Building Strong Institutional Relationships in Kumasi, Ghana

Institutional support has been a central focus of ACF.   In improving the provision and water sanitation facilities in Kumasi, ACF has developed a viable and mutually agreed management model to address gaps in the delivery of water and sanitation services to low income urban and peri-urban residents. 

In creating this model, a new approach was taken and it required the formation of a Project Steering Committee (PSC) which acted as a forum for initial discussions and the Community Management Committee(CMC), in which authority, decision making and specific functions were delegated.

The Project Steering Committee provides a valuable forum to discuss implementation, share problems, and work to overcome challenges to implementation.  The PSC meets regularly with quarterly meetings with representatives from the Planning department in the KMA(Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly), the water utility GUWL (Ghana Urban Water Ltd) and the CMC.

The Kotei CMC provides a forum for liasion between the community, the KMA, and the GUWL on issues regarding the proposed management model, by including representatives from the KMA and GUWL.  It works as a means of integrating new arrangements into the existing institutional system, rather than creating new, parallel structures.  As an established committee, its members include traditional leaders, opinion leaders, the youth club, and women’s groups, and the District Assembly representative for the area.  ACF was able to engage all stakeholders to review alternative management models for both the new water system and public toilet block.  This process has been successfully completed and a hybrid management structure agreed by all parties.

Two formal contracts were developed; one between GUWL and the CMC and the other between the CMC and the water vendors.  In addition to the responsibilities that have been highlighted in the chart below, the CMC is also responsible for maintaining proper records, the opening and maintenance of bank accounts, and auditing as well.

Kumasi Model

A close working relationship has been established with GUWL through this project.  ACF also supported KNUST (Kwame Nkrumak University of Science and Technology) in Kumasi and Cranfield University in the UK to collaborate with two GUWL staff to develop a financial model for alternative service delivery mechanisms in peri-urban communities.  This has resulted in the appointment of a Pro-Poor Manager by the utility and she initiated a pilot project in the town of Obuasi for an alternative delivery mechanism referred to as metal clusters.  This resulted in a strong interest in the project from GUWL Acting Manager Director and the General Manager for Customer services and the metal clusters system is now operational.  ACF has worked with GUWL and their growing interest to improve pro-poor service delivery.

The KMA was able to conduct a city wide strategic planning exercise that will feed into District Environmental Sanitation Action Plan (DESAP) required to access national funds for sanitation improvements. The exercise works to feed into a financial model developed under ACF as an investment decision-making tool.  As a service, the exercise also serves as a service level monitoring tool for the Environmental Health department and to rank public toilets on an annual basis to provide an incentive for good service.

Hygiene Signage Kumasi

Hygiene promotion signage in Kotei, Kumasi

Despite many difficulties and challenges such as a lack of resources within KMA, a current lack of pro-poor focus within GUWL, poor coordination within the LSPs, and difficulty in changing that status quo, there has been many successes through the implementation of these contracts.

With the implementation of  these contracts, ACF has been able to successfully;

  • Construct a fully operational water supply system that is designed to serve 7,000 people as well as a public latrine block serving 800 people in Kumasi with forms of agreement for the operational institutional  and financial models signed.
  • ACF conducted a vast number of hygiene awareness promotion activities over the course of the program and implemented a Behavior Change Strategy.  An estimated 18,250 people have been reached with hygiene messages.
  • ACF has supported the development of a finance model for attracting private sector investment into the operation of public toilet blocks.

In  building strong working relationship with LSPs, not only has there been a genuine interest from both KMA and GUWL to develop innovative alternative mechanisms of doing business with low income communities, but it provides a means for a sustained relationship.  A relationship that despite being slowed by systemic institutional rigidity, has  established objectives and commitments and continues to work together to implement change.

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