sanitation problems, and were in line with Ghana's quest to meet the United Nations Millennium Development Goals of halving the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and sanitation, especially for the urban poor.
Mrs. Chery Anderson, Mission Director, USAID, said USAID had over the years assisted CHF International in many interventions saying the strategy would allow the communities own and manage their own water system. She reiterated their commitment to support the strategy and appealed to all stakeholders to ensure that the project becomes successful.