The Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources (MSWR) in partnership with UNICEF has held a close-out meeting on the piloted Urban Sanitation Project on Thursday, 13th April 2023 at Volta Serene Hotel, Ho. The meeting was attended by the Hon. Deputy Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, Mr. Amidu Isahaku Iddrisu, H.E. the Kingdom of Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana, Mr. Jeroen Verheul; the Country Representative for UNICEF Ghana, Mr. Fiachra McAsey; Chief Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) UNICEF Ghana, Mr. Ramesh Bhusal; the Chief Director of MSWR, Mr. Anthony Mensah; the Acting Chief Director of the Volta Regional Coordinating Council (VRCC), Mr. Augustus Kwaku Awity; the Municipal Chief Executive for Ho, Hon. Richard Divine Kwamla Bosson; Hon. Municipal Chief Executive for Komenda Edina Eguafo Abbrem.  Other attendees included Staff of MSWR, Staff of UNICEF in charge of WASH Programme, staff from the Environmental Health and Sanitation Unit of Ho Municipality, Tamale Metropolitan, Ashaiman Municipality and Cape Coast Metroplolitan Assembly.

UNICEF with funding Support from The Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherland in Ghana  began the pilot Urban Sanitation Project in the year 2015 in five Metropolitan and Municipal Assemblies, namely Ho Municipal Assembly, Tamale Metropolitan Assembly, Ashaiman Municipal Assembly, Cape Coast Metropolitan Assembly and Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abbrem Municipal Assembly.

In his opening address, the Hon. Deputy Minister for Water and Sanitation Resources, who chaired the meeting, conveyed the warmest greetings the Hon. Sector Minister, Ms. Cecelia Abena Daapah to the participants. He, likewise, expressed the appreciation of the Hon. Minister to UNICEF, the Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands and other Stakeholders in the management of Sanitation and its related issues for all the contributions towards the successful attainment of the objectives of the piloted Urban Sanitation Project in the five (5) Assemblies.

Mr. Amidu Isahaku Iddrisu congratulated the Assemblies for successfully implementing the project in their respective jurisdictions.

He noted that, the greatest challenge faced by the country is in the area of Waste Management and that people did not see the effects of WASH issues on their daily lives.  He therefore expressed the need to and enlighten people on the importance of having good sanitation through WASH activities.

He decried that, “I bemoan the situation where households complain of not having money to construct toilet facilities but members of these households own expensive smartphones at the expense of a toilet facility”.

He added that people do not comply with the laws on constructing toilet facilities, particularly in commercial properties. However, he said the various Assemblies were not able to enforce the applicable laws and by-laws.

Nevertheless, he was hopeful that, the collaboration between UNICEF and the Assemblies would lead to more achievements in the WASH sector.

He seized the opportunity to appeal to UNICEF and the Netherlands Embassy in Ghana to assist secure more funding towards the expansion of the project to other Assemblies.

In a Welcome Address delivered by the Acting Chief Director for Volta Regional Coordinating Council Mr. Augustus K. Awity, a Representative of the Volta Regional Minister, Hon. Dr. Archibald Yao Letsa, the Hon. Regional Minister expressed appreciation to UNICEF, the Kingdom of Netherlands and other Stakeholders for the selection of the Volta Region and for that matter Ho Municipality to be part of the five (5) beneficiary Regions of the the piloted Government of Ghana (GOG)-UNICEF Urban Sanitation Project. 

Dr. Letsa noted that the Project had enabled over 200, 000 people in the piloted urban areas in the aforementioned Metropolitan and Municipal Assemblies to gain access to improved sanitation and clean water. The Project he said also provided over 13,000 school children with improved sustainable sanitation, water facilities and hygiene behaviors.

Importantly, he expressed gratitude for the construction of a Faecal Sludge Treatment Facility which for the Ho Municipal Assembly. The Facility would treat all faecal waste from the Ho Municipality and adjoining districts into compost for the production of crops.

Addressing the gathering, the Country Representative of UNICEF, Mr. Fiachry McAsey intimated that the implementation of the Project was a huge success. Consequently, he expressed his delight about the implementation of the project.  He expressed appreciation to the Government of Ghana for the continued partnership. He equally expressed gratitude to the Government of the Kingdom of Netherlands for their essential support.

He stated that there had been a transformative change with the implementation of the Project. According to him, about two hundred and fifty thousand (250,000) people have gained access to basic sanitation facilities. He was highly impressed with the idea of private-sector participation in the Project Implementation.

He affirmed that the Sanitation Revolving Fund (Basic Sanitation Fund), a seed money of $500,000 provided by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Ghana, was an innovative idea to help households’ access cheaper funds to meet their sanitation needs.

On his part, the H.E. the Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana, Mr. Jereon Verheul indicated that  the successful implementation of Pilot Project the five (5) Metropolitan and Municipal Assemblies and was being closed in order that it could be extended to all parts of Ghana for the benefit of more people.

He seized the opportunity to commend the Government of Ghana for the efforts made towards ensuring safe water and sustainable sanitation. He emphasised that access to safe water and sustainable sanitation is crucial and that there is value in waste culminating in a value-chain. He posited that household expenditure should be turned into household investment especially in the area of sanitation management.

Furthermore, Mr. Verheul expressed the need for the use of Integrated Approach, with various elements, in ensuring sustainable sanitation with focus placed on each element of the Approach. The Approach, he said, is demand-led to sanitation, and that good services must be provided at good and fair prices.

Expatiating the Basic Sanitation Fund, he said it was money being provided upfront as a soft loan towards the construction of toilet facilities. He expressed joy about the 85% repayment rate of the loan by beneficiaries under the pilot Project.  

He therefore recommended that the Basic Sanitation Fund to be known as National Sanitation Fund be replicated all over the country to enable people have access to toilet facilities.

Mr. Verheul reassured participants of the support of the Netherlands Embassy in Ghana and the Dutch Government in achieving goals in Water and Sanitation.

He congratulated UNICEF, the Government of Ghana, the MSWR, the Metropolitan and Municipal Assemblies on the huge success chalked.

Finally, he entreated that the need for construction of household toilet be made part of the mindset of people.

As part of the meeting, the achievements of some of the beneficiary Metropolitan and Municipal Assemblies were showcased.

Shortly after the Close-up Meeting, the Dignitaries as well as participants embarked on a field visit to Akrofu Agorve to have the Faecal Sludge Treatment Facility inspected, commissioned and handed over to the Ho Municipal Assembly.