Mrs. Basilia Nanbigne addressing the media in Accra.

The Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS) is set to organize the 29th edition of the MOLE XXIX Conference slated for 6th to November at Sogakope in the Volta Region.

This year’s ground-breaking conference has been themed: “Reforming Ghana’s water, Sanitation and hygiene sector towards Universal.”

Speaking at the pre – MOLE XXIX Conference in Accra, the Executive Secretary of CONIWAS,Mrs. Basilia Nanbigne, noted that over the years, the conference has attracted several players and stakeholders on an annual basis, locally and internationally, to deliberate on critical issues affecting the sector.

Stressing that, the calls from the previous Mole Conference Series have played a significant role in
various institutional reforms in Ghana’s WASH sector.

This she said, the de-coupling of rural water supply from the functions of the then Ghana Water and Sewerage Corporation, culminating in the establishment of the Community Water and Sanitation Agency, has made it possible for majority of rural communities in Ghana to gain access to improved drinking water.

“Calls from the conference are also believed to have influenced the increased profile of WASH especially during the early 2000s, when a dedicated Directorate was created within the then Ministry of Works and Housing and currently an entire Ministry established to focus on sanitation and water resources,” she explained.

Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources was created in January 2017 bringing a renewed hope of revival and improved WASH sector performance with the confidence that sanitation and hygiene was going to receive the needed political priority and institutional focus.

Mrs. Nanbigne noted that the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) has commissioned some reforms within the rural and small-town water sub-sector, with the ultimate aim of employing professionalism to consolidate the gains made in the sub-sector.

This she said, in view of these promising institutional reviews and the launch of a National Sanitation Campaign in 2017 among other initiatives, there does not seem to be a very clear march towards universal access to water and sanitation in Ghana.

According to her, the main objective of Mole 29 is to highlight the status of the WASH sector, sensitize WASH stakeholders and make inputs into Government WASH Policies towards universal access for everyone everywhere by 2030.
More specifically, deliberations at the conference will focus on the following:

• Advocate for and support efforts at institutional re-alignment of directorates, departments and agencies under the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources and related Ministries;

• Update stakeholders on various WASH policies, strategies, plans and programs;

• Discuss the mechanisms and strategies for localizing the SDGs and ensuring greater ownership at the sub national level, and

• Create a platform to highlight the impacts of integrity, social accountability and
monitoring on sector performance.

Scope of the Conference

The conference will retain its usual focus on knowledge sharing and advocacy and will devote about 60% of the period to sharing lessons on trends. Discussions during the conference will centre on:
• Institutional Re-alignment for Accelerated Service Delivery

• Effective Sector Policies and Strategies

• Localizing the SDG 6 for Sustainable Financing at all Levels

• Integrity, Social Accountability and Performance Monitoring

According Mrs. Nanbigne, access to improved sanitation is still a mirage.
This she said, while a few regions like the Northern, Upper West and Upper East need to be commended for their efforts at reducing open defecation and increasing access to household latrines, some regions do not seem to have any visible signs of reduction in open defecation or improving basic sanitation.

“Access to improved drinking water that used to be encouraging during the MDG era has hit poor levels of service with regards to the expectations in the SDGs,” she stated.

Source: Isaac Kofi Dzokpo/newsghana.com.gh

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