The Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Technologies (WASHTech) project was introduced to a team of sector experts forming the project technical working committee. The process was led TREND, a national NGO operating in the water and sanitation sector. The project is a three-year EU funded project (FP7), which focuses on technologies for sustainable WASH delivery in peri-urban, small towns and rural areas.
WASHTech is a multi-stakeholder action research involving 8 European and African partners, including Ghana, Burkina Faso and Uganda. The implementing institutions in Ghana are TREND/Resource Centre Network (RCN), Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (Department of Civil Engineering) and WaterAid in Ghana.
Briefing the newly constituted project technical working committee at the Accra WASH House, the Managing Director of TREND, Mr. Eugene Larbi touched on the rational for the project, stating that the task at hand was to provide the sector with a systematic and participatory way of assessing and adopting technology innovation that effectively takes the poorest of the world a step closer to expanding their life choices and opportunities for development.
According to him, the overall goal of the project is to facilitate effective investments in new technologies; strengthen sector capacity for informed decision in the choice of sustainable WASH technologies; action research to identify barriers and opportunities; provide a set of methodological tools and participatory approaches; and to support the embedding of the practice of multi-stakeholder learning, sharing and collaboration.
Benedict Tuffour of TREND outlined the work packages as, Work Package (WP) 1- Consortium Management; WP2- Situation analysis on WASH technology introduction and uptake; WP3- Framework/ process design, development and finalization; WP4- Pilot Technology assessments (3 countries); WP5- Recommendations for sector strengthening; WP6- Capacity building for Learning Alliance members; WP7- Monitoring and Evaluation and analysis of impact; WP8- Communications and information dissemination; and WP9- Coordination.
Mr. Tuffour stated that there will be research and capacity building activities in order to increase awareness on technology options; develop assessment systems; and build long-term in-country capacities. He said that the target group includes, WASH stakeholders at the national (government, NGOs, SMEs), district (local decision makers, planners, practitioners), and community levels (community leaders and potential users). The focus will be on households, rural areas, and small towns, and somehow low-income peri-urban areas, he added.
He also listed the expected outputs as, Technology Applicability Framework (TAF); Informative guidelines for the application and adaptation of TAF at different scales; a global TAF review report; Country situational assessment reports; a WASHTech website; and series of training courses to roll out and embed the use of TAF.
Mr. Tuffour announced that the official commencement of the project was in January 2011, and that there was global start-up meeting in February, 2011. He added that stakeholder consultations had been done and that the start-up meeting with the technical working committee was to formally introduce the project.
Participants consists of were impressed with the participatory and systematic approach of the project. Some were of the view that the mix of technology and the learning aspects was what the sector had long missed and that the project could make a big difference. Others thought that the project seemed to have learnt a lot from the previous projects that lacked the sharing and learning components, and that the planned approach was commendable. - Abu Wumbei, RCN Ghana