Sinapi Aba Savings and Loans says it is investing 30 million Ghana Cedis into businesses and entrepreneurs working in the area of Water, Sanitation and Health (WASH) projects.
Leadership say the investment which will cover five years will reach over 1,500 clients who will access the facility it is projecting to impact over 5 million lives including children.
Programmes Manager for Sinapi Aba Savings and Loans, Joyce Owusu- Dabo, said by so doing the savings and loans company is helping to better the lives of people in the society especially people in its catchment areas.
“We are projecting to impacting over five million lives which include children because we believe that providing this service does not go to only an individual if there is a household benefiting from the facility.
If it is a public toilet it means, a community of about five thousand people would have access to improved sanitation and safe water.”
For the past three years, the financial institution has already invested 13.7 million Ghana Cedis in WASH Businesses.
Mrs Owusu-Dabo said the company entered the WASH space to contribute its quota towards providing improved sanitation, safe water and ensuring that people live in a hygienic environment.
It falls under the obligations of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, Goal Six that calls for clean water and sanitation for all people.
She spoke at the WASH learnings and dissemination conference held in Accra that brought together stakeholders to profess ways to make water sanitation and hygiene financing sustainable.
CEO of Sinapi Aba Savings and Loans, Tony Fosu, reveals they have invested in excess 25 million Ghana Cedis to develop WASH products and services.
“So far we have invested in excess of GHS25 million to develop WASH products and services, ghs13.5 million in loan portfolios. Over 700 loan clients have successfully taken their loans and repaid and taken again because we have a 98 per cent recovery rate,“ he said.
He adds that the initiative makes it easily available for people to access finance for WASH programmes and projects.
“What we have done as an institution is to make it convenient and easily available for people to have access to financing to support WASH business entrepreneurs to invest in their wash business operations to be able to access either sanitation or safe water,” he said.
The objective of the WASH project, according to her, is for people to have onsite sanitation, especially for the household.
“We believe that with the intervention of one toilet one household it is one step above what we have as open defecation or flying toilet.
So Sinapi Aba is working hard to provide improve sanitation and safe water for people in these communities”, Mr Fosu explained.
Many financial institutions consider investing in WASH as a risky product and so decline to venture the area.
But what Sinapi Aba Savings and Loan has done is to ensure that it puts in measures to ensure to mitigate the risk that comes with it.
Officials say the project, although very critical to protecting sanitation and the environment, is not profitable.
Programmess Manager, Mrs Owusu-Dabo says they are working to scale it up the product which has been on the market for the past three years.
“…yes we can say that it is sustainable and we are working to scale it up, and we believe that by scaling it up, the economies of scale will play out and then the product will move from just being sustainable to being profitable,“ she said.
Mr Fosu, also said the private sector must collaborate with development partners to work together to support the government’s effort to provide facilities in water, sanitation and hygiene.
“We all know the importance of sanitation in our parts of the world, with our economic development and population growth I don’t think our (Ghana) facilities have really matched up and I don’t think our government are unable to provide all the facilities that are needed.
“It is therefore important that private sector partners with government support the government’s effort. We used the over 25 years’ experience in microfinance and development finance to start this initiative with our partners since 2016,” he added.
Meanwhile, Executive Secretary of Ghana Association of Savings and Loans Companies, Tweneboah Koduah Boakye, said financial institutions to invest some their funds in the WASH area.
“We want to encourage all financial institutions to invest some of their funds in the WASH area, again funding agencies should identify key partnering financial institution to work with.
“Just like Sinapi Aba is doing we want to see more collaboration so that we will improve the quality of lives and livelihood of people,” he said.
For the WASH products to meet the desired results, Mr Koduah Boakye encourages that such funds must be flexible, and meet the specific needs of the customer.
“There should be a reasonable interest rate that will ensure that the burden on the borrower is not that much but very reasonable for them to be able to service it. Customers should also appreciate that it serves in their own interest,” he said.
Meanwhile, customers who will benefit from any WASH product have been encouraged to pay their loans to allow others to have access to such products.
Mr Koduah Boakye also implored financial institutions that pay attention to WASH are paying critical help to the communities they serve. It also shows that the financial institution is socially responsible.
Meanwhile, Sinapi Aba Savings and Loans have had to partner with development partners like Opportunity International, Water.org etc, to bring these services to neighbourhoods and communities across Ghana.
CEO of Opportunity International-UK, Sam Bickersteth, pledged its continuous support to Sinapi Aba Savings and Loans as well as encouraged them to continue with support for the society.