Dr. Freda Akosua Prempeh, the Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, has reiterated an all-hands-on-deck approach towards fighting illegal mining to help protect water bodies from imminent destruction.
She said God had blessed Ghana with an abundance of water bodies and it behoved Ghanaians, including the traditional authorities, the religious stakeholders and opinion leaders at the community level, to ensure those water bodies were preserved for future generations.
Madam Prempeh said this in Jirapa in an address during the opening session of the MOLE XXXIV Conference on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) on the theme: ‘Building Inclusive and Resilient Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Systems to Reach the Unserved”.
The Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS) organised the conference to create a common platform for stakeholders in the WASH sector to review equity and inclusive approaches toward building resilient WASH services in the country.
“The government is doing its part, but it means that you also have a crucial role to play in fighting galamsey so that we can protect our water bodies.
“We don’t want the situation where our future generations will be looking for water to buy from outside this country”, she explained.
Dr. Prempeh indicated that the government was working to improve the WASH sector of the country and called for the support of development partners and private sector actors towards achieving a resilient WASH sector.
She said, for instance, the recently launched Ghana WASH Sector Development Programme estimated a total funding requirement of GH₵1.9 billion to achieve WASH for all by 2030, which required the support of the development partners.
She, however, commended the WASH sector actors, including development partners, for their continuous support to the government to improve the sector.
The Minister also urged the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to ensure that private waste collectors they had engaged to collect waste were delivering the expected and timely service and not to wait for the waste bins to overflow as that could create another health menace.
She suggested a form of punishment for the waste collectors who reneged on their responsibilities, including fining them.
Ms Beata Awinpoka Akanyani, the Chairperson of CONIWAS, said the coalition, in its 20th year now, had been the long-standing body of NGO advancing WASH issues at both national and international levels.
She said access to funding for its active national and local members to implement WASH programmes had been a challenge to the coalition with the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbating the challenge.
“I am using this opportunity to appeal to international NGOs and development partners to consider sustainable funding partnership with our national NGOs and CBOs (Community-based Organisations) members of CONIWAS to sustain our programmes and organisations,” Ms Akanyani stated.
She explained that the various zonal leaders – Northern, Middle and Southern Zones – of the coalition were poised to collaborate with the government to accelerate Ghana’s WASH access rate.
“We are prepared for durable and effective partnership to promote innovative service delivery, address inequalities and work to strengthen systems,” she explained.
Ms Akanyani said the conference would, among other things, explore effective ways to adapt to climate change to ensure the WASH service delivery systems remained effective despite climate uncertainties.
Mr Vincent Opong Asamoah, a ranking Member of the Parliamentary Select Committee for Water Resources, Works, and Housing, said Parliament had attached importance to the MOLE Conference due to its impact on the WASH sector of the country.
He recommended that CONIWAS should engage with political parties in the country in the development of their manifestoes for the 2024 general election to ensure that issues of WASH were adequately captured in the manifestoes.
The Conference brought together private and public sector actors in WASH, development partners and WASH stakeholders to discuss systems, approaches, and models for ensuring resilient WASH service delivery in Ghana.