On Friday, April 14, 2022, IRC Ghana convened a meeting with Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) sector stakeholders in the Asutifi North District. The aim of the meeting was to solicit inputs and comments on the draft harmonized National Guidelines for WASH service delivery and to increase awareness of this comprehensive policy document.
The meeting was attended by a diverse group of participants, including staff of the decentralized departments, the district health directorate, staff of the district education office, small-town water system managers, area mechanics, and some representatives of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation grantees in the District.
Jeremiah Atengdem, an IRC Ghana water expert, explained that the lack of a single comprehensive policy document makes it difficult for district officials to interpret and oversee the delivery of WASH services and this gap has also affected the quality and standard of WASH services. The new draft document’s goal is to provide specific guidelines for the management, operations, and maintenance of WASH facilities at the district level.
The draft covers the roles and responsibilities of various WASH stakeholders, including the Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs), water service providers, schools, healthcare facilities, the private sector, and households. Bismark K. Asante, Asutifi North District’s Planning Officer, expressed his appreciation for the meeting because it would clarify the roles of individual stakeholders and prevent conflicts.
In addition to enhancing the quality and standard of WASH services, the comprehensive policy document is expected to increase public awareness and encourage continued investments in WASH. Atengdem also pointed out that sometimes, inaction from people is not necessarily due to disinterest, but maybe because the person doesn't know what to do.
The hope is that the new guidelines will enable more people access to better WASH services and improve their quality of life.