A productive collaborative effort between the Ghana Water Company Limited and VEI (Netherlands) reached its culmination as a six-member delegation from the Low-Income Customer Support Department concluded a 5-day working visit to the Guma Valley Water Company. This initiative falls under the European Union Water Operators Partnership Program (EU-WOP), a program centered on fostering mutual support, knowledge exchange, and capacity enhancement among water and sanitation operators.
The visit, marked by a commitment towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 6 of universal access to clean water and sanitation, aimed to bolster the operational efficiency of utilities.
The Chief Manager of Ghana Water’s Low-Income Customer Support Department, Faustina Boachie, highlighted that the main objective of the visit was to aid in the transformation of the Community Services Unit of Guma Valley Water Company into a distinct Department.
She emphasized, “Enhancing visibility of low-income customers within a utility directly correlates with the quality of service they receive.”
Acknowledging the substantial progress made through the EU-WOP partnership, Boachie stressed that the visit aimed to ensure alignment with predefined goals and delivery of agreed-upon outcomes. The extensive training provided to staff members of both Ghana Water and Guma Valley over the past year was lauded by Boachie, who expressed optimism in the positive influence of these training initiatives on the functioning of the Community Services Unit.
Krijn Driessen, the Project Manager of the EU-WOP, underscored the significance of establishing a department to attract external funding, citing a notable example of UNICEF’s interest in replicating the Ghana model in Sierra Leone and emphasized the prerequisite of a department for such endeavors.
Responding to the partnership’s objectives, Ing. Maada S. Kpenge, Managing Director of Guma Valley Water Company, emphasized the company’s core commitment to improving water supply services for urban populations with limited financial resources.
She stressed the need for innovative approaches to meet the water needs of low-income communities, while highlighting Guma’s efforts to integrate the Community Service Unit with Peri-Urban services.
The culmination of the visit witnessed the finalization of Financial Plans for Years 1 and 2 of the partnership, the establishment of a financial transaction recording model, an assessment of Guma’s corporate structure, and a knowledge-sharing session on forming a dedicated Community Services Department. In addition to internal discussions, the delegation engaged with representatives from the European Delegation in Sierra Leone and UNICEF, discussing strategies to fortify the capacity of Guma’s Community Services Unit.
The visit’s practical dimension involved on-site evaluations of service delivery models in communities such as Kroo Bay and Collier Compound (Juba). These evaluations aimed to identify the most effective approaches to cater to the unique needs of each community.
With this successful visit’s conclusion, the collaborative efforts of Ghana Water Company Limited and VEI under the EU-WOP program are poised to make significant strides in enhancing water supply capabilities for marginalized urban communities. The commitment to sustainable development remains steadfast, as these operators continue to work towards equitable water access for all.