General Information

Introduction/Background

The Annual Mole Conference Series is the longest Civil Society multi-stakeholder platform held each year. The Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS) has organized this conference consistently for thirty-one years. It brings together Government, NGOs/Civil Society and Academia to dialogue and make recommendations for policy and practice change for sustainable Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) delivery in line with national and international WASH and development policies. This year, the thirty-second edition will focus on WASH and emergency Response for sustainable growth with the theme:

‘‘Repositioning the WASH Sector for Emergency Response and Sustainable Development’’.

The COVID-19 pandemic has plunged the global economy into recession, with an additional 119 to 124 million people pushed into extreme poverty during 2020 (WHO-UNICEF JMP 2021. The importance of handwashing, hand hygiene and sanitation came to the fore during this pandemic. Emergency situations such as COVID-19 poses a major threat to the service provision, including WASH because of limited emergency preparedness, but more so to ensure mitigation measures are well targeted to reach vulnerable populations.

The COVID-19 national and global response has had a strong focus on promoting hand hygiene and strengthening infection prevention and control. The importance of WASH in human development is further bolstered by its centrality in the fight against the deadly COVID-19. The President of Ghana, H.E Akufo Addo directed the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources to provide safe water free of charge for people in Ghana from April 2020 till March 2021 and to June 2021, for only lifeline water consumers.

The Directive included a promised emergency financial support by Government to Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) and private water providers to sustain water supply to especially vulnerable and low-income communities. The main aim was to ensure the promotion of good personal hygiene and improved sanitation to prevent COVID-19 infections from rising. Consequently, the GWCL CWSA complied and provided free water to people in Ghana for the period of the Presidential Directive.

The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 6) for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) is to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, by the year, 2030. Since 2016, Ghana has made strides to provide safe WASH to everyone, everywhere in Ghana by 2030 during inadequate financing, institutional challenges and most recently the ravaging Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). The 2021 Joint Monitoring Platform (JMP) report put Ghana’s basic sanitation at 24% in 2020, up from 19% in 2015. Basic Drinking Water is 86% in 2020, up from 80% in 2015, while hygiene is 42%, up from 41% in 2015.

While this may call for celebration, it masks the rural-urban divide, the differences in access between the rich and poor, men and women, boys, and girls, which are crucial to address development inequalities, and ensure No-one is left behind. Most importantly, the ravaging COVID-19 highlighted the ever-ending importance of hand hygiene and frequent handwashing to prevent the spread of the disease. Among the three critical pillars of fighting COVID-19, frequent handwashing with soap under running water, backed by improved sanitation is found to be the most important.

One key lesson of the impact of the covid-19 pandemic on the WASH sector is the need to prepare for emergency response to ensure equitable WASH service delivery. A well-prepared emergency response means ensuring that systems, institutions, and resources are available to enable the WASH sector to prepare and mitigate the effects of any unforeseen situation or future pandemic and other unexpected hazards, including the unknown impact of climate change. This will ensure that the WASH sector become more responsive to disasters and pandemics, especially in vulnerable communities and low-income communities as well sustain the central role of WASH in human development.

It is against this background that MOLE XXXII conference will discuss and harness ideas, set the agenda and contribute to design policies to strengthen WASH sector emergency preparedness. This will ensure the sector is ready to anticipate, plan, mitigate and respond to whatever acute or chronic challenges that may arise in emergency situations in future.

Conference Objectives

The main aim of conference is generate policy and practical programme ideas to contribute to informed sector policy on WASH in emergencies. The conference will also provide information to participants on various WASH policies and programmes, advocate for the improvement of enabling framework for WASH in emergencies and attract private sector investment with a view to improving WASH service delivery. The specific objectives are to:

  •  Discuss policy and programme imperatives on emergency WASH response.
  •  Dialogue on investment requirements and modalities for WASH in emergencies
  •  Partnership and collaboration for effective emergency WASH responsive preparedness
  •  Management of Water Resources for equitable service delivery

Content and Sub-themes

The conference will discuss in detail the repositioning of the WASH sector for emergency response and growth, and its impact on the delivery of improved WASH services in Ghana. The advantages, disadvantages, and remedial measures to mitigate the risks and turn them into benefits will also be discussed. The conference will retain its normal focus of knowledge sharing and advocacy and will devote about 60% of the period to sharing lessons on trends. Within a period of four days, Conference will look at five sub-themes as follows:

Sub-theme 1WASH in Emergencies. This will address the need for effective WASH in emergency policy, strategy, and guidelines to address poor targeting of pro-poor communities and vulnerable population during public health emergencies such as COVID-19. The current Government strategies on WASH in emergencies would be subjected to critical discussions for informed review processes.

Sub-theme 2: WASH as Catalyst for Growth. WASH is central for growth and development, but rarely appreciated. This theme will discuss the important linkage of SDG 6 and its linkages with all other SDGs to propel Ghana’s economic growth and overall developmentThe dimensions of local economic growthwith WASH as critical enabler will be exploredThe Small WASH businesses at the district and community levels would be highlighted under this theme.

Sub-theme 3: Managing Our Water Resources for equitable Growth. This sub-theme will focus on effective management of water resources for sustainable and equitable growth and development within the context of SDG6. Integrated water resources management (IWRM) will feature prominently under this sub-theme. The expectation of this sub-theme is to garner and gather ideas on community role in protecting water bodies to make safe water supply sustainable.

Sub-theme 4: ICT and WASH Delivery. This sub-theme will explore the role of digitization and the ongoing Information, communication, technology (ICT) revolution on sustainable WASH services delivery in Ghana. The issues of appropriate technology for effective water, sanitation and hygiene delivery will be explored under this sub-theme.

Methodology

The conference approach and methodology will include the following:

  • PresentationPapers on selected thematic areas will be presented by key national and international sector experts for discussion.
  • Expert panel discussions:Knowledge sharing events will include expert panel discussions on key identified issues. Discussions will seek to seek expert opinion and to generate dialogue among participants.
  • Group discussionsKey issues emanating from presentations will be discussed in plenary and in smaller groups. Outcomes of group work will be captured and shared in plenary.
  • Papers: A variety of selected papers will be presented at parallel sessions and discussed. Papers may be direct accounts of programs or projects which aim to share successes and failures of approaches and field experiences.
  • Posters: Relevant posters will be prominently displayed during the conference within the time allocated for discussions.
  • Side events: During the side events, international organizations, NGOs, programs, or projects can share results, introduce new approaches, or engage the conference audience on emerging issues in the sector.
  • Debate: A grand debate on the motion related to the conference theme will form part of the conference program.
  • Media eventsThe Mole XXXII conference will receive a high level of media coverage and reportage as part of the planned advocacy objectives of the conference.
  • ExhibitionsSector organizations, resource centers, service providers and manufacturers will have the opportunity to exhibit their products over the conference period.
  • Community Outreach: The conference will organize an outreach programme to one of the nearby communities around the venue to sensitize residents on COVID-19, handwashing among others towards improved hygiene.
  • Open space approach: Ample time will be allowed at the conference for participants to share their field implementation experience on the main theme and sub-themes, and to co-create and manage discussion sessions around the thematic issues at the conference.
  • Field visits: The conference will include field visits to water supply and solid waste management systems in nearby communities that are deploying emerging and appropriate technologies in services delivery.
  • Conference Communiqué: A key output of the conference will be a presentation of the Conference Communiqué in a press conference which will capture key decisions from conference proceedings.

Benefits

The conference will offer a rare opportunity for participants to:

  1. learn from good practices across the country and beyond.
  2. disseminate the results of successful programs and projects.
  3. meet industry players and share what works and what doesn’t, identifying synergies and ways of working together in the future.
  4. meet and network with relevant stakeholders in the WASH sector.
  5. be part of a critical mass of stakeholders and actors committed to prioritizing and promoting sustainable WASH services delivery.

Contact us

The Executive Secretary

Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS)

P.M. B. 24, KIA, Accra, Phone: +233 24 4 595 664

E-mail: coniwas@yahoo.com

Website: www.coniwas.org

Zonal Coordinators

Northern Zone

Abdul-Ganiyu Ibrahim

Wunzooya Development Association (WUZDA)

Tel: +233 246829532

Email: ganiyu.wuzda67@yahoo.com.

Middle Zone

Rose Meda Donkor

African Assistance Plan

Tel: +233 247186575

Email: rose_meda@yahoo.co.uk

Southern Zone

Ebenezer Adu Lartey

Divine Group International

Tel: +233 24 476 0710

Email: divinegroupinternational@gmail.com


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