The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has awarded three companies a seed fund of 112,000 dollars for the SDG Philanthropy Platfrom (SDGPP) Challenge Prize Competition to undertake the implementation of various intervention pathways to address the water challenge in Ghana especially in the hard-to-reach areas.
The winners, Saha Global, Trend and CONIWAS were handed a contract sum of 32,000, 40,000 and 40,000 dollars respectively to test or scale the proposed solution.
Speaking at the contract signing ceremony, the Country Director of UNDP Ghana, Mr. Dominic Sam said the challenge is to find demand-driven business models for accountably-managed systems to deliver affordable, safe water, effectively challenging community perception of free water.
He indicated that the challenge is to create an adaptable participatory model to standardize water system quality control in rural, peri-urban and small towns in Ghana.
Mr. Sam added that this is also to identify schemes to provide reliable safe water access to the most vulnerable households in every community.
According to the Country Director, despite the progress made in access to water under the MDGs, multitudes of challenges continue to hinder the sector.
He indicated that there are still challenges with access, water quality, financing, sector coordination and harmonization, post-construction issues and inability to cover hard-to-reach- areas.
The Country Director noted that in their deliberations on new ways of solving the problems, it became evident that the design thinking approach offers a comprehensive lens to arriving at solutions from a system perspective.
“Clearly, to achieve the SDGs, there is the need to innovate for more effective solutions to address sector challenges. To achieve this, the SDG Philanthropy Platform organized a design thinking approach workshop which brought together thought-leaders from MDAs, private sector, NGOs, social enterprises, UNDP, UNICEF, among others to rethink challenges, identify blockers, offer solutions that there are more than the usual in a way that confounds the status quo,” he stated.
Mr. Sam said this is to compliment government’s effort in addressing sector challenges in regard to access to quality water in the country.
The Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, Kofi Adda indicated that government has accepted the obligation to ensure water gets to every household in the country under the “Water for All” project.
He noted that government is committed to delivering on this initiative together with the effort we are seeing today.
According to him, government has not been idle but working around to eliminate all the challenges to pave way for the smooth implementation of its projects to improve the sector.
The Sector Minister raised an issue of functionality and sustainability of the project indicating that 25percent of the boreholes dug and opened for use in the country are broken down few weeks or months later.
Mr. Adda emphasized that it is the collective responsibility of all to ensure that this country achieve its targets in the SDGs by 100 percent in 2030.