$150m GAMA project in limbo; only 900 toilets to show

The $150 million World Bank-funded Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) Sanitation and Water Project is set to run its course without any significant overhaul of Accra’s sanitation system.

The only part of the project that seems to actively ongoing involves the provision of toilets, even then, the project has only managed to provide 900 out of the projected 12,500 toilets.

Accra is considered one of the dirtiest cities in Africa, public defecation remains a problem and the rainy season has become synonymous with flooding, with access to running water also remaining a problem.

Thus the GAMA Sanitation and Water Project for Ghana was angled to address these problems with the objective to increase access to improved sanitation and improved water supply in the GAMA, with an emphasis on low-income communities.

The project, which took effect August 2014 and is expected to end in July 2018, also seeks to strengthen the management of environmental sanitation in the GAMA. But an independent mid-project review from August 2016, available to Citi News, indicates that the project fell short of a number of targets in the key components of the project.

The components of the project include the provision of environmental sanitation and water supply services to priority low-income areas of the GAMA projected at $31.5 million, the improvement and expansion of the water distribution network in the GAMA and the planning at $48.1 million, the improvement and expansion of GAMA-wide environmental sanitation services budgeted at $34 million and institutional strengthening, with $20.1 million earmarked for this part. No community water points constructed in two years.

As far as the provision of environmental sanitation and water supply services are concerned, no community water points have been constructed or rehabilitated and no new piped household water connections were made as at August 2016.

The review, however, said a water supply Master Plan, which was 70 percent completed, a calibrated hydraulic network model and new pipeline connection procedures had been prepared for the implementation of the core water supply objectives. With respect to improved sanitation facilities, 280 household facilities had been constructed serving 2,573 low-income people.

The report noted procurement challenges such as the extension of bid submission dates, delays during the approval process and failure to start the procurement process on time affected some deliverables, especially in the water supply sector.

These points conspired to hinder the goal of improving and expanding the water distribution network in the GAMA. This is set to compel the re-prioritizing of the indicators and service locations and about $7.5 million will be needed for the additional works required to off take the agreed quantities of water at the agreed times, according to the report.

No treatment plants constructed

The Planning, improvement and expansion of GAMA-wide environmental sanitation services component targets fell short with no treatment plants constructed or rehabilitated. But the report noted that processes toward achieving them were ongoing. In December 2015, a contract for the assessment of faecal sludge facilities management in GAMA was signed with Messrs Colan Consult Ltd.

Parts of project were put on hold

Though some nine months have elapsed in the time since the report, indications from the GAMA Sanitation and Water Project coordinators are that major parts of the project were put on hold. A Behaviour Change Specialist working on the project, Kuranchie Adama-Tettey stressed that it was important to make sure the project did not impact negatively on the people it is meant to benefit.

Speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show, he explained that, “in the course of the implementation of your project, you need to ensure that if there are squatters there, for example, they are properly removed and well compensated. You also need to ensure that if the project is affecting any individual in any way; for example, if a drain is affecting somebody’s fence wall, you need to ensure that that fence wall is taken care of properly.”

“In the course of implementing the project, certain individuals who were in the line of the project were not being taken care of as they should have, in order not to impact negatively, it had to be put on hold so those things could be taken care of before we move forward,” Mr. Adama-Tettey said. Targets need adjusting.

The report recommended an extension of the project by 14 months to compensate for lost time due to legal and policy constraints and the reassessment of sanitation targets to adjust them down to realistic levels.

It also noted the need for an expedited procurement process to avoid delays, the facilitation of team building processes and the pursuit of a systematic process of sanitation innovation.

The report also recommended the restructuring of the project team, the enhancing institutional and human resourcefulness at all levels and across the WASH service chain among other options.

source: citifmonline.com