Government and Citizens must Work together to ensure Access to Improved Toilets    

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Ghana was ranked the seventh dirtiest country in the world according to a World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report in 2015. The country performed abysmally regarding sanitation in the 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), where only 15 percent of Ghanaians had access to improved toilets.

The Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) subsequently initiated the affordable toilet project for citizens to get access to improved toilets at affordable prices. Currently, GAMA sells a full toilet package for GH 1,100 cedis consisting of a toilet room, toilet seat, hand wash basin, a biofil digester and a discharge unit (soak-away). People who already have their own toilet rooms can get all the other items at a price of GH 600 cedis.

As of April 30, a total of 21,091 toilets have been constructed in the 12 districts in which GAMA is presently operating.

The benefits the nation stands to derive from this initiative cannot be overemphasized. Once this project is well implemented, Ghana can redeem its image of being a dirty country. Health, economy, education and all other sectors will be improved significantly.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 6) focuses on improved sanitation and water resources. By showing greater commitment to the GAMA project we will thus be contributing immensely to the attainment of these goals.

Like any other development initiative, a lot of hard work is required from both citizens and leaders to ensure lasting success and impact.

To speed up the rate at which people are embracing the initiative, more education campaigns are needed. This will increase awareness, especially on the proper ways of maintaining the toilet.

Proper monitoring and evaluation will also be central to the success of the project. Contractors, for instance, need to be well supervised to ensure they are giving their very best to customers. Individuals who may pose as contractors and charge exorbitant prices from customers need to be checked. When customers report an issue concerning the toilet facility, they need to be quickly attended to. Proper measures need to be put in place to ensure that customers also do not default in payment of their debts.

All in all, the GAMA toilet project is a good initiative. It will be even more beneficial if extended to other regions of the country. It will facilitate the behaviour change campaign towards ending open defecation. And the President’s vision of making Accra the cleanest city in Africa can truly become a reality if both government and citizens give their full support.

Source: Paul Eduarko Richardson || Department Of Communication Studies

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