|Mr. Emmanuel S. Kogo|
The USAID Resiliency in Northern Ghana (RING) project, has attained another major milestone in the water, hygiene and sanitation (WASH) sector, with the declaration of 65 communities in 17 districts of the Northern Region Open Defaecation Free.
This achievement came following the construction of over 3,249 household latrines by the communities complemented by the installation of more than 2,100 household hand washing facilities and 482 institutional hand washing stations in all the communities.
The RING-WASH Officer, Emmanuel Sungnumah Kogo, revealed these at a durbar held at the Konkomba Tuyini community in the Karaga District, to celebrate and honour 4 out of 9 communities which have been declared open defaecation free.
The purpose of the community durbar was also to certify these communities and they are Konkomba Tuyini, Songnayili, namantula and Kpambini. Besides, the certification, the communities were given 8 wheelbarrows and shovels to enable them carryout their routine cleanup exercises.
RING is a 5-year integrated project and partnership effort under the Feed the Future Initiative funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) designed to contribute to the Government of Ghana’s efforts to sustainably reduce poverty and improve nutrition in the region.
The project’s goal is to improve the livelihoods and nutritional status of vulnerable households in targeted communities in the 17 districts of the Northern Region. Consistent with USAID forward principles of direct support to host governments, RING is implemented through a collaborative approach with District Assemblies and the Northern Regional Coordinating Council including 6 regional departments.
The objective of RING is to decrease 25 percent in stunting among children under five; decrease 25 percent in wasting among children under five; decrease 20 percent in underweight among children under five; and decrease 20 percent in anaemia among children under five.
Mr. Kogo underscored the fact that, the construction of the household latrines has so far contributed to a significant reduction in water and sanitation related diseases and among others.
“Having heeded to the advice given to them concerning open defaecation, the communities will have sign posts erected in the entry points of their respective communities indicating that they don’t engage in open defaecation”, he said.
He urged the communities to take very good care of the facilities, adding that “when they are old and weak, pull them down and construct new ones for use.”
Mr. Kwaku Abdulai, a resident of Konkomba Tuyini told this reporter that, previously all households in the community did not have latrines. “We resorted to use of the bush in front of our homes for toilet. This brought a lot of health problems to us and our families.
“Fowls go out and eat our own faeces and return to the house to infect cooking utensils and food. Flies also carry the germs and bacteria in the faeces to our homes and pollute our food. When it rains, running water carry everything into our source of drinking water. But now, we no longer experience such sanitation problems”, he told this reporter.
Mr. Abdulai expressed gratitude to USAID-RING for also supporting their women to farm. “The farming business is bringing alot benefits to their families including payment of school fees and other bills”.
Currently, access to improved sanitation in Ghana according to the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development is only 15 percent, while 58 percent of the population share latrines and 19 percent do open defaecation.
In Northern Ghana, only 5 percent of the population has access to improved water and sanitation. This means that 22 million Ghanaians do not have places of convenience. As a result, UNICEF reports that, 3,600 children die each year from water and sanitation related diseases such as diarrhoea and cholera, and suffer stunting which is linked to poor water and sanitation.