Hon. Regional Minister, Northern Region,
Hon. District Chief Executives and Assembly Members
Board Members of CWSA
The CEO and staff of CWSA
Representatives of Development Partners
Project Advisors and NGO Partners
Members of the Press
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
We have gathered here at the Annual Review Conference of the Community Water and Sanitation Agency to take stock of the activities of the Agency over the past year. Indeed it is a good practice for meeting to review what have been done in relation to targets that were set for the year. I am very excited to be part of this review conference since it is the first time I am attending the annual review conference of the Agency.
Mr. Chairman, I wish to remind all stakeholders that have gathered here that the purpose of the Community Water and Sanitation Agency is to ensure that our people living in the rural communities and small towns have access to sustainable safe water supply and improved sanitation facilities as well as the maintenance of good hygiene practices. This is the raison detre of the Agency and we should all keep it in mind in everything that we do. We should always ask the critical question whether whatever we are carrying out will contribute towards the attainment of this goal of the Agency.
I am optimistic that the theme for this Review Conference: Monitoring and Evaluation for Sustainable Delivery of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion is crucial to the goal of the Agency. It is essential that you deliberate on such themes so as to adopt pragmatic measures to ensure the sustainability of the facilities we are constructing. I am only a little curious to know what steps the Agency has put in place in relation to monitoring and evaluation over the past 10 years. Are there pragmatic measures already established that will enable us to know the state of the water and sanitation facilities that were constructed around 1994 when the National Community Water and Sanitation Programme was launched?
Mr. Chairman, I will like to state that the time has come for us to do away with the thinking that we in Ghana do not have a culture of maintenance. We must strive to demonstrate that we know and understand the essence and critical role that maintenance plays with respect to the sustainability of any infrastructure development. CWSA with the caliber of highly skilled and well trained personnel should be able to facilitate the setting of good example in relation to maintenance of facilities.
I am aware that beneficiary communities have the responsibility of operation and maintenance of the systems that have been put in place, but I am charging CWSA as the public entity with the mandate of facilitating the provision of sustainable safe water and sanitation facilities to rural communities and small towns, to play a leadership role towards the sustainability of the water and sanitation facilities that have been delivered through various interventions funded by the Ghana Government and external development agencies.
Almost every public sector organization could use the lack of resources as an excuse to justify its failure to achieve planned targets. It is true that there are budgetary constraints that will militate against your work, but it is in the face of such constraints that you should demonstrate your ingenuity and capacity to improvise. A good leader is the one who is able to solve critical problems in the face of major constraints. I am therefore expecting to see the demonstration of your creative and innovative abilities by coming up with solutions to the problems that militate against sustainability of the facilities.
Mr. Chairman, we are all aware that monitoring and evaluation plays a vital role in ensuring the sustainability of the facilities. I am accordingly challenging CWSA Management to come up with measures that will enable the Agency carry out effective monitoring and evaluation of completed and ongoing projects at the minimum cost possible. You should explore the increasing technological advancements to help you achieve your objective. I am sure that with proper education and good collaboration with other stakeholders, especially beneficiary communities, the Agency will be able to access prompt and reliable information of the status of facilities.
The Government is keen on ensuring that there is significant increase in the percentage of the people that have access to sustainable safe water, especially in the rural communities. Provision of sustainable water supply facilities is a key to the Governments Better Ghana Agenda and I will therefore implore all stakeholders to show more commitment and diligence in our quest to improve the life of our people. Government is still working around the clock to secure more funding for the sector and bring new projects. We must all contribute our quota to ensure that ongoing interventions and new projects that will come on board are successfully executed.
Mr. Chairman, since this is the formal opening of the Annual Review Conference, I will admonish all participants to be frank and let us discuss issues dispassionately. We should aim at the bigger picture and not try to defend positions. We are all working towards a common goal and there is no need to be rigid in our thinking. In any review process, there is need for flexibility, we should be ready to learn new things and adopt new approach of doing things. We should all remember that no lasting progress will be achieved without monitoring, evaluation and where applicable re-designing of systems.
In conclusion, I will urge the Management and staff of CWSA to ensure that this Annual Review Conference produces measurable and lasting results. Your deliberations should lead to the identification of new measures for monitoring and evaluation that would enhance the sustainability of water and sanitation facilities.
May the Lord bless us all and God bless our nation Ghana.