The MOLE conference series which is the biggest annual event on the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Sector calendar is scheduled to take place on the 2nd to 5th October, 2021 in Kumasi.
Addressing Journalists at the media launch which took place at the Coconut Grove Regency Hotel, the Executive Secretary Mrs. Basilia Nanbigne said the Mole Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Conference, which is a Civil Society led has a strong government and private sector support and participation.
According to her the annual WASH conference dubbed Mole Conference Series has been organized successfully and consistently over the past 31 years.
The thirty-second edition of the Mole Conference (MOLE XXXII) is under the theme: ‘‘Repositioning the WASH Sector for Emergency Response and Sustainable Development."
The Executive Secretray of CONIWAS disclosed that the implementation of government's free water directive during the covid-19pandemic, exposed how Ghana is unprepared as a country for any future similar emergency as COVID-19 as there is evidence to suggest that many communities simply could not access the free water facility because there was not enough clean water for the purpose.
"It is against this background that MOLE XXXII conference will discuss and harness ideas, set the agenda and contribute to design better policies to strengthen WASH sector emergency preparedness.
This will ensure that the sector is ready to anticipate, plan, mitigate and respond to whatever acute or chronic challenges that may arise in emergency situations in future." She emphasised.
Mrs. Nanbigne hinted that the central objective of Mole XXXII is to generate policy and practical ideas to contribute to informed sector policy on WASH in emergencies.
The conference she noted will also provide information to participants on various WASH policies and programmes, advocate for the improvement of enabling framework for WASH in emergencies and attract private sector investment with a view to improving WASH service delivery.
The specific objectives are to: discuss policy and programme imperatives on emergency WASH response; dialogue on investment requirements and modalities for WASH in emergencies; Deliberate on partnership and collaboration for effective emergency WASH preparedness; and debate management of Water Resources for equitable service delivery. Mrs Nanbigne reiterated.
The conference will discuss the following sub-themes: Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Emergencies, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene as Catalyst for Growth, Managing Our Water Resources for equitable Growth, and ICT and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Delivery. She added.
The Executive Secretray of CONIWAS disclosed that Mole XXXII will discuss in detail the repositioning of the WASH sector for emergency response and growth, and its impact on the delivery of improved WASH services in Ghana, the advantages and disadvantages. Deliberations will also include remedial measures to mitigate the risks and turn them into benefits.
The 4-day conference will retain its normal focus on knowledge sharing and advocacy and will devote about 60% of the period to sharing lessons on trends from 2nd to 5th November 2021 at the Anita Hotel at Ejisu, near Kumasi in the Ashanti Region.
Major activities during the conference will include a grand opening ceremony on 2nd November with the Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, leaders of various UN Agencies including the World Bank, UNICEF, WHO in attendance; paper presentations by experts and academia, plenary discussions, expert panel discussions, group discussions, poster presentations, media encounters, side events and exhibitions.
A major attraction to this year’s edition is the inclusion of outreach programmes to selected WASH facilities and communities in the Ashanti Region, not forgetting the special advocacy event - The Grand Debate on Thursday, 4th November.
A key output of the conference will be a presentation of the Conference Communiqué in at the closing plenary on Friday, 5th November, which will capture key decisions from conference proceedings.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with press on the sidelines at the media launch, the Chairperson of CONIWAS, Mr. Attah Arhin said the Mole Conference Series has witnessed consistent growth in interest and importance since its inception in 1989 among civil society, policy makers, ministries, departments and agencies, local government, private sector and development partners alike.
He was of the view that the conference has evolved from what was primarily an NGO forum into, currently, the most important multi-stakeholder platform within the WASH Sector in Ghana.
The Chairperson of CONIWAS maintained that the conference, over the years has attracted several players and stakeholders on an annual basis to deliberate on critical issues affecting the sector.
Mr. Arhin explained further that through the Mole Conference, civil society calls for policy and institutional reforms have among others, contributed to the development or revision of sector policies including the current National Water Policy and the National Environmental Sanitation Policy.
"The conference, being a platform for advocacy, learning and policy dialogue, also contributed to the government decision to establish the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) in the 1990s, the creation of the Water Directorate within the then Ministry of Works and Housing in 2005, and currently the establishment of a dedicated Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources in 2017.
If today, these policies and institutions have made and continue to make remarkable impacts on people’s access to clean drinking water, safe sanitation and hygiene services, the Mole Conference Series proudly and rightly deserve to take part of the credit." He proudly stated.
Story: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH
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