Sanitation ministry to replicate GAMA water, sanitation project nationwide

The Sanitation and Water Resources Ministry has announced that it will soon replicate the GAMA Water and Sanitation Project to other parts of the country.

The proposed up-scaling follows huge strides recorded in the implementation of the pro-poor project in the Greater Accra Region.

GAMA, through the World Bank is expected to provide eighteen thousand affordable, environmental friendly state of the toilet facilities to low income and urban communities and expand access to potable water to these areas by 2020.

The World Vision International estimates that about 15 in every 100 Ghanaians have access to sanitation facilities and services, while nearly all public schools lack access to improved sanitation and hygiene facilities.

So far, more that fifteen thousand four hundred toilets have been constructed for households in various assemblies within the catchment area for the ongoing Greater Accra Metropolitan Water and Sanitation Project.

This figure according to project managers is subject to change considering the rate with which contractors are constructing the facilities based on the increasing demand.

Liquid Waste Programs Manager, Henrietta Osei-Tutu hinted “once you start the initiative in other areas, it means that all the resources required, both human and financial has to be in place, and it takes time to mobilize these things.”

The leader for the capacity building component of the GAMA Water and Sanitation project added “GAMA has given us so many lessons through the capacity building component which is helping us draw lessons so that when we move to other areas we will not repeat some of the draw backs recorded in GAMA. This project now serves as a blueprint to move to other areas.”

According to the Liquid Waste Programs Manager, “the ministry is working assiduously to achieve the target of having sustainable toilets for all. We are also in talks with other funding agencies while we develop the concept of up-scaling to other urban areas. I cannot give you specific timelines for the expansion but I can assure you however that, we are developing all the necessary framework designs and concepts that are required to be able to replicate this success story in other urban areas in Ghana.”

Update on Water and Sanitation Project

Managers of the Greater Accra Metropolitan Assembly Water and Sanitation Project say figures available to them as at December 19, 2018 points to the successful completion of more than 15,400 household toilets.

The project has also completed a total of 106 out of proposed 400 education institutional toilets to be provided more than in over 100 schools across the project catchment area.

More so, the water component of the project according to Henrietta Osei-Tutu “has even a better story than the sanitation component.”

“With the sanitation component, we had to do a lot of studies, assessments and pilots before we were able to scale up to achieve the success we have”, she revealed.

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The Liquid Waste Programs Manager at the Sanitation Ministry added “the water component on the other hand was quite specific.

They started out mainly with their initiative which was the construction and extension of pipe mains for houses to be able to connect in low income areas especially where the mains which are the bigger pipes that distribute water were not passing through.”

The water component is said to have exceeded its target, connecting areas that hitherto had serious water challenges like Adenta. The project is currently in Ga East where suburbs like Taifa, Kwabenya and the like have access to potable water now.

Challenges with management of school toilets

Like most public facilities, the poor maintenance culture is thwarting efforts by the GAMA project to provide decent toilet facilities for schools.

A good number of the completed school toilets according to project managers are in bad shape owing to the poor maintenance culture and seeming lake of concern by district and municipal assembly officers to keep the facilities functioning the way it ought to.

Solid Waste Director at the Sanitation Ministry, Charlotte Adjei-Marfo noted “the figures and reports we have on assessments of school toilets are very disturbing. The management of the ones we have built has been a big issue and it is the responsibility of the municipal assemblies to cater for the toilets through budgetary allocations from the assemblies”.

Behavioral Change Specialist working on the GAMA project, Kuranchie Adama-Tettey revealed that GAMA would soon come up with a district league table for schools on the management of their toilet facilities.

He said “the school within the GAMA area would be encouraged to come up with sustainable ways of managing their school toilets, not just ways but how they are doing it and succeeding. This would help us award marks and recognize the schools that are doing well in that regard”.

Bio-digester Technology

GAMA is deploying the Bio-digester Toilet System which is an on-site treatment system for faecal matter. The technology replaces the septic tank by receiving and treating faecal matter directly from the water closets. More than 90% of beneficiary households have had the technology installed with the toilet constructed for them.

Behavioral Change Specialist working on the GAMA project, Kuranchie Adama-Tettey maintains s“the bio-digester technology has become useful because it is small, much more affordable and can be constructed in very clumsy areas”.

He however adds that “we are aware that people are constructing this bio-digester toilets without the requisite skills and knowledge on how to construct them, so as a project, because we have made the bio-digester technology popular, we do not want to leave it at that. We want to go further into developing guidelines that somebody can pick up to be able to follow to properly construct the bio-digester toilets and also do them well”.

Mr Tettey said they will engage private sector to also develop the service chain for the technology to create a business model for people to engage and benefit from.

Projections for 2019

The GAMA Water and Sanitation Project is hoping to get additional funding next year to facilitate the construction of more storm drains and also undertake an upstream and downstream extension of the Mallam drain. This is aimed at helping address perennial flooding in the capital.

The Project managers are also seeking to work to improve sewerage systems by major giving attention to the Teshie Treatment Plant and Tema Sewerage System.