Philanthropy a Driving Force to Achieve SDGs in Ghana

30 Jan 2017

  Philanthropy has been a critical social investment partner in water and sanitation in Ghana (Photo credit: Cause Flash)

By Jessica Russell

In September 2015, 193 countries adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the follow-up framework to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda. Until 2030, countries will mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequality, tackle climate change, and ensure that no one is left behind.

Providing our global population with clean, accessible water is essential to achieving the SDGs by 2030. Unfortunately, every year millions of people, most of them children, die from diseases associated with inadequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene, due to poor infrastructure and a lack of investment.

Water scarcity, poor water quality and inadequate sanitation have a negative impact on food security, livelihood and educational opportunities for millions. Due to climate change, increasing droughts exacerbate hunger and malnutrition. By 2050, at least one in four people are likely to live in a country affected by chronic or recurring shortages of fresh water.

SDG 6 aims to ensure access to water and sanitation for all by 2030.

According to a United Nations report, the MDG target of halving the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water by 2015 was reached in Ghana. However, the Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH) sector faces a number of challenges, including limited access to sanitation, intermittent supply and high water losses. Water supply and sanitation infrastructure is insufficient, especially in rural areas and concerning sanitation (UNICEF and WHO Joint Monitoring Programme Report, 2015)

The SDGs represent an unprecedented opportunity to deliver high quality development in Ghana, and philanthropy is a driving force in making this happen.

Philanthropy has been a critical social investment partner in water and sanitation in Ghana, "The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation has been investing in water projects in Ghana for over 25 years,” says Edmund Cain, Vice President at the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. “With the vision provided by SDG 6 (Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all) our foundation sees an opportunity to leverage its future investments with other partners to finally achieve this goal, and hopefully earlier than 2030."

In 2016, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation awarded $5 million to the Safe Water Network, as part of the Foundation’s Safe Water program, to develop a market for small water enterprises (SWEs) in Ghana, with the objective of accelerating the coverage of reliable access to safe and affordable water for households, health facilities and schools.

The SDG Philanthropy Platform is a global initiative that connects foundations and philanthropists with knowledge and networks that can deepen collaboration, leverage resources and sustain impact. The Platform acts as a facilitator, connecting philanthropic organizations to each other and to key stakeholders, processes and policies driving SDG delivery within national development planning.

The SDG Philanthropy Platform has been working collaboratively on the SDGs in Ghana since July 2015, and is an important anchor for bringing a variety of stakeholders together in dialogue to advance Ghana’s SDGs.

In June 2016, large multi-stakeholder meetings held by the SDG Philanthropy Platform Ghana and Advisory Council, Platform partners Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, and the UN, government, philanthropy, NGOs, social enterprises, and civil society, worked to foster multi-stakeholder engagement, and affirmed the need for SDG priority mapping coordination between government and philanthropy.

The SDG Philanthropy Platform Ghana helps create a more enabled policy environment for philanthropy by supporting the government’s SDG planning and implementation, advocating a stronger voice and role for philanthropy and by demonstrating its critical role.

The SDG Philanthropy Platform will work collaboratively on the SDGs with a focus on water and sanitation in Ghana in 2017 and beyond, to foster multi-stakeholder partnerships, and work with local and international partners to amplify the voice of philanthropy and improve the lives of many.


Jessica Russell is Communications Consultant at the SDG Philanthropy Platform

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