Vision in Wassa East
The post below is from a speech given by Richard Moore, Water4 Director of Programs, on October 29 in Ghana as we celebrated completing the first half of total district coverage in Wassa East in partnership with The Netherlands’ Enterprise Agency (RVO), World Vision, and the Conrad Hilton Foundation.
Water4 exists to empower local entrepreneurs as they work to eradicate their local water crises, in partnership with communities and governments. We use faith, innovation and empowerment to reimagine a world where lasting, affordable safe water is available in every home, school and clinic.
Five years ago, Water4 began developing a District-Based Approach as part of our overall strategy to provide access to safe and affordable water services across entire districts and cities. Through this partnership with The Netherlands’ Enterprise Agency (or RVO), we were able to pilot this strategy and approach right here in Wassa East. RVO and Water4 jointly invested in building the experience and capacity of a local water enterprise – Access Development – with the right skills and expertise to deliver safe water services in both small towns and more rural areas.
Today, as we celebrate the completion of our 5-year partnership with RVO, I am amazed at how far we’ve come with a little ingenuity and a lot of hard work. The local water crisis in Wassa East is unique, and as such it has required flexibility and a willingness to change course at critical junctures. Access Development, through its capacity to respond to new challenges as they arose, not only set themselves on a path to reach 54,000 people with access to safe water, but also helped us pioneer a new service delivery model for Ghana.
Through the key stakeholders here today, the Wassa East District Assembly, community leaders, the Netherlands Enterprise Development Agency, Access Development, and Water4 – as well as through parallel partnerships with World Vision and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation – more than 60% of the people in Wassa East now have access to safe water. We are thankful for each of you for investing in our shared vision, and for providing input and value into improving the water service delivery model as it has taken shape.
We are meeting today in Edwenase, where you can see what the district-wide approach looks like on a small scale. NUMA water systems are installed throughout the community, people are purchasing safe water at retail distribution points and health care facilities have safe water on premises. There is a growing recognition of the quality, affordability and convenience of NUMA water, evidenced by the fact that more and more people are connecting to the NUMA network at home. But that’s not all. Next on the list is to connect schools, so that your children, no matter where they are during their day, have access to safe water.
As we see in Edwesase, our model makes safe water an affordable option for everyone, everywhere. This is what we, along with the Government of Ghana, want to see occur across every town and city in Wassa East. As more safe water is consumed, the brighter the future will be for its people and its economy. This is happening today through the professionalization of water service delivery, and generation of revenue from satisfied customers. This brave investment in Wassa East is proving safe water enterprises can deliver sustainable water service for all.
This model works. I know because I’ve been a part of the start-up and scaling of Access Development since the beginning. Not only is it working here, but it’s also a blueprint not just for the rest of Ghana, but for other countries as well. Projects come and go, but Access Development and Water4 are here to stay thanks to the investments all of you have made in us, our people, and our approach.
I invite you to join us as we continue reaching for the final goal: total coverage in the district. Plans are underway to complete the installation of water infrastructure to provide access to nearly 40,000 more people, 80 schools, and 20 healthcare facilities in the district. This investment, to be completed in 2020, will bring Access Development to a greater level of financial viability. The success of Wassa East matters for the whole region. A healthy and missional enterprise, Access Development will be a leader in sustainable and safe water service provision, not just for other operators in Ghana, but as a mentor for Water4’s 16 partner enterprises operating across Africa.
As with any ambitious goal, new challenges always await us just over the horizon as Access Development endeavors to reach new types of customers, including schools and clinics. We are eager to face these challenges head on, as we have the past five years, but this will require your continued support and willingness to work with us to cross the finish line. Thanks to the strength of our partnerships and relationships here, we have faith our shared goal for district coverage — a first for Western Region, a first for Ghana, and a first for sub-Saharan Africa — will come to fruition soon.
Richard Lee Moore III
Director of Programs, Water4