AGRIC, SAGNARIGU DISTRICT– The periodic Northern Region Learning Alliance Platform meeting by the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) on the Sustainable Services at Scale (Triple-S) project has ended, paving way for SMARTerWASH, another promising project.
The seventh Regional Learning Alliance Platform meeting held recently at the CWSA, brought together stakeholders in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector to share experiences of the best practices and find solution to challenges facing the sector in the Northern Region.
The meeting also discussed findings from the East Gonja District aimed at monitoring the functionality and service levels of water facilities in the Salaga Township and its immediate environs.
Extension Services Specialist and Regional Learning Alliance facilitator Godwin Kofoku in an interview with Savannahnews explained that, the Triple-S project began in 2009 in Sunyani West District in the Brong Ahafo Region, Akatsi District in the Volta Region and East Gonja District in the Northern Region.
According to him, the focused of the project was to monitor sustainable water services delivery as against normal infrastructure provision. The functionality and services monitoring which came in the form of periodic data collection by officials of beneficiary districts, he said, assisted the districts and partners to focus on the actual services received by citizens as opposed to water infrastructure provision.
Mr. Kofoku stressed that, the project also assisted Assemblies to assess the capacity gap of District Works Department, District Water and Sanitation Teams and other departments in providing the needed support for sustainable water services.
However, an important part of ensuring the provision of sustainable water services is having a strong and complete monitoring system that provides continuous reliable data needed for corrective action and strategic planning. This is key to sustainable delivery of water and sanitation services to citizens.
But the lack of adequate funds and logistical supplies for effective monitoring to ensure the functionality of these facilities scattered nationwide, according to Mr. Kofoku, is adversely affecting rural water and sanitation services delivery.
Besides, the challenge of easy access to and regular supply of spare parts for periodic maintenance of water facilities to ensure maximum functionality are major factors affecting sustainability. In view of this, the CWSA in partnership with IRC Ghana, has developed an innovative project called SMARTerWASH to address the challenge of monitoring in the subsector.
SMARTerWASH, is a smart and innovative Public Private Partnership (PPP) project between the CWSA, the International Water and Sanitation Center (IRC) and Akvo of The Netherlands, Skyfox, a Ghanaian private company, Water For People (WFP), USA and Rabobank Group of The Netherlands that seeks to develop simple tools for monitoring and data collection in the rural water and sanitation sub sector.
SMARTerWASH is the use of Smart Mobile Phones in Monitoring Rural Water and Sanitation Services to ensure functionality and sustainable services to rural communities and small towns.
The three-year project is being funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Agentschap.nl (Agency.nl) which is the implementing agency of the Government of the Netherlands. With a total cost of Euro3, 812,709 of which Euro2, 220.000 is the maximum subsidy, the project began in April 2013 and will end on March 31, 2016.
Private funding is being provided by Cisco Systems and Konrad Hilton Foundation through Akvo, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation through IRC Ghana, Skyfox and the IDA World Bank through the CWSA. The SMARTerWASH project seeks to develop the capacity of stakeholders at the national, regional, district and community levels to use mobile systems to monitor water and sanitation services and to use policy, planning and operations to ensure good quality services that last.
The seventh Northern Region Learning Alliance Platform meeting brought together stakeholders from the CWSA, East Gonja District Assembly, WaterAid-Ghana, the media and other interested groups involved in advocacy in the water, sanitation and Hygiene sector in the region.