One of the things we do as soon as we get up from bed is going to the toilet to urinate or defecate; a need we experience several times each day and going to the toilet is part of our daily routine.
The World Health Organization estimates that 3.6 billion people live without access to safely managed sanitation, that is 46.7% of the world’s population. This further suggests that nearly half of the world’s population are at risk of contracting diseases linked to unsafe water, sanitation and poor hygiene.
In Ghana, data from the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), indicate that 22% of the population practice open defecation, whilst only 21% have access to improved sanitation and 8% rely on various forms of unapproved sanitation facilities such as bucket latrines.
Catholic Relief Services Ghana is changing the narrative in Northern Ghana through the implementation of a 3-year Integrated Community Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Improvement (ICOWASH 2.0) project which seeks to improve the health and wellbeing of over 300,000 people in rural communities across three districts.
CRS Ghana has invested over $9 million in the implementation of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene activities in communities, schools, and healthcare facilities in Northern Ghana.
The project has so far supported the construction of 173 KVIP latrines, 273 boreholes, 13 Limited Mechanized Water Systems, 31 bathrooms and 29 medical incinerators.
This was made known at a colorful ceremony organized by CRS with support from the Mamprugu Moadgduri District Assembly and the Ghana Education Service, to commemorate this year’s World Toilet Day in Mamprugu Moagduri District, North East Region.
In his address, CRS Ghana WASH Program Manager, Emmanuel Kogo, intimated that CRS has conducted capacity building for over 3,500 school children through the establishment of 175 school health clubs, trained over 500 teachers as WASH mentors saying “the ICOWASH 2.0 project interventions have resulted in 140 Open Defecation Free (ODF) communities, 66 WASH Friendly schools and 36 WASH Friendly healthcare facilities.”
The North East Regional Minister, Hon. Yidana Zakaria, delivering the keynote address, lauded CRS for the various sanitation-related interventions in Northern Ghana and stressed on the need for public and private sectors partnership to create sustainable sanitation systems that work communities with fewer resources.
Members of the Yakpa-Bongo Basic School Health Club seized the opportunity to educate community members on effects of open defecation with a well-rehearsed drama.
The day ended with presentation of ODF certificates, wheelbarrows and other sanitation equipment to Open Defecation Free communities to help sustain sanitation activities in their communities.
Each year, World Toilet Day is celebrated on 19 November to highlight the importance of sanitation and hygiene in driving improvements in public health, gender equality, education, economic development and environmental protection.
With the theme “Valuing toilets”, this year’s campaign draws attention to the fact that toilets – and the sanitation systems that support them – are underfunded, poorly managed or neglected in many parts of the world.
Story: Lawrence Quarcoo/CRS