EU-funded solidarity-based partnership between GWCL, GVWC kicks-off to provide inclusive services in Sierra Leone

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The solidarity-based Water Operators’ Partnership (WOP) between Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), Guma Valley Water Company (GVWC), and VEI started its peer-to-peer learning journey back in 2018 to support the development of GVWC pro-poor activities.

Encouraged by the successful learning and twinning partnership, the three partners decided to submit a funding proposal for the EU-WOP Programme. And it was a success. Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), Guma Valley Water Company (GVWC), and VEI will continue their capacity development arrangement for three more years.

The EU-WOP Programme is an initiative funded by the European Union and managed by UN-Habitat’s Global Water Operators’ Partnerships Alliance (GWOPA) which is funding over 20 Water Operators’ Partnerships (WOPs) projects.

These partnerships are solidarity-based, not-for-profit, and peer-to-peer exchanges between water and sanitation operators, that aim at strengthening the capacity and performance of utilities, with the ultimate goal of contributing to achieving UN Sustainable Development Goal 6, clean water and sanitation for all.

In April 2021, the programme received 142 applications. After a two-stage selection process, the GWCL-GVWC-VEI WOP was among the 22 projects selected.

The EU-WOP Programme will allocate $250,000 grant funding to this partnership. The project is one of the very few approved funding applications with an African lead partner and offers an excellent opportunity to build upon the prevailing twinning arrangement between GWCL and GVWC and further strengthen it with the support of VEI.

In line with the EU-WOP Programme objectives, the partnership’s focus will be on strengthening the capacity to provide equitable water services. The GWCL Low Income Customer Support Department (LICSD) will take the lead in supporting GVWC’s ambition to better serve vulnerable populations over a 36-month duration.

By supporting the development of the GVWC pro-poor activities and elevating its position as an organisation, the project will contribute greatly to the desired transformation of GVWC towards better service delivery. Together with the assistance of VEI the aim is to make the unserved visible and build the capacity to engage and transform the unserved to be served in a sustainable way. The partnership aims at contributing towards the SDG 6 targets by embracing the “leave no one behind” principle.

The agreement through which GWCL, GVWC, and VEI B.V. begin preparations for the project was signed in Dakar, Senegal on 23rd March 2022, during a special signing ceremony at the World Water Forum. There was an elaborate discussion, with the presence of Sierra Leone’s Minister for Water Resources and Ghana’s Chief Director at the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources, GWCL & GVWC Managing Directors, and other interested stakeholders representing the different parties.

Now that the Agreement of Cooperation between the lead partner and UN-Habitat has been signed, the partnership project is scheduled to commence soon.

This Water Operators’ Partnership project is funded by the European Union and UN-Habitat.

More information about the partners:

Guma Valley Water Company (GVWC) was established in 1961 as a private entity, currently fully owned by the state, and has the primary responsibility for providing water services to Freetown and its environs in Sierra Leone with a population estimated at 1.5 million residents. GVWC currently faces critical operational challenges including aging infrastructure, low revenues, and a lack of significant investments for rehabilitation & expansion of its aging infrastructure.

It also lacks the resources to invest in its human capital which has posed serious drawbacks to its service delivery.

On the other hand, GWCL is a fully state-owned utility company responsible for potable water supply to all urban communities in Ghana. This includes industries, commercial, government and domestic customers. GWCL’s yearly production exceeds 320 million a year and employs just over 5,000 staff.

The GWCL has tremendous improvement in its performance, based essentially on internally driven reforms. In 2021, the GWCL Board of Directors transformed the Low-Income Customer Support Unit into a full-blown GWCL Department, making it clear that GWCL strives towards an inclusive water service delivery in which special attention is paid to serving the urban poor and vulnerable.

VEI B. V. (VEI) a Dutch State Water Utilities established under the laws of the Netherlands to share their expertise with their colleague water utilities on a not-for-profit basis with a focus on building the capacity of water utility staff through on the job training/coaching.

The continued strength of VEI stands out in building and strengthening the capacity of local counterparts to make lasting improvements that increase access to sustainable water services and generate viable pro-poor investment propositions.

Source: Gwopa.org