ASUTIFI NORTH AHONIDIE MPONTUO (ANAM) PARTNERS HOLD FIRST MEETING IN 2021
In March 2021 the first ANAM Partners meeting of the year was held to discuss progress made over the past year and priority actions for the current year.. The meeting this year was held virtually as a precaution against COVID-19 coupled with government restriction.
All partners provided updates from 2020 and their priority actions for 2021 under the initiative. ANDA highlighted its development of a District Pandemic Preparedness and Response Plan for COVID-19 and associated implementation actions, and partnership agreement with Safe Water Network and World Vision Ghana to construct a water system for an estimated 7,000 households in Kenyasi no. 1. ANDA pledge to prioritize its continued provision of political leadership and support to all partners in the District.
CDC and Aquaya Institute presented results of independent studies they conducted on water quality from various sources in the district including households, Schools and Healthcare facilities, and outlined recommendations and priorities actions they were taking in 2021 based on the findings from their studies.
World Vision International highlighted that 14 communities were provided with boreholes while 10 non-functioning boreholes were rehabilitated. Additionally, 26 water points were constructed from 4 Limited Mechanized Systems in the district. WVI would be prioritizing this year the pilot and scale up of household connections in 2 large communities, scale implementation of Sanitation marketing, and Implement Sesame WASH- Up in 5 schools.
Netcentric Campaigners highlighted the growth of the ANAM Network membership from 450 in 2019 to 1,152 in 2020 despite the challenges faced due to COVID-19. They indicated that they would prioritize the expansion of the ANAM core group to include new stakeholders and ensure effective communication with the network members through the use of Bulk SMS.
Safe Water Network provided free water services to customers within the service area of its water stations in Wamahinso and Gambia No. 2 in response to the President’s Free Water directive to combat COVID-19. Their priorities for the year include the completion of phase 1 of Kenyasi No. 1 construction, mainly the water treatment facility and a few distribution points.
IRC with NPDC jointly documented WASH case studies in 3 districts and published the Manual on Good Practices for WASH in Ghana. IRC also provided field technical support in the implementation of the Network building project and facilitated the collection of data for mid-line assessment of WASH in Schools and Health care facilities. IRC will prioritize supporting NDPC to develop a toolkit to inform the WASH planning guidelines for the next cycle of Medium-Term Development Plan (2022-2025) and will support the district to review the WASH masterplan. IRC will also be facilitating the development of a resiliency plan by the District Assembly in 2021.
ASUTIFI NORTH DISTRICT MARKSWORLD WATER DAY.
This year’s World Water Day was observed on the 22nd of March. The day has been observed annually since 1993 as a United Nations Observance focusing on the importance of freshwater. In the Asutifi North District of the Ahafo Region, partners of the ANAM WASH Initiative hosted a round table dialogue on Anapua FM to deliberate and sensitize audience of the station and the district at large on pertinent water related issues in the district. The radio session hosted a 3-member panel comprised of Mr. James Ata-Era (District Planning Officer, Asutifi North District Assembly), Mr. Cephas Wedam (WASH Project Coordinator, World Vision International), and Mr. Joel Asubonteng (WASH Desk Officer, Asutifi North District).
The panel discussed among other things the state of water service delivery in the district and progress made over the past few years in bridging existing gaps in service delivery. Mr James Ata-Era indicated that at the district level, persons with access to safely managed water had increased from 5% in 2017 to 15% by end of 2020 while the population with access to basic water supply had also increased from 52% in 2017 to 61% in 2020. He further explained that as at the end of 2020, 87% of the district’s population has access to water services in one way or the other.
On the issue of citizenry of the district having a voice on water related issues in the district, Mr Ata-Era pointed out that the ANAM WASH Initiative had put in place various strategies to ensure an efficient two-way communication between citizens of the district and the District Assembly and its partners. He cited how the WASH Desk at the District Assembly and toll-free number served as a channel through which community members brought the attention of authorities and partners to water challenges faced in the communities. He added that the monthly ANAM WASH Radio Program and various social media platforms served as channels through which citizens made complaints, received feedback and were informed on the state of water service delivery in the district.
Mr. Ata-Era expressed the determination of the district assembly and it partners to ensure no-one was left behind, and that efforts were being made to accelerate provision of safely managed water services for all. Although certain economic, social, and environmental / hydrogeological factors created bottlenecks to ensuring basic water service delivery for all in the district, efforts were being made collaboratively to address them. These efforts include the Targeted Subsidy Project by Aquaya Institute which would contribute towards bridging economic gaps for the poor and vulnerable in accessing safely managed and basic water services. Also, a project financed by the Latter-Day Saints Charities and implemented by World Vision International (WVI), ANDA, and IRC would target increasing access to clean water, and sanitation in 5 hard to reach rural communities, 5 schools, and 60 households in efforts to ensure no-one was left behind in the district.
Mr. Cephas Wedam elaborated on the valorization of water and sustainability of water service delivery in communities of the district. He stressed the importance of recognizing water as a commodity which needed to be paid for and would ensure funds were available to water system management teams to undertake regularly needed treatment of the water and repair works on the delivery infrastructure on behalf of the community. He admonished community members to insist on the provision of good quality water and hold their WSMT accountable in that regard. Mr. Wedam took the opportunity to advice listeners to as much as possible, keep the surroundings of water sources clean, including the surroundings of boreholes and wells, and surface water sources. He explained how Global Warming and Climate Change coupled with illegal mining (galamsey) and bad farming practices posed a threat to water security in the district.
Mr. Joel Asubonteng also used the avenue to update listeners on upcoming WASH related activities in the district including the continuation of the water testing and treatment program by Aquaya Institute. He additionally provided feedback on actions and developments undertaken by the Assembly and the ANAM partners in relation to WASH Desk complaints received from some community members over the past weeks.
IRC HOLDS CONSULTATIVE MEETING WITH ASUTIFI NORTH DISTRICT ASSEMBLY STAFF ON THE NEXT PHASE OF ANAM INITIATIVE.
As part of the conceptualization and development of the next phase of the ANAM Initiative, including efforts to consolidate the gains made and replicate successes in other districts made under the project, IRC Ghana held a consultative session with key staff of Asutifi North District Assembly on March 25, 2021. Key staff of the District Assembly who participated in the meeting included the District Chief Executive, District Coordinating Director, District Planning Officer, District Finance Officer, and other Heads of Departments.
The Country Director of IRC, Mrs. Vida Duti led the IRC Ghana team for the engagements. Participants at the meeting reflected on the current support to the District, particularly what interventions should be continued to consolidate and institutionalize the gains made, areas IRC should scale back on in terms of its support, and what new initiatives should be introduced to achieve a district-wide scale. The meeting also discussed a regional programme to replicate good cases and successful pilots from Asutifi North District in other districts in Ahafo Region.