On Wednesday 24 July 2019, we announced the winners of the Dignified City Award, the second and last stage of the UK Aid-funded Sanitation Challenge for Ghana (SC4G), at a ceremony at the Marriott Hotel in Accra, Ghana.
SC4G aimed to stimulate competition among Ghana’s Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) and encourage them to develop and implement innovative liquid waste management (LWM) strategies to improve urban sanitation.
Nine MMDAs won the competition and were awarded a total prize purse of £1,285,000 for excellence in the implementation of the LWM strategies and for exploring partnerships with the private sector to attract their expertise and investments in sanitation service delivery.
When SC4G was launched in 2015, over 127 MMDAs registered to participate in the first stage, which rewarded assemblies that designed the best LWM strategies. Of the 48 that submitted their plans, 21 were awarded honorary prizes and three won a total of £75,000.
All 21 MMDAs were invited to express their interest to participate in stage two, which rewarded implementation. Seventeen of them met the minimum conditions and were considered. Fifteen MMDAs submitted their final implementation reports, which were screened and passed to an independent agent for verification and to a panel of international and local experts for online and live judging, to determine the winners.
‘Achievement of the Clean Ghana Agenda requires a rigorous multi-faceted approach which employs innovative approaches and initiatives. The Sanitation Challenge programme was launched to motivate and trigger competition amongst the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to develop innovative sanitation initiatives. The Ministry appreciates the passion with which the Assemblies responded. This yielded innovative ideas and progress on this effort - I entreat all awardees to utilise this award, especially the cash component, wholly to improve sanitation in your respective Assemblies.’
- Hon. Cecilia Abena Dapaah, Ghana’s Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, the host of the event.
The final award event brought together government ministries, departments and agencies, competing MMDAs, private sector partners and non-state actors, development partners, traditional leaders, sector practitioners, the media and members of parliament. The award ceremony aimed to recognise successful MMDAs and private sector partners and non-state actors who participated in the challenge and urge them to continue implementation beyond the event. The ceremony also showcased their achievements in the management of urban liquid waste using innovative technologies, partnerships and financing models.
Dignified City Award winners
Metropolitan and Municipal Assembly category
Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly – 1st winner, £400,000 for their innovative partnership with private sector partner Aquaculture, their skilled and knowledgeable staff and leadership commitment to the whole sanitation value chain. Their innovative initiatives included the distribution and installation of Container Based Sanitation (CBS) to 149 low-income households. They also rehabilitated a sewerage treatment pond at Chirapatre and used it to rear cat fish on a commercial scale to generate funds for sustainable operations and maintenance of the facility. Moreover, they rehabilitated the Oti Liquid Waste Treatment Plant, the biggest facility and the first of its kind to be owned and managed by an assembly in Ghana.
Effutu Municipal Assembly – 2nd winner, £225,000 for innovative partnership with the private sector and governmental institutions, including the local prison service who is using biogas. Among the Assembly’s innovations is the use of the condominial system for biogas extraction. It is the first time that this technology is being applied to gas extraction for use by households and institutions.
Sekondi Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly – 3rd winner, £125,000 for innovative public engagement and a highly committed Assembly. They ran, among others, a sanitation competition among basic schools, which was projected to be a learning ground for others in the area and beyond. They also established a technical team at sub-metro level comprising waste management/environmental health and works department staff to regularly engage, inspect and tackle liquid waste problems. Moreover, they promoted the use faecal sludge as fertiliser to boost agricultural productivity.
District Assembly Category
Nunumba North District Assembly – 1st winner, £285,000 for bi-partisanship leadership commitment from both past and present chief executives, innovative private partnership in the implementation of the liquid waste management (LWM) strategies. The Assembly worked with the Nanumba Youth Parliament to adopt an innovative approach to mobilisation and sensitisation of communities. This approach, dubbed 'the sanitation for peace campaign', used the non-partisan parliamentary model to unite warring factions in the Bimbilla chieftaincy dispute.
Kwahu East District Assembly – 2nd winner, £150,000 for innovative commitment to the sanitation value chain and strong leadership commitment from a local chief as the presiding member in the implementation of the LWM strategies. For the first time, 239 poor households were subsidised to improve their toilet facilities by converting from Ventilated Improved Pit (VIP) toilets to WC toilets with bio-digester systems. The Assembly also provided WC toilets in 10 schools and at Abetifi market, Nkwatia market and Kwahu Tafo to replace Kumasi Ventilated Improved Pit (KVIP) and provide a continuous water supply to meet the needs of market women, drivers and the poor. The General Assembly reviewed the national building code to suit the district specific situation and to ensure ownership by citizens and stakeholders and usage by the poor. Additionally, thrift shops that provide free toiletries and cleaning agents have been built and 2000 poor, elderly citizens have already benefited.
Kassena Nankana Municipal Assembly, MMA Special Prize, £25,000 for leadership commitment in the implementation of LWM strategies. These included, among others, the leadership drive for improved education and awareness creation using various platforms, such as the community sanitation team, school sanitation clubs, community durbars, radio discussions and engagement with traditional authorities; selected and marketed toilets that are culturally, socially and economically acceptable; enforcement of building code that makes toilet construction mandatory; review of sanitation bye-laws to reflect current sanitation situation; and personnel training to prosecute sanitation offenders.
Savelugu Municipal Assembly – MMA Special Prize, £25,000 for disability inclusion. They provided disability friendly pour-flush toilets for households. The wet technology toilet design was adapted for households at affordable cost on monthly instalments basis.
Offinso North District Assembly – DA Special Prize, £25,000 for financial commitment to the implementation of the LWM strategy, through ongoing new sanitation activities over the medium term (2018-2021) and the establishment of a Sanitation Fund to ensure sustainability.
Prestea Huni Valley Municipal Assembly – DA Special Prize, £25,000 for community engagement in the implementation of the LWM strategy and partnership with three investors, which led to the construction of three modern public WC toilets (bio-gas) and the procurement of additional cesspit emptier truck. They also acquired 10-acre land to build an engineered land fill site. Finally, their proactive engagement with traditional authorities and community leaders helped break some outmoded beliefs and customs in relation to sanitation.
Four honorary prizes were also awarded, two in each category, for initiatives that distinguished themselves for excellence across leadership, sustainability, technology, inclusion and governance. The winners of the honorary prizes are Ahanta West Municipal Assembly, Jasikan District Assembly, Mampong Municipal Assembly, Atiwa East District Assembly, Accra Metropolitan Assembly and Pru East District Assembly. They received recognition plaques and certificate of appreciation for being finalists.
‘Winning the ultimate prize of £400,000 for implementing innovative sanitation interventions has really humbled us and challenges us to sustain the efforts invested so far. Indeed, the competition has compelled us to think outside the box in designing and implementing sanitation interventions. Through the challenge, we've come to the realisation that achieving SDG 6 calls for strong collaboration between the MMDAs, private partners and the traditional and religious leaders in our communities. We've also come to realise that strong political leadership is required to bring the needed change in sanitation.
- Osei Assibey Antwi, Metropolitan Chief Executive of Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly, first winner for the Metropolitan and Municipal category.
Private Sector and Non-State Actor Prize
During the ceremony last week, we also awarded the Private Sector and Non-State Actor Prize, which was launched in 2017 as part of SC4G to boost commitment from the private sector and non-state actors in stage two of the competition.
The total cash prize of US$ 225,000, provided by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in collaboration with Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA), was awarded to six private sector partners that worked with the 17 SC4G participants to implement their liquid waste management strategies to benefit poor communities and influence local policies and programmes. Specifically, they provided investments, innovative business solutions and expertise to MMDAs and allowed them to achieve the full cycle implementation of their strategies.
Out of over 60 registered private sector and non-state actors, 14 successfully submitted their final implementation reports detailing their intervention. These were screened and passed to an independent agent to verify the reports and, subsequently, to a panel of international and local judges to determine the winners.
The winners of the Private Sector and Non-State Actor Prize are split across first, second and third. Three special prizes have also awarded to initiatives that distinguished themselves for excellence across innovation, partnership and community participation. Honorary prizes were given to all finalists for their efforts towards supporting implementation of local governments urban liquid waste management strategies.
TRiMark Aquaculture Centre – 1st winner, US$ 100,000, for their innovative partnership with Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly.
Clean Team Ghana Limited – 2nd winner, US$ 60,000, for the low-cost innovative cartridge toilets they created in partnership with Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly.
Nanumba North Youth Parliament – 3rd winner, US$ 35,000, for outstanding community engagement with both the Nanumba North Assembly and the wider community.
Live Right Ghana – Special prize, US$ 10,000, for creating a locally-made innovative reusable sanitary pad, and undertaking community training with Nanumba North District Assembly.
Afram Plains Development Organisation, Special prize, US$ 10,000, for designing and running a WASH interschool quiz and developing a low-cost circular latrine with Nanumba North District Assembly.
Training, Research and Networking for Development (TREND), Special prize, US$ 10,000, for their innovative capacity building and data collection, in partnership with Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly.
The other finalists are Adjei Kum Construction Works, Global Communities, Grow Advancement Ghana Foundation, Nyame Tumi So Enterprise, Rural & Urban Sanitation International Ghana Limited, Sap & Sap Ltd, SBP BIO GAS and Volta Waste Limited. Each received recognition plaques and certificate of appreciation for being a finalist.
‘The mention of our name as first winners came with excitement, especially because we knew the screening process was very fair and transparent and we believed in our effort in rolling out our business model since 2010, when the idea was initiated. We believed we had really prepared ourselves for this prize. Even without knowing about the prize, our passion for implementing the idea/innovation were poised to achieve our goals. We appreciate the recognition of our effort and hope the prize funds which we aim to invest in upscaling to other potential wastewater treatment plant will be a worthwhile initiative.’