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General News | Feb 24, 2018

WASH Sector To Be Empowered

WASH Sector To Be Empowered

The Stockholm Environment Institute (SEL), Sweden, in collaboration with International Reference Centre (IRC) has introduced the 'Development of Empowerment in WASH Index Tool' to enable stakeholders in the Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) track progress of their activities.

The 'Empowerment in WASH Index Tool' is a project that would contribute to achieving inclusive services by developing a novel tool that directly captures gender-based empowerment in the WASH sector.

It also enables local government agencies, non-governmental organisations, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and development partners to assess and monitor gender issues related to their WASH programmes.

Dr Sarah Dickin, the Research Fellow of SEL, speaking at the National Level Learning Alliance (NALLAP), workshop in Accra on Thursday said the idea of the Empowerment in WASH Index was to monitor and evaluate activities in the sector over the years.

She said the idea was to develop indicators to measure that in a more robust way so the workshop was to enable stakeholders in the sector to understand what issues are important for empowering men and women in WASH.

That, she said, would enable stakeholders understand which aspect to be targeted first to ensure they reach universal access and no one was left behind in addressing the needs of marginalised groups.

Mr Jeremiah Atengdem, a WASH Expert, called for the empowering of vulnerable people to address household WASH Security Risk (REACH) issues.

He said NLLAP was a partnership that sought to empower vulnerable in addressing the Household REACH project being implemented by International Water and Sanitation IRC in the Asutifi North in Ghana and Banfora in Burkina Fasso.

He said the one year project, which started in January this year, and expected to end in March next year would contribute to achieving inclusive services by developing a novel tool that would directly capture gender-based empowerment in the WASH sector.

'It will also enable local government agencies, NGOs, CSOs and development partners assess and monitor gender issues related to their WASH programmes,' he said.

Mr Atengdem noted that the REACH empowerment project was to co-develop an Empowerment in WASH index; as a tool to measure empowerment in the water and sanitation sector capturing multiple dimensions of empowerment.

DR Elijah Bisung, the Assistant Professor of Queen's University, Canada, called for better collaboration for fruitful endowment of goals to work and achieve universal access by 2030 in Ghana.

The platform offered learning and sharing opportunity for sector players as one of the practical approaches to improving sector engagements and sharing with the long term aim of achieving a knowledge driven WASH sector that delivers quality and sustainable services in Ghana.

The main session activities entailed brief overview of the REACH Empowerment in WASH project and the district consultation approach.

It also followed the sharing and interpretation of results from district consultation; review of clusters and the identification of pathways as well as feedback on the specific discussion results and the overall empowerment tool development.

NLLAP meetings, which are organised and facilitated by the Ghana WASH Resource Centre Network (RCN), and takes place on the last Thursday of every month are open to all interested parties.

Within the framework of the project, IRC together with Stockholm Environment Institute and the Queen's University would lead the process.

Participants discussed stakeholder experiences and perspectives on empowerment in WASH; developed indicators to better understand the relationship between empowerment and WASH-related outcomes.

Some participants told the Ghana News Agency that, the index tool would be a universal, affordable and sustainable access to WASH which was a key public health issue within international development and the focus of Sustainable Development Goal six.

They therefore called for the needed attention to be paid to cultural issues that confront the sector.

By Samira Larbie/Elsie Appiah-Osei, GNA