Christabel Addo/ Doris Amenyo, GNA
Accra, July 25, GNA - A Learning and Practice Convening workshop has opened in Accra for Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) who have pre-qualified for the final stage of the Sanitation Challenge for Ghana (SC4Gh) contest, dubbed the “Dignified City” award.
The contest, which is an innovative prize launched by the government in 2015, is to promote competition among MMDAs and motivate them to team up with citizens, innovators and problem solvers to design and implement Liquid Waste Management (LWM) strategies to transform, and improve the lives of poor people in Ghana’s urban centres.
Dr Nana Ato Arthur, the Head of the Office of the Local Government Service, who chaired the opening on Wednesday, said 17 MMDAs have currently qualified for the second stage of the contest, to implement the LWM strategies to enable them to bring transformational changes to urban sanitation services delivery in their focused project areas.
He said the workshop therefore, followed the completion of the review process of the reports on the implementation of the agreed strategies by the 17 MMDAs, and it was to ensure proper follow-ups, stimulate peer learning exchange and explore innovations to inform improved practice and speedy implementation of the agreed LWM value chain results.
The two-day workshop, would be facilitated by the SC4Gh team comprising of the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Office of Head of Local Government Service, IMC Worldwide, IRC Ghana, and Maple Consult.
Dr Arthur commended the organisers of the workshop, saying it would also remind the MMDAs of the judging criteria and process, and facilitate field visits to state-of-the-art liquid waste management treatment and reuse facilities in Accra and Tema, to enable the Assemblies to jointly reflect on ways to adopt and enhance partnerships with non-state actors to intensify implementation of the value chain activities.
He also congratulated the 17 MMDAs for their commitment towards a clean environment through the SC4Gh contest, saying the negative effects of poor sanitation leads to the retrogression in both health, education as well as the socio-economic advancement of the country.
He stressed on the importance of committed leadership and adequate resource allocation to address the sanitation challenges in especially the urban areas in order to attract tourists and investors into the country.
Mr Michael Yaw Gyato, the Deputy Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, on his part said “with less than 13 years to 2030, we have a herculean task as a country to meet the sanitation SDG targets, though our performance for sanitation has been abysmal in the past 25 years”.
He however said whilst the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources was taking proactive measures to address the sanitation challenges, there was no gain saying that some of the challenges would require collective efforts with the private sector, collaborating with the Government to find innovative solutions.
The Government, he said, has prioritised sanitation by putting in place a number of interventions including the Evacuation and Capping of seven major illegal landfill in the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, facilitating a process to ensure a 24-hour operation at the Tema landfill site which was the only operational disposal facility within the Greater Accra Municipal Assembly (GAMA), and developed a quick impact and Medium term Strategies.
He said other interventions included; the building of over 6,000 Household toilets in low income communities, and the construction of 260 Institutional toilet facilities both within the GAMA, as well as the completion of the rehabilitated Central Accra Sewerage System which included; the retreatment plant and pump stations.
Mr Gyato stated that the government has also “initiated the construction of 200,000 households toilets as part of the one-household-one toilet programme in collaboration with other sister Ministries”, saying all the interventions and efforts would no doubt put sanitation on track and subsequently meet the SDG targets.
Mr Christopher Sackyfio, a Consultant with Maple Consult, said a total prize purse of GBP 1.43 million has been earmarked for the various categories of SC4Gh awards to MMDAs who successfully implemented their strategies, out of which GBP 400,000 would be won as first prize by the Metropolitan and Municipal Assembly category, while the District Assembly category would take GBP 285,000 as their first prize.
A pot of 600,000 would then be distributed to other prize categories to be determined during the implementation process.