Nadowli-Kaleo District in the Upper West Region, (UWR), has beaten 15 other Assemblies in the north to emerge the overall best district in the maiden Baobab District Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Awards, 2023.
The award for the Nadowli-Kaleo District recognised not just good, successful, and effective performance as normally expected of a local government authority, but also the achievement of extraordinary outcomes that had a significant positive impact on the delivery of sustainable WASH services for the well-being of its residents.
The Yendi Municipal Assembly in the Northern Region received the Enhanced WASH Award as the first runner up, while the Bawku West District in the Upper East Region (UER), took home the Emerging WASH Award as the second runner up.
The Nadowli-Kaleo District, Yendi Municipal and Bawku West District also won Leadership and Coordination, Regulation and Enforcement, and WASH Services Delivery categories, respectively.
Garu District in the UER and Sissala East in the UWR, respectively won the awards for WASH Financing and Prioritisation and Performance on National League Table categories.
They all received laptops, tablets, citations, water testing equipment amongst other packages as their prizes.
Eleven other districts including Mion, Gushegu, Karaga, Sagnarigu, Nanton, East Mamprusi, Mamprugu-Moaduri, Tempane, Sissala West, Wa East and Dafiama-Bussie-Issa, also took home laptops for being part of the participating districts under the Enhancing WASH Activity.
The Baobab WASH Awards scheme was instituted by World Vision Ghana in collaboration with Global Communities and partners, as part of the Enhancing WASH Activity to recognise exceptional performances among 16 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) and for demonstrating strong commitment to prioritise and invest in WASH services delivery.
It was also to motivate MMDAs to recognise and adequately invest in WASH service delivery by providing leadership and effective coordination, improving planning, and budgeting for WASH, increasing budgetary allocation, improving implementation, monitoring of WASH service delivery, and increasing human resource and capacity.
The Awards formed part of the Enhancing WASH Activity, which seeks to facilitate access to and use of sustainable WASH services and products in target districts in the northern part of the country.
Laura Cristina Del Valle, the National Director of World Vision Ghana, in a speech read on her behalf, said the weakness in WASH systems and barriers to operationalising policies and guidelines in planning, budgeting, implementation and monitoring for improved services at the MMDA level, meant that extra efforts were required fort strengthening them, hence, the awards.
Prior to the awards ceremony, a District Level WASH Financing Regional Ministers and Municipal and District Chief Executives (MDCEs) Dialogue was held in Tamale, where the officers affirmed their commitments, with renewed dedication to address lingering gaps in the WASH sector within their districts.
Madam Freda Prempeh, the Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, in a speech read on her behalf, encouraged MMDAs to roll out comprehensive and sustained behaviour change strategies to promote positive behaviours.
She said without positive behaviours, investments in the WASH sector would fail to yield the desired results.
She encouraged MMDAs to gazette and enforce their by-laws and declare zero-tolerance for water, environmental sanitation, and hygiene offenses.
Mr. Dan Botwe, the Minister for Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, said WASH indicators had been made part of the Action Plans of MMDAs to help improve the sector, adding that other projects being implemented by the Ministry also had WASH components.
Alhaji Shani Alhassan Saibu, the Northern Regional Minister, commended the partners for instituting the awards and said it would ignite a passion in the MMDAs to prioritise WASH and to make conscious effort at every level of implementation.