Vida Duti, IRC Country Director in Ghana
25 Aug, 2014 in
The rural water and sanitation sub sector of Ghana is on a positive trajectory towards establishing an inventory of rural and small-towns water systems across the country and a continuous service monitoring process that will enable the sector to measure and report on access, functionality and sustainability of service levels. The national Agency for rural and small towns water service delivery is leading a national process to scale up application of a Framework of Service Delivery Indicators for Assessing and Monitoring Rural and Small Town Water Supply Services in Ghana in 131 districts (8 out of the 10 regions) after its successful pilot in three districts. The pilot of the framework was conducted by IRC and the Community Water and Sanitation Agency in collaboration with Akatsi, Sunyani West and East Gonja Districts Assemblies (the Service Authorities) in Ghana under the Sustainable Services at Scale (Triple-S) Initiative. The scaling up process is being supported with additional funding of about $3.9 million from the Government of Ghana, the Netherlands Government, World Bank, UNICEF and Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. This is an important step towards improving the quality of water services based on an understanding of the underlying causes of system failure and using the data for effective water infrastructure asset management, planning and investment decisions. Already, the application of the tool in the pilot districts has generated data for asset infrastructure register, comprehensive planning and budgeting that covers new investments, capital maintenance of existing infrastructure and triggered remedial actions benefiting over 59,000 water users within two years of its application.
For many years, rural water monitoring in Ghana has focused on counting number of facilities constructed and reported on coverage. Rural water coverage is estimated at 63.66% (CWSA Annual report, 2013) but there is no available country level functionality data. The District Monitoring and Evaluation System (DIMES) established for monitoring the rural water subsector has been plagued with many challenges including inefficient methods for data collection, inadequate training of frontline/district staff on the application of the system and competing project specific monitoring systems diverting attention from developing national systems for water service monitoring. In the 2014 Ghana SWA HLM Commitment Statement, the Government of Ghana (GoG) pledged to scale up service monitoring; make adequate provisions for new investments, major rehabilitation, and expansion of existing facilities; and also provide for full operational costs of government institutions. The launching of a national scaling up of service monitoring therefore marks a significant step towards the fulfilment of this pledge of the GoG.
The Ghana presentation will highlight how the monitoring framework has served as a decision support tool for a transition from focus on counting systems to monitoring services for sustainability using AKVO-FLOW ICT data collection system and how these processes will advance realization of Ghana’s SWA HLM commitments for sector performance monitoring, planning and financing. Experience with how the service indicator framework was developed, experimented and adopted; and the processes underway to scale up its application with realigned Development Partners’ (DPs) funding under the leadership of Government will also be shared. It will also explicate the challenges faced in the pilot exercise; how these were addressed; and the challenges we anticipate in this massive 131 districts’ scale up exercise spread, across 8 regions of Ghana with multiple DPs funding sources.
Photo: District Assembly field team collecting data on water services using mobile phone. IRC Triple-S.