MOLE XXXIV Background Paper


Building Inclusive and Resilient Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) systems to reach the unserved.


The MOLE conference series which was first organized in 1989 by a group of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) has become the main rallying platform for discussing issues on Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH). This feat has been attained due to the tenacity of purpose, commitment and dynamic leadership exhibited by the trailblazers and subsequently, the Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS) leads the effective collaboration with other key players including central and local government institutions, development partners, academic and research institutions, and the private sector among others.

This year’s conference is happening against the backdrop of the complexities and uncertainties of global economic challenges, supply chain bottlenecks (arising from COVID-19 pandemic), and ongoing climate change, which has been described as the ‘triple crises. Securing Government and stakeholder commitments to WASH and building inclusive and resilient WASH systems to reach the unserved populations is a clear action to turn the ‘triple crises’ into a ‘triple win’.

Consistent with the coalition’s mission of working in partnership with relevant stakeholders to influence policies, remove barriers and to promote access safe WASH for the poor and vulnerable, this year’s event will set the agenda and commence a national dialogue aimed at holding Government and other duty-bearers to account on their commitments to WASH, and to change the narrative regarding the approach to the delivery of sustainable WASH services in Ghana.


With seven (7) to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2030 agenda, the vision for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 is to reach everyone everywhere by 2030. The SDG 6 is an ambitious desire to ‘ensure availability and Sustainable Management of Water and Sanitation for All’ by 2030. The Government of Ghana is making every effort to fully meet all its Sanitation and Water targets by 2030. The National vision for water and sanitation sector is “sustainable basic water and sanitation service for all by 2030” which in detailed terms means “all people living in Ghana have access to adequate, safe, affordable and reliable basic water service, practise safe sanitation and hygiene and that water resources are sustainably managed”[1].

SDG 6 targets 6.1 and 6.2 calls for drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene call for the equitable access to safe and adequate services for all, as well as end open defecation. The Government of Ghana has aligned itself to the goal and targets and is taking appropriate steps to review national WASH policies to also reflect the Africa Agenda 2063, N’gor and other SWA commitments.

The actualization of Ghana’s WASH vision is further bolstered by recently launched Ghana WASH Sector Development Plan (GWASHSDP, 2021-2030)[2], and the on-going sector reforms[3] in the rural and small-town water delivery with professionalization of staffing and service delivery at the core. Hopefully, this will deal with hydra-headed sustainability and equity challenges in WASH services delivery.

Building the resilience of water and sanitation infrastructure to climate shocks is critical to ensure equitable and sustainable WASH service delivery.

For Ghana to meet the above-stated vision, an improved understanding of equity issues is imperative. Equity-focused programming and effective targeting of the poor and marginalized beyond the current geographic targeting is urgently needed. More funding and technical guidance for post- construction operation and maintenance support by the Government and partners are crucial to sustain WASH services. The Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources (MSWR) is in the final stages of revising the 2007 National Water Policy. The GWASHSDP, the draft Water National Policy 2021, and other policies and strategies under development all align with the SDG standards and national aspirations. The call is for Government to take bold and decisive actions on ongoing sector reforms to take sector regulation seriously, with clear institutional re-organization backed adequate and predictable funding to build inclusive and resilient WASH Systems to reach the unserved.   

MOLE XXXIV Conference

MOLE XXXIV Conference will focus on building inclusive and resilient WASH systems to reach the unserved. This is important step as Ghana accelerate efforts to achieve the 2030 SDG6 WASH targets. The MOLE XXXIV Conference is intended to create a common space where policymakers, practitioners and researchers can gather to give account on the state of Ghana’s WASH delivery systems – through the review of available evidence, interrogating the science and methods, exploring the latest learnings and existing experiences, towards bridging the WASH service delivery gaps. Conference will also discuss how the implementation of resilient WASH systems will address access and equity, and how current service delivery models will impact on Ghana’s pace towards achieving WASH for all.


The overall objective of the conference is to review equity and inclusive approaches toward building resilient WASH services in the country. The focus of discussions will include systems, approaches, and models of resilient WASH service delivery. The specific objectives include the following:

  1. Reflect on approaches to building resilient WASH systems to ensure sustainable service delivery.
  2. Explore inclusive approaches to service delivery that address equity concerns and promote sustainable WASH service delivery for everyone everywhere.
  3. Discuss options for delivering sustainable WASH to unserved and underserved communities in Ghana.
  4. Highlight cutting-edge partnerships with education, health, economic and related sectors in delivering cost-effective, affordable, and inclusive WASH services.
  5. Review existing innovative financing approaches that are inclusive and self-sustaining.
  6. Explore appropriate technology and innovations for delivering WASH infrastructure and services in an equitable and inclusive manner
  7. Develop practical and actionable recommendations for accelerating access to sustainable WASH services.


The conference will attract the participation of the following stakeholders and actors:

  • Ministries, departments, and agencies
  • Legislators
  • Development partners
  • Academia
  • Research institutions
  • Non-governmental organizations
  • CBOs/FBOs
  • Civil society organizations
  • Private sector
  • Media Houses

Expected outcomes

  • The adoption of an agreed set of recommendations for monitoring Ghana’s commitments to provide WASH services to everyone everywhere and keeping Government and stakeholders on track to accelerate sustainable WASH services delivery.
  • A clear understanding of innovative service delivery approaches, models, and methods capable of replicability and scalability towards WASH for all agenda.


The conference will offer a rare opportunity for participants to:

  • Learn from good practices across the country and beyond.
  • Disseminate the results of successful programs and projects.
  • Meet industry players and share what works and what doesn’t, identifying synergies and ways of working together in the future.
  • Meet and network with relevant stakeholders in the WASH sector.
  • Be part of a critical mass of stakeholders and actors committed to prioritizing and promoting sustainable WASH services delivery.

Thematic Scope

The theme for the conference is ‘‘Building Inclusive and Resilient Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) systems to reach the unserved. The five sub-themes to be discussed in detail are the following:

Sub-theme 1: WASH System Strengthening:

This theme will highlight the systems approach to equitable service delivery methods. The key WASH system building blocks  and innovations that promote universal access to WASH services as well as promising solutions for improving access to safe drinking water, paying attention to equity issues, water safety and sustainable management of Ghana’s WASH resources. Building resilient WASH systems in a collaborative and coordinated manner is critical to ensure sustainability.

      Key Pathways:

  1. Assessing system strengthening building blocks: Infrastructure delivery, Co-ordination and Sustainable financing.
  2. Governance and Accountability issues.
  3. WASH in Institutions (including special schools)

Subtheme 2: Innovative Service Delivery Approaches:

This theme will focus on unique service delivery models other than the on-grid and traditional utility approaches. The role of Small Water Enterprises (SWEs) and sanitation entrepreneurship, and their contribution towards universal access to WASH by 2030 will be explored further. This sub-theme will stimulate discussions around policy and regulatory requirements on the operations of SWEs and the best way to sustain the current gains made with their approaches to equitable service delivery. Good practices on climate-resilient WASH delivery as well as innovative financing of WASH services will be explored.

       Key Pathways:

  1. The role of Small Water Enterprises (SWEs)
  2. Climate Resilient WASH Services
  3. Assessing the accessibility and affordability of innovative financing for WASH

Subtheme 3: Equity and Inclusion in WASH Service Delivery:

This theme will examine inclusive service delivery approaches and area-wide approaches as well as other innovative methods and arrangements for delivering equitable and inclusive WASH services with improved sustainability mechanisms. This sub-theme will also focus on good practices on reaching the less privileged in communities with safe sanitation and water with accessibility and affordability as clear benchmarks. Both public and Private sector financing options for Safe WASH delivery will be explored in this theme.

       Key Pathways:

  1. Appropriate technology to reach unserved and underserved communities
  2. Ensuring equity and inclusion in WASH service delivery
  3. Leveraging technology and data for equitable WASH monitoring and evaluation

Sub-theme 4: Policies and Regulations in Service Delivery:

This theme will discuss the current National WASH policies and regulatory mechanisms for the sustainable WASH services delivery. We will explore Government leadership and the support of Development Partners, NGOs and the Private sector in ensuring an effective enabling environment backed effective regulatory regime to advance Ghana’s quest for equitable and sustainable WASH for all. Focus will also be given to the WASHSDP 2022 and the Sector Information System(SIS)

          Key Pathways:

  1. Progress on Draft National Water Policy (2022)
  2. Progress on Revision of National Environmental Sanitation Policy
  3. Progress on National Hygiene Strategy and Hand Hygiene Campaigns
  4. Enabling Environment for Private Sector funding in WASH service delivery


The conference will aim at balancing plenary and panel discussions with interactive parallel sections and opportunities for maximizing interaction among participants. Apart from the main conference venue, two virtual conference centers with an online link will also be established to enable participation from persons who will be unable to travel to the main conference venue. A conference reception, capacity-building workshops, field trips to WASH facility Jirapa, tourist visits and a special dinner and awards night will also form part of the conference.

The following will constitute the various components of the conference:

  • Plenary: Presentations on selected themes will be made by selecting experts in the area for discussion.
  • Expert panel discussions: Following presentations on thematic areas, discussions will seek to unearth expert opinion and generate dialogue among participants.
  • Group discussions: Key issues emanating from presentations will be discussed in plenary and in smaller groups. Outcomes of group work will be captured and shared in plenary.
  • Verbal Presentations: A variety of selected papers will be presented and discussed at parallel sessions. Papers may share successes and failures of approaches and field experiences.
  • Side events: Side events will be in the form of collaborative learning experiences focused on new and emerging practices. During the side events, international organizations, NGOs, programs, or projects will be given a platform to share results, introduce new approaches, or engage the conference audience on emerging issues in the sector.
  • Posters: Poster presentations will focus on emerging research within the sector, or as a front for quick dissemination/ display of relevant knowledge materials during the conference.
  • Media events: The Mole XXXIV conference will receive high level media coverage and reportage as part of the planned objectives of the conference.
  • Exhibitions: Organizations, resource centers, service providers and manufacturers will have the opportunity to exhibit their products at a fee and engage participants during the conference.
  • Conference Communiqué: A key output of the conference will be a presentation of the Conference Communiqué in a press conference which will capture key decisions from conference proceedings.


The Executive Secretary

Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS)

P.M. B. 24, KIA, Accra, Phone:   +233 24459-5664 +233 24 498 9085

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The main aim of the conference is to generate policy and practical programme ideas to contribute to informedsector policy on WASH in emergencies