Collaboration of stakeholders in the provision and management of rural potable water supply in Ghana: a case of some selected stakeholders

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Decades of centralised management of potable water delivery that marginalized the rural sectors of the population and the near collapse of the rural water sector generated a deep concern from government, donors and other stakeholders to develop the National Community Water and Sanitation Programme (NCWSP). Consequently, a number of programmes geared towards addressing the problems of the rural water sector with the view to improve provision and management of potable water to rural communities were initiated. These programmes were undertaken with the support of Ghana’s development partners who continue to exert much influence in the sector. The Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA), which is mandated to coordinate investment in the rural water sector finds its effort greatly hampered by ineffective collaboration on the part of stakeholders in the sector. Active stakeholder involvement and participation in the rural water sector is essential to enure its vibrancy and sustainability. Collaboration among key stakeholders in the provision of potable water under the Community Water and Sanitation programme is the focus of this study. The aim of the study is to examine stakeholders’ collaboration within the rural water sector and identify ways of improving it to ensure a sustainable service delivery. The study examined issues such as the objectives, roles and values of the various stakeholders, the state of stakeholders’ collaboration and factors that impact on stakeholders’ collaboration in the sector. Qualitative methodology was employed for collection and analysis of data for this study The Community Water and Sanitation Agency, the sector agency responsible for coordinating and facilitating activities in the sector, was first contacted and interviewed whereupon the key stakeholders were identified. Organisations/institutions classified under the categories of public sector, donors (both multilaterals and bilaterals), NGOs and the private sector were the main unit of inquiry and analysis. Data for the study were gathered from both primary and secondary sources. The primary data were collected through interviews whilst the secondary sources consisted of various reports. Interviews were recorded and transcribed. The data analysis started from the data collection stage through to the conclusion stage of the study. The study revealed that the government institutions, that is the Ministry of Works and Housing and the Community Water and Sanitation Agency which is the sector agency with the statutory responsibility for collaboration and coordination in the sector - are not in control of events and operations in the sector and there seem not to be clear cut functional responsibility at the ministerial level. There is therefore no effective collaboration among stakeholders in the sector as collaboration is ad hoc and mainly occurs on bilateral basis. Commitment, communication, strong leadership from key decision makers, sharing a common vision, sharing a sense of urgency, having the willingness to collaborate, having no choice but to collaborate, focusing on the desired outcome, and policy framework were found to be very essential factors to effective stakeholders’ collaborations: These factors are interrelated and can be summed up into three major variables: commitment; communication and strong leadership. To enhance collaboration and effective coordination, the newly created Water Directorate should be resourced and empowered to coordinate activities in the sector. There should be a desk for stakeholders in the Community Water and Sanitation Programme to champion the interest of the sub-sector. The Directorate should take up a defined functional responsibility at the ministerial level to provide the required leadership in the sector and ensure that all stakeholders adhere to the sector policies and code of conduct. The data analysed suggest that stakeholders’ collaboration is multidimensional, interactional, and developmental. The findings are quite instructive and demonstrate better prospects in collaboration if the government and other stakeholders should demonstrate more commitment, improved communication and a strong leadership in the sector.
A Thesis Submitted to the School of Graduate Studies Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the Degree of Master of Science in Development Policy And Planning, 2004