Monday, March 25, 2013

Safe water, Kosmos energy save 7,000 lives

Ken Keag, Ghana Country Manager, Kosmos Energy
By Patrick Baidoo

Over 7,000 inhabitants living across five coastal communities in the Western Region are to benefit from a mechanized water system which will alleviate their lack of access to potable water.

The project which was commenced in 2012 and almost near completion is being financed by energy giants – Kosmos Energy- with technical expertise from Safe Water Network (SWN).

This three year initiative falls within the energy giants “Corporate Social Investment”, with a critical emphasizes on SWN’s concept of community management and ownership of water and sanitation facilities.

Speaking at the “Beyond the Pipe: Achieving Local Sustainability” forum in Accra recently, Ken Keag, Ghana Country Manager, Kosmos Energy, noted that its partnership with SWN was driven by “The innovative water supply concept and shared vision of building capacity which leads to providing economic empowerment and a healthy environment for communities.

“We were thinking of undertaking a community based water project and engaged Safe Water Network. The result was the beginning of a three year partnership aimed at providing cost effective, community managed and affordable safe water and improved hygiene solutions for selected coastal communities in the Western Region”.

He indicated that there had been great efforts towards providing water and sanitation facilities but the problem had been sustainability because most times communities do not buy into the ownership and management concept. “It’s important that we find ways of allowing communities to collaborate and buy in to projects so that at the end they can claim ownership with a sense of pride.

This project will build capacity for self management: whereby the community claims ownership with pride, determine realistic prices to generate funds for expansion, maintenance, and sustainability of water systems”. 

During an overview on the topic, Barriers and Promising Solutions: Achieving Sustainable Access for the Poor, Joseph Ampadu – Boakye, Programs Manager – Safe Water Network, enumerated some tenets that has impeded Communities, NGOs, Institutions and Government Agencies from delivering potable water to the underserved and less privileged in society.

From the Ghana Market Assessment: Market Based Provision of Water at the Community Level, field analyses document, he mentioned the barriers as “consumers unwillingness to pay realistic prices for water, lack of investment in new technologies to provide potable water, lack of local capacity to manage community water systems, non enforcement of policy guidelines, the economics of recouping investments in larger communities rather than smaller communities and the inability to implement finance solutions like microcredit for the water and sanitation sector.”

On this base he employed the forum to deliberate well and come out with tailored suggests for a prudent approach to address the water and sanitation problem holistically.

While discussions at the forum centered on: behavior change for sustainability, water system economics, financing solutions, creating an enabling environment for market solutions and how to stimulate local capacity for sustainability, while the plenary session dealt with the topic, Pilot to Scale: Coordinating Action among Stakeholders.  

Safe Water Network 

Co-founded in 2006 by actor and philanthropist Paul Newman, along with prominent civic and business leaders, Safe Water Network brings together diverse capabilities form the public and private sectors to address the challenges of local ownership and sustainability. They oversee their own field initiatives, conduct operational research, and provide training and support to the local operating unit. We also measure impacts on community health and livelihoods. We share the findings from all of our activities through reports, case studies, forums and workshops.

Kosmos Energy

Kosmos Energy is a path finding oil and gas exploration and production company, focused on emerging areas in Ghana, Africa and South America. They are oil finders, driven to unlock significant new petroleum systems, and to grow and mature discovered hydrocarbon basins through additional exploration success, as well as development and production.

Participants at the forum

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