IRC opens Ghana Office

Government is to ensure a sustainable provision of basic water and sanitation to Ghanaians by the year 2025. Former Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing Alban Sumana Bagbin said this at the official opening of the Ghana office of the IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre in Accra on Friday. IRC is an independent knowledge centre dedicated to the field of water supply, sanitation, hygiene and integrated water resources management with focus on improving livelihoods for the poor. The opening of the office makes Ghana the first branch office since the establishment IRC in 1968. IRC has since the 1990s, worked with various stakeholders in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector to define problems, research solutions and implement change in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector in Ghana. Mr Bagbin acknowledged the contribution of IRC towards the WASH sector in both technical and knowledge assistance and said with the IRC, government’s vision of achieving sustainable water and sanitation for the populace was achievable. He said “The Government of Ghana sees the opening of IRC Branch Office in Ghana as a significant step to further strengthen our strategic partnership to document lessons from the past, co-generate ideas and develop innovations to address the issues confronting us today and to institute appropriate sector change to manage the implementation of our vision for the future”. He gave the assurance that the Ministry being the host of the Advisory Committee of the Triple-S Project, a project under IRC Ghana, would continue to provide policy direction and ensure that innovations from IRC and other partners were put into practice. Mr Gerard Duijfjes, the Dutch Ambassador to Ghana, said in January this year the Netherlands announced a five-year support of 10 million Euro to IRC and also announced a new 10-year 100 million euro programme in water and sanitation support for Ghana. Mr Duijfjes gave the assurance of further support to the sector in Ghana for the next eight to 10 years and wished the IRC Ghana office well. The Director of IRC, Mr. Nico Terra said the opening of the IRC Ghana office was an important step by IRC in its development to becoming a more international organization. He said in 2007, IRC made some important strategic decisions to make a much more impact as a knowledge transfer organization in the water sector in developing countries, adding “We have combined our projects into programmes to have a more lasting presence in the countries. We want to work more intensively with our partners in the countries and have more locals involved in our projects and programmes”. He emphasized IRC would continue to play a role as a knowledge centre, innovator and change agent in the water sector in Ghana and support the development of the sector towards a more sustainable water and sanitation delivery in the rural and peri-urban areas together with partners. Mr Terra officially presented the power of attorney to Mrs Vida Affum Duti, who assumes office as the Country Director of IRC Ghana. She takes over from Dr Patrick Moriarty who now becomes the Manager of IRC’s International Business Development and Director Triple-S Project. IRC Ghana currently through partnership with various institutions in Ghana is implementing initiatives such as the Sustainable Services at Scale(Triple-S) Project, WASHCost Project, WASHtech Project and supporting the Resource Centre Network.