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CONIWAS re-echoes calls for gov’t to increase investment in sanitation

sanitation
A ramp at one of the toilet facilities.
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By: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH

The Coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS) has reiterated its call on the government to accelerate the process leading to the establishment of the National Sanitation Authority and the National Sanitation Fund.

According to the Coalition, the national sanitation authority and the sanitation fund coming on stream will help to propel sanitation services in Ghana.

CONIWAS is also calling on the government to continue its work towards increasing investment in sanitation and its related activities.

The call was contained in a statement issued and signed by the Executive Secretary of CONIWAS to mark the commemoration of the 2023 World Toilet Day (WTD).

The theme for the 2023 WTD is “Accelerating Change Through Strategic Partnerships; Every Contribution Counts”. 

According to the coalition, the theme for this year’s commemorative event calls for effective stakeholder collaboration toward providing sustainable sanitation solutions to Ghanaian citizens towards the attainment of the WASH SDG targets.

CONIWAS says although the country has made steady progress in water access, with 88% of people accessing basic services (close to the global average of 90%), the sanitation situation is rather poor, with only 25% having access to basic services, about 57% using shared or public facilities, and 18% still defecating in open defecation (PHC, 2021).

It emphasised that safely managed sanitation is critical for reducing child mortality, increasing education among children, improving nutrition, enhancing human dignity, especially for women and girls, and providing job opportunities to the youth. 

Below is the full statement:

WORLD TOILET DAY:

“Accelerating Change Through Strategic Partnerships; Every Contribution Counts”. 

A CONIWAS STATEMENT

19th November, 2023

World Toilet Day is a Global Day set aside every 19th November to remind the world that millions of people around the world lack proper sanitation facilities, which has significant implications for public health, dignity, and overall well-being.  

Every year, CONIWAS joins WASH stakeholders in Ghana and the world to commemorate this significant day. This year’s WTD is under the theme “Accelerating Change Through Strategic Partnerships; Every Contribution Counts”. 

The theme calls for effective stakeholder collaboration toward providing sustainable sanitation solutions to Ghanaian citizens towards the attainment of the WASH SDG targets.

Water and Sanitation have been recognised by the UN as a human right issue thus everyone everywhere should have access to safe water and a safe dignified toilet. 

Nevertheless, there are many people in the world who still lack access to an improved household toilet. According to the WHO/UNICEF Global WASH Monitoring Report, today, 1 in 4 people (2 billion people) around the world lack safely managed drinking water while close to 1.8 billion people either defecate in the open or use filthy and broken toilets. 

In Ghana, although the country has made steady progress in water access with 88% of people accessing basic service (close to the global average of 90%), the sanitation situation is rather very poor, with only 25% having access to basic services, about 57% using shared or public facilities and 18% still defecating in open defecation (PHC, 2021) Safely managed sanitation is critical for reducing child mortality, increasing education among children, improving nutrition, enhancing human dignity, especially for women and girls, and providing job opportunities to the youth. 

The Government of Ghana and its partners have been contributing in various ways to ensure households have access to safe toilets and improved health in Ghana. 

We acknowledge the great work of the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources (MSWR) through the GAMA project to provide sanitation facilities to households, as well as working with several private sector partners to develop sanitation treatment plants to complement the sanitation value chain.

We are also happy about Government commitments through the presidential compact to establish the National Sanitation Authority (NSA) and other development that is aimed at accelerating access to sanitation. 

It is imperative that the government and stakeholders in the sector prioritize investment in Sanitation infrastructure.  

We by this, re-echo previous calls to the government to continue its work towards increasing investment in sanitation by accelerating the process of establishing the National Sanitation Authority and the National Sanitation Fund to propel sanitation services in Ghana.

We recognise the work of CONIWAS members and all other development partners in their efforts to complement the government’s efforts by supporting the delivery of sanitation services in rural, peri-urban, and urban areas in Ghana. 

Even though Ghana is off-track in attaining the SDGs, we still need to accelerate progress and we can do so by working together.

The Ghana WASH Sector Development Programme is a framework that intends to promote sector coordination in order to harness the efforts of all partners. 

As such, we call on stakeholders in the WASH sector to work closely through the provisions and pillars of the GWASHSDP for collective sanitation progress. 

On this special day, CONIWAS calls on the Ministry to mandate all sector players to work with the document and to find modalities for coordinating the efforts of government, NGOs, CBOs, Private Sector, and Research institutions within the WASH sector.

We also entreat all CONIWAS members to continue their good work in increasing access to safe household toilets, especially in rural and hard-to-reach communities in Ghana. 

We also encourage the private sector to provide more innovative and low-cost toilet technologies for average households in Ghana.

CONIWAS also calls on individuals, households, communities, and institutions to own, use, and maintain clean toilets in their homes and public places. 

We also call on all MMDAs to enforce sanitation bylaws and other regulations to stop open defecation practices in Ghana.

Finally, as we commemorate World Toilet Day, we want to remind stakeholders again about the rationale for the theme this year “Accelerating Change Through Strategic Partnerships; Every Contribution Counts”. 

By working together with other organizations or private individuals, we can achieve progress and positive outcomes more quickly and efficiently. 

CONIWAS recognizes that no one organization or individual has all the resources, expertise, or influence needed to solve complex sanitation problems or achieve ambitious goals alone. 

We need to harness our resources and expertise so that we can achieve a true partnership for a win-win goal rather than a winner-take-all.

Thank you!!

Executive Secretary

Accra, November 19, 2023

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