Improving participation of community-based organisations
ASI conducted an advocacy programme for the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission to increase participation by key stakeholders and community-based organizations such as the Consumer Service Committees in the electricity and water sectors and help develop a regulatory social policy.
ASI assisted PURC in conducting a major social survey to understand the key priorities and issues of the poor in Ghana with respect to water. The survey revealed that on an average the poor were paying four times more for drinking water than the rich in Ghana. The survey further revealed that the key problem facing poor in Ghana was accessibility to clean water and not price as was previously assumed, since the majority of the poor in Ghana did not have access to reticulated water. Such problems were leading women and children to travel long distances in the morning to find water, causing children to miss school and women to lose other economic opportunities, in addition to the obvious health hazards.
As a result of the survey findings, PURC with support from ASI consultants, has developed a regulatory social policy, implementation of which is a top priority. As a direct consequence the regulator is now able to direct cost effective investments to pro-poor projects as well as directly target subsidies to the poor. It is expected that as a result of this new social approach adopted by PURC, accessibility of clean drinking water to the poor will improve, and millions of dollars of donor funding can be targeted better towards pro poor projects. Other countries in Africa are already looking at Ghana to learn from this new approach.