UNICEF works to ensure that every child has access to safe drinking water
Even though access to water in Ghana is improved significantly, one person out of every ten has to spend more than 30 minutes to access an improved source of drinking water. Another 11 per cent of the population, still drink from surface and other unsafe water sources.
Seventy six per cent of households in Ghana drink water that is contaminated with faecal matter
Moreover, only four per cent of households treat water suitably before drinking and 93 per cent of households do not treat water at all.
There is a strong link between poverty and collection time for water, with the poorest people over 20 times more likely to spend more than 30 minutes collecting water than wealthier people.
There are also inequities within regions, with households in the Northern Region 16 times more likely to have to spend more than 30 minutes collecting water than those in Greater Accra.
Gender inequities in access to WASH services are likely to be evident in long collection times for water, a burden that is largely tasked to women and children.
Lack of reliable water supply is likely to be a significant contributing factor to declining access to water within 30 minutes in rural areas.
Whilst various approaches are being implemented to ensure safe, sustainable supply of water, there is inadequate documentation on system sustainability and water quality to ensure that these approaches are scaled-up.
In Ghana, UNICEF supports the government to develop and demonstrate appropriate strategies for effective drinking water supply services. UNICEF also supports the government to build capacities of institutions and community structures and advocate in partnership with civil society institutions to advocate for effective policies and strategies to ensure that every child and household has access to safe drinking water.
UNICEF supports the Government of Ghana to develop and review existing policies, strategies and implementation models and guidelines to facilitate the growth of the sector. In 2008, UNICEF actively supported the government to develop the current National Water Policy, the Water Sector Strategic Development Plan and the National Drinking Water Quality Management Framework. The framework aims to support an inter-sectoral approach for ensuring that drinking water supplies meet quality standards on a consistent basis at the point of use.
Demonstration of Strategies
UNICEF supports the government to demonstrate various approaches. This includes supporting the provision of direct water supply services to deprived communities. For instance, in 2016, the Government of Ghana-UNICEF programme provided safe drinking water to nearly 74,000 community members in rural areas in Ghana.
For government to effectively provide safe drinking water to citizens, UNICEF provides support in capacity development for institutions to enhance sustainability of services.
UNICEF supports government to undertake various studies to generate the evidence base for decision-making and advocacy work. Studies that are supported have to do with water supply in both rural and urban sub-sectors, water quality, equitable access to water, technology, governance and emergency preparedness among others.
UNICEF leverages strong partnerships with government leadership, as well as within civil society and development partners to influence improvements in policies and decisions. It also applies various strategies to generate support for the mainstreaming and scale up of tested models and approaches. Advocacy work is supported by strong evidence base generated from the various researches and studies.