Asutifi North is making giant strides in providing water services for its citizens – but progress on sanitation is proving much harder and slower.
Published on: 30/05/2020
Material prepared by a team from the Ghana National Development Planning Commission and IRC Ghana
So far 11 communities in the district have adopted Community-Led Total Sanitation and are working towards being declared open defecation free. But this covers only a small proportion of the 64,000 plus people who live in 149 settlements.
One success story is Panaaba village where Nana Attakorah Amaniampong, the chief of the community, enthusiastically accepted the challenge from World Vision and District Authority to transform its sanitation status as a condition for solving its water crisis. The chief was one of the first to construct his own household toilet and by the start of March 2020 almost half the community had completed their toilets, and the rest are works in progress.
Nana Attakorah Amaniampong said: “Awareness on handwashing has been heightened particularly with the spread of the COVID-19. We have also been told about the need for every household to own its toilet, to improve sanitation and deter people from using public toilets. Using your own toilet and practising good hygiene is the way to go. This will even prevent contaminations even at the water facility.”
Festus Boadi, WASH Field Officer for World Vision, said it was important for communities to understand that water and sanitation should go hand in hand. “The new approach World Vision is adopting in partnership with the District Assembly is when a community needs water they should start practising good sanitation, so the new approach is ‘no sanitation, no water!’”
James Ata-Era, Asutifi North District Development Planning Officer, agrees. “If households within the community are able to meet a certain number of basic household latrines then we will come to your community to serve you with the water.”
But toilets are not the only issue and the district is still looking for partners to help them to scale up their efforts for both solid and liquid waste. “In terms of water we have done tremendously well, but the challenges have to do with the sanitation component. All the partners seem to be working on water. All the investment we are getting is on water. The sanitation component is currently being handled by the Assembly and World Vision only. Looking at competing demands from the same Assembly's meagre budget we have challenges.”
The district needs engineered sites for landfill and to deal with liquid waste, especially as more household toilets are built.
“Hygiene it is about attitudes and it will take time to yield the results that we need. But we are very optimistic that we will be able to achieve that. We are calling on partners, especially in the sanitation area to come and help us and assist us with the technology.”
The overall cost of meeting sanitation targets by 2030 will be about US$ 11.23 million and little of that has so far been pledged. District Chief Executive, Anthony Mensah, says they would like to be able to do more about solid waste management, rather than relying only on the national agreement with Zoom Lion which is not delivering to the satisfaction of districts.
But it also requires a change of attitudes in the community to return to some of the old ways of self-reliance. “The behaviour of our people before was that if you make refuse it is your duty to make sure that you take it to a place where it should go. But the attitude now is ‘let's wait for the government to come and deal with that’. Part of our strategy will be sensitisation of the people to take very good care of the waste that they have generated.”
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