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Research Report

Urban water and sanitation in Ghana:: How local action is making a difference

Kanton I. Osumanu
Lukman Abdul-Rahim
Jacob Songsore
Farouk R. Braimah
with Martin Mulenga
Copyright Date: Oct. 1, 2010
Pages: 45
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 1-10)

    The provision of water and sanitation services in poor urban areas remains a critical challenge for the realization of the Millennium Development Goals but more importantly for poverty reduction. In Ghana today, at least 50 percent of the population resides in urban areas of which only 18 percent have access to improved sanitation and 90 percent to improved drinking water sources.⁶ Although accessibility to improved drinking water sources look encouraging, only 30 percent have access to piped water which in most cases is supplied intermittently. The remaining 60 percentage depend on other improved sources such as standpipes, protected dug wells...

  2. (pp. 10-19)

    The approach for this study involved detailed and extensive discussions and interviews with representatives from the communities where the People’s Dialogue on Human Settlements (PDG) operates, with members of the Ghana Federation of the Urban Poor (GHAFUP) and with government department officials, e.g. metropolitan/municipal assemblies and the water company. Background information was also obtained by an extensive study of PDG’s documents and summaries from the routine community enumeration exercises.

    After field trips to the areas where PDG works and interviews with the relevant water and sanitation providers, the team identified three communities for the final stages of this study. These...

  3. (pp. 19-30)

    This section presents a brief profile of PDG and its work with low-income settlement dwellers. The organization is an affiliate of Shack/Slum Dwellers International (SDI), a network of support organizations working with community-based social movements to address settlement challenges across the developing world, especially in the areas of land, housing and infrastructure. As an affiliate of the network, PDG’s approach is strictly in line with the SDI ‘Rituals’ approach. SDI rituals are established practices or activities associated with a specific event that have been adapted by SDI affiliates and replicated and institutionalised as a strategy.36

    People’s Dialogue on Human Settlements,...

  4. (pp. 30-31)

    In general communities are positive and confident in their ability to negotiate development interventions in the settlements where PDG and the Federations operate. Mobilization tools, such as savings groups, exchange programmes, training and community meetings with experts and technical advisors have been very important in facilitating community-driven initiatives. Local people have been able to consider various possible alternatives to many current coping and management strategies. And they said that despite a lack of tangible evidence, the most important achievement has been revitalized public dialogue because for many years this has been missing. Meetings and community gatherings are important opportunities for...

  5. (pp. 31-32)

    This paper has demonstrated how community led savings, enumerations and exchange programmes, which form the core of PDG’s mobilization tools, have strengthened local capacity empowering communities to lead the change process. The paper focuses on one of the common challenges of urban development ― how to help the poorer segments of urban society to secure adequate water and sanitation to meet their basic needs. It has identified and discussed the principles and approaches for community mobilization through which relations are established between government and international organizations. The various stages through which communities and especially women are empowered to take up...