CSOs urges Government to prioritize deployment of mini-grid in island communities.

Accra, Oct 01, GNA - Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), championing sustainable development in Ghana, have urged Government to prioritize the deployment of mini-grids in island on the Volta Lake and remote communities by including it in the Rural Electrification Project.

The CSOs said they recognized that there was a slow pace in the extension of electricity to about two million people residing in lakeside and island communities, and the lack of comprehensive policies, coupled with the absence of regulatory frameworks guiding the provision of mini-grids in Ghana.

Among other recommendations was that the Government should create an enabling environment for the private sector to lead mini-grid interventions with government providing monitoring and regulations to speed up deployment of mini-grids in island and remote communities.

Madam Nora Ollennu, Chief Executive Officer, Intervention Forum, who represented the CSOs at the SNV Voice for Change Partnership (V4CP) programme closure and learning event in Accra, noted that for the renewable energy sector, private sector must come up with innovations that reduce pricing whilst giving value for money.

The event, hosted by the SNV Netherlands Development Organisation was on the theme: “Building Vibrant CSOs for Advocacy”.

SNV has been implementing the V4CP programme since 2016 which aims at strengthening CSOs to advocate for an enabling environment in which Governments and Businesses provide good and affordable services for low-income segments in society.

Through the five-year implementation period of V4CP, SNV worked extensively with their CSO partners, strengthening and enhancing advocacy towards policy formulation in three thematic areas; Food and Nutrition Security, Renewable Energy, and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).

These have included knowledge and capacity building, workshops and accountability forums, town hall meetings, coaching, evidence-generation, lobbying, funding support, and baseline studies.

Madam Ollennu stated that for the WASH category, the CSOs identified challenges including the absence of legal provisions to allow metropolitan municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) to retain a percentage of exacted funds from sanitation and hygiene prosecutions.
She said the reluctance shown by most private sector entities to invest in sanitation and hygiene due to low interest and profitability concerns, was identified.

She, therefore, recommended that the government should initiate the passage of an Act of parliament on quotas for MMDAs as part of sanitation fines resulting from prosecutions.

She said the Government should create conditions for more public-private arrangements to sustainably address existing WASH delivery gaps to strengthen efficiency, and there also be an effective collaboration, broad-based consultation and active involvement of the private sector in WASH services and end-users.

Mr Anjo Van Toorn, SNV Country Director, stated that V4CP had been a remarkable five- years supporting civil society organisations to engage in evidence-based advocacy.
He said this covered areas of improved clean cooking, access to off-grid electrification, food and nutrition, Post-Harvest Loss (PHL) reduction and sustainable sanitation and hygiene under the V4CP Programme in Ghana.

“Implemented in five other SNV countries; Burkina Faso, Honduras, Indonesia, Kenya and Rwanda, the V4CP project has proven to be one of our successful projects that has effectively encompassed and promoted the 3 sectors SNV specializes in; WASH, Renewable Energy and Agriculture”, he added.

Mr Ron Strikker, the Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana, encouraged CSOs to make sure they deliver quality; they have to be well organized, have access to political circles and the media, must be active and outgoing and have to be vocal.

He said CSOs could help make government more accountable to citizens, and by so doing, contributing to greater social cohesion, stronger and more open democracies, a better response to environmental problems, a better business climate, more opportunities for all and less inequality.