WASH stakeholders meet in Jirapa

Jirapa (U/W), Representatives from 17 countries from Asia, Africa, Australia and Latin America have met in Jirapa in the Upper West Region to share experiences on the sanitation challenge.

The Global Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Learning Event on Rural Sanitation is being held under the theme: The Missing Middle: Rural Growth Centres in Area-wide Sanitation.

Madam Anne Mutta, Multi Country Programme Manager of the Sustainable Sanitation and Hygiene for All (SSH4A), said as they continue to make progress in the area of SSH4A, they realised that some stakeholders were being left behind.

We realised our sustainable approach probably is not suitable for this group of people that are neither urban nor rural, hence the need to think out of the box in order to reach them and ensure there is area-wide sanitation, she said.

Madam Mutta said the learning event would afford them the opportunity to identify the gaps in what they are doing presently and also explore other opportunities.

In this regard, she said, they needed to ensure that the targeted group were given specific interventions to ensure that everyone had access to good sanitation in the effort to attain Sustainable Development Goal Six (SDG 6).

Participants will also learn from each other’s approaches particularly focusing on the ‘missing middle’ and how they can reach out to them with sanitation and hygiene facilities, she said.

Madam Mutta said that looking at the prevailing situation, achieving area-wide coverage was possible especially with the right political drive, administrative will and community acceptance and participation.

Madam Antoinette Kane, Global WASH Coordinator for SNV, said that WASH is being implemented in 13 countries and this has helped increase the coverage of sanitation by a minimum of 49 per cent across all districts and maximum of 100 per cent as in the case of Nandom District in Ghana.

She said countries such as Nepal and Rwanda were on the verge of achieving countrywide sanitation coverage and there is the need for them to share their experiences.

Mr Anjo Van Toom, Country Director, SNV Ghana, said access to good sanitation is a human right and it is important that measures are put in place to ensure that people continue to enjoy that right.

He said achieving area-wide sanitation coverage would have a huge impact on the health of the people, hence the focus on the ‘missing middle’.

After such great achievements in the sanitation sector, sustainability of the results has become the next focus, Mr Van Toom said.

To sustain the WASH gains from the implementation of the SSH4A programme, Mr Eric Banye, the Country Programme Coordinator of SNV, said the SNV is currently implementing the Voice for Change (V4C) Partnership Programme in Ghana and five other countries.

He said the programme generated evidence and built the capacity of Civil Society Organisations, government institutions and the private sector to ensure sustainability and effective inclusive sanitation services delivery.

Mr Banye called on both the private sector and government to prioritise and invest in sanitation in order to achieve the SDG 6.

Mr Thaddeus Arkum Aasoglenang, the Nandom District Chief Executive (DCE), said a sustainability plan including the constitution of a team of sanitation ambassadors and the formulation of sanitation by-laws for the district has already been put in place to ensure the sustenance of the Open Defecation Free (ODF) status achieved.

Mr Richard Nyirishema, Programme Director of WASH Project, SNV Rwanda, said the Rwandan sanitation success story was due to the high political willingness, WASH sector investment commitment and adequate community awareness.

Source: Ghana News Agency