The Resource Centre Network (RCN) in collaboration with the United Nations International Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF) and the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources (MSWR) on Thursday held a research dissemination workshop on rural sanitation service delivery.
The findings from the two years study of Rural Sanitation Operations research was led by the OMI Consortium, comprising of Oxford Policy Management, Maple Consult Ghana, and IRC Ghana, operating umbrella body referred to as the National Level Learning Platform (NLLAP).
The OMI Consortium conducted the research with focus on sanitation marketing in six municipal and district assemblies and a number of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector organisations to elicit their response to sanitation implementation programmes.
The objective of the workshop was to learn and share major findings and key recommendations from the research and appraise WASH sector stakeholders on work done to date on the operational Research and Rural Sanitation.
It was also to discuss with stakeholders in the WASH sector the key rural sanitation service delivery based findings from the District Enabling Environment study and community level engagements.
Opening the session in Accra, Professor Kwame Asubonteng, a member of the OMI group, said the report summarised the key findings from the two-year operational research programme in Ghana which took place between 2016/17 and 2018/19 to focus on rural sanitation programmes.
He said the main aim of the operational research was to strengthen the evidence base related to rural sanitation, with an emphasis on identifying the enabling environmental factors associated with good and poor progress in rural sanitation.
Prof. Asubonteng said, nationally it was estimated that over one in five Ghanaians have no access to toilet and defecate in the open, adding that between 2000 and 2015, there was only a modest reduction in open defecation rates from 22 per cent to 19 per cent for Ghana to be classified as having made “little to no progress” against the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) target for sanitation.
He said, however, more recent survey data (MICS 2017) indicated progress was accelerating in Ghana in some regions in both rural and urban areas and across all wealth quintiles.
Prof. Asubonteng said the research therefore focusedin the six districts to examine the enabling environment for rural sanitation, while a community-level study was conducted to assess the community level factors that inhibit or support progress in rural sanitation.
He said data from the recent research showed a sharp acceleration in results over the last two years as compared to the early phases (2012-2016) of the programme, though participants asked for more advocacy, education and finance resources for rural sanitation implementation programme to gain more grounds.
“These data suggest there is importance to building a momentum in a community through focused promotion,” he said.
Prof. Asubonteng said the team also noted a general improvement in the level of sanitation prioritisation at the district level, adding that it was seen to be strongly related to the change of senior leadership in MMDA’s being set in the context of rural sanitation receiving greater political prioritisation at all levels.
BY LAWRENCE MARKWEI