Social service delivery system in rural Ghana: a case study of water and sanitation and management in Ejura-Sekyedumasi District

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A growing number of developing countries including Ghana are no longer able to provide even the services necessary to fulfil basic needs. Central government and ministries and agencies in developing countries are finding ii increasingly difficult to extend water and sanitation services to rural and urban areas through conventional public service delivery due to the following major reasons. First, Water Supply and Sanitation facilities like many other social services have been constrained severely by national funding subjected to structural adjustment in which social sector funding including water, have been cut back at faster than average rate (Kreibich 1993:20). Secondly, lack of effective and efficient institutional arrangement to support water and sanitation provision as well as the lack of political will and commitment to bring water tn people. All of the above factors have hampered government efforts to reach out the communities that are yet to be provided with water and sanitation facilities. In that regard there has been a tendency of both the community and government to rely on external support to supply and maintain water and sanitation facilities which in turn has led to the lack of sustainability of the systems already in place, mainly due to ignoring capacity of beneficiaries to manage and bridge the existing gap. In order to tackle the problem of the wide gap between demand and ply of water and sanitation facilities, the study reviewed the water and sanitation situation and analysed existing institutional arrangement for community participation and assessed the factors hindering successful community participation and made recommendations for sustainable strategies for water supply and sanitation facilities provision. In arriving at the conclusion the study undertook a review of Government policies in water and sanitation and literature related to social services delivery as well as a review of the study of the water and sanitation programme/projects in developing countries. Primary data sources included the use of questionnaire guide, formal interview with government department officials in the districts as well as WATSAN members in communities surveyed. The stratified multi-stage sampling (Quota) technique was adopted in which each settlement in each zone was classified using population size, rural-urban location and accessibility criteria. The findings of the study revealed that, there is a wide gap between supply and demand for potable water and sanitation facilities. About 58 per cent of the population depends on unsafe water sources which ranges from rivers and streams to shallow wells. The implication of this is the wastage of time and energy which could otherwise be used for productive purposes as well as high incidence of water borne diseases which will result in unhealthy population. Sanitation facilities also were found to be inadequate and this has led to the need for excreta and garbage disposals, domestic or household liquid disposal, proper drainage system and education campaign against the behavioural attitude on a segment of the population toward having sanitary facilities near their houses. There is also a potential for alleviating water and sanitation problems in the district, however, the critical problem is the lack of institutional arrangement to support and motivate all participants in the Water and Sanitation Programme. The institution existing, that is, the DCC is constrained by lack of funds, qualified staff and logistics and hence its inability to extend adequate water and sanitation facilities to people. It is hoped that given the effective and efficient Water and Sanitation Institution which will encompass appropriate procedures, appropriate technology, and having a monitoring and evaluation frame for feedback and of course backed by political will, no doubt, there is a bright future for alleviating water and sanitation problems in the district.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of the Degree of Master of Science in Development Planning and Management, 1997