WaterAid study catalyses $50m pro-poor unit investment in Ghana utility


5 Nov 2014

The World Bank Ghana Country Office has urged WaterAid Ghana to continue to work on the ground, providing good community links and experiences to the sector for improving services to the poor. Speaking with a WaterAid country programme evaluation team, visiting the Bank1, Mr Emmanuel Nkrumah, the senior WASH specialist of the Bank said the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) is supposed to work closely with NGOs who have experiences in low income services. He urged WaterAid to engage with the GWCL and the Ministry of Local Government to support the $150m Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) Sanitation and Water Project.

Besides working on the ground, Mr Nkrumah said the Bank appreciates WaterAid Ghana’s research and public policy influence working at the sector leave. “We would like WaterAid to continue to draw attention to the World Bank and development partners’ failures. NGOs like WaterAid should be watchmen and put us on the spot”, he said. In addition, Mr Nkrumah said, the Bank would like WaterAid Ghana to continue its advocacy work of “sharing of knowledge, leadership and collaboration in the sector”.

Supported by the World Bank, the purpose of the GAMA sanitation and water project is to increase access to improved sanitation and improved water supply in the GAMA, with emphasis on low income communities, and to strengthen management of environmental sanitation in the GAMA. To this end, $50m has been set aside for the Low Income Service Unit (LICSU) component. Mr Nkrumah said WSUP (Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor) has been engaged to assist the utility in this process.

GWCL is working with WSUP to establish the LICSU to improve services to the urban poor of which WAG provided expert consultation in 2013. A pilot scheme has shown promise on how to improve household connections and with a cost recovery rate of 100% revenue collections from low income areas.

WaterAid was credited with triggering the decision of the World Bank to set aside $50m of the GAMA project investment funds for the (LICSU) pro-poor component, following the findings and advocacy by WaterAid on a 2010/11 research, Are World Bank investment benefiting the urban poor? Mr Ibrahim Musa, the WSUP country manager, had informed the DWA review team who visited Ghana in the summer that WAG expertise and pro-poor models of service delivery in urban areas would add value to the roll out of the LICSU initiative.

Other WaterAid country programmes have also supported utilities to establish LICSUs. One of the very first LICSU in Africa was initiated by WaterAid in Malawi; in Bangladesh, WaterAid partner DSK (Dushtha Shasthya Kendra) work with slum dwellers influenced the establishment of pro-poor units in urban utilities; and the LICSU in Uganda continues to benefit from WaterAid’s work.

GWCL has the sole responsibility for managing 86 urban water systems, expected to provide water supply to communities, towns and cities in Ghana with a population of over 5,000. GWCL is challenged with funding, pro-poor models for service delivery and staff capacity and skills in low income service options.

Timeyin Uwejamomere is WaterAid's Technical Support Manager - Urban.

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1 WaterAid country programme evaluation team visit to Mr Emmanuel Nkrumah on 30 Oct 2014.