By: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH
The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) and Sekondi – Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly (STMA) have lauded the African Water and Sanitation Association’s (AfWASA) Citywide Inclusive Sanitation (CWIS) Initiative.
AMA. KMA and STMA are the only beneficiaries of the AfWASA’s CWIS Initiative out of the six Metropolitan Assemblies in Ghana.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with GBCGHANAONLINE’s Franklin ASARE-DONKOH on the sidelines of a 3-day CWIS training workshop for city authorities held in Accra, heads of departments responsible for environment and sanitation from the three (3) Metropolitan Assemblies believed the AfWASA’s CWIS Initiative, which focuses on service provision and its enabling environment, rather than building infrastructure, is going to be a game changer for the numerous urban sanitation challenges the assemblies are faced with.
The Director of, the Waste Management Department at AMA, Mr. Solomon Nai explained that even though there have been lots of programs and policies which are all geared towards addressing the urban sanitation menace in the past, the Citywide Inclusive Sanitation (CWIS) Initiative is well-tailored to closing the loop from access to sanitation facilities to sustainable management of wastewater and sludge.
“Citywide Inclusive Sanitation (CWIS) looks to shift the urban sanitation paradigm, aiming to ensure everyone has access to safely managed sanitation by promoting a range of solutions both onsite and sewered, centralized or decentralized designer to the realities of today’s rapidly increasing cities.” Mr. Nai noted.
Meanwhile, the Metro Development Planning Officer at KMA, Mr. Michael Agyemang, thinks the CWIS initiative is unique in the sense that it focuses much attention on the area of liquid waste management which has been overlooked for a very long time.
“This program will afford us the opportunity to accelerate the progress made in the area of containment (facilities to receive the liquid waste such as the provision of household toilets, and liquid waste treatment plants among many others) in the Kumasi Metro. And with the implementation of the CWIS initiative, the KMA stands the chance of making a lot of gains in the area of convenience (transportation of human excreta, approved waste streams for disposal to the final disposal site,” He added.
The AfWASA Local Consultant for Ghana, Mr. Patrick Apoya, addressing the media at the end of the 3-day conference, hinted that the City Wide Inclusive Sanitation (CWIS) initiative is a program implemented by the African Water Association (AfWA) and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation with the objective of strengthening the capacities of AfWA members on City Wide Inclusive Sanitation.
The program he explained will be implemented in more than ten countries, including Ghana with the Ghana Water Company Ltd (GWCL) as AfWA’s focal partner.
“The project will involve setting up peer-to-peer partnerships in the field of Sanitation (Sanitation Operators Partnerships – SOP) and conducting end-user training in the cities concerned for the benefit of WASH actors.” He noted
The objective of the CWIS project Mr. Apoya said is to achieve universal access to improved sanitation in the cities targeted, taking into consideration the safe management of all human excreta, and the efficient recovery of the resources generated throughout the sanitation value chain by a variety of technical solutions, whether on-site or off-site sanitation.
The project was officially launched in Kumasi on the 24th of June 2021 involving all 3 cities and the MSWR.
The Sustainable Development Goals (Goal 6) have drastically changed the focus from access to a household sanitation facility (as was prioritized under the MDGs) to consideration of the full sanitation service chain. Despite 2.1 billion people gaining access to improved toilets or latrines since 1990, the world, and especially Ghana have a long way to go to meet the new SDG target of safely managed sanitation for all.
This shift in paradigm to CWIS requires a change in mindset. Governments and development agencies increasingly recognize that historic approaches to urban sanitation have not always worked and new approaches are required. Consulting firms need to think differently, not simply replicate approaches found in high-income countries.