Aliu Fauzia, Policy, Campaigns and Inclusion Manager, WaterAid Ghana
Aliu Fauzia, Policy, Campaigns and Inclusion Manager, WaterAid Ghana

Maintain open defecation free status - WaterAid urges Asaloko community

WaterAid Ghana, a water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) focused non-governmental organisation (NGO), has urged members of the Asaloko community to maintain their Open Defecation Free (ODF) status.

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The Policy, Campaigns and Inclusion Manager, WaterAid Ghana, Aliu Fauzia, said it was important for the community members to continue to educate, promote and practice good hygiene and sanitation.

She said: “Let us commit to sustain this achievement and explore new ways to improve our community’s health and well-being for the benefit of all.” She was speaking at an event to commemorate the sixth anniversary of the Asaloko community in the Bongo District in the Upper East Region being declared ODF through the intervention of WaterAid Ghana.

In 2016 WaterAid Ghana with funding from Global Affairs Canada implemented a five-year programme under the WASH for Public Health Project (WASH4PHP). The aim was to strengthen community-based interventions in the areas of WASH.

Before the project, the community faced challenges in the areas of WASH, but through education and advocacy from WaterAid Ghana, it was able to undertake community driven interventions leading to the achievement of ODF status.

Journey

She stated that six years ago, a journey was embarked upon that required not just resources and infrastructure but a fundamental shift in mindset and behaviour, saying “today, we celebrate not just the end of open defecation but the profound transformation for our health, dignity and environment”.

She explained that the benefits of achieving ODF status were far-reaching, as improved sanitation had led to significant reduction in water-borne diseases, and said the success story was a powerful testament and shining example of community spirit, leadership and perseverance.

“I extend my deepest gratitude to the community leaders whose vision and commitment were instrumental in driving this initiative,” she said, stressing “your success inspires us and reinforces our commitment to continue supporting communities across Ghana to achieve similar milestones.”

The Secretary of the Water and Sanitation Management Team, Asaloko community, Jerry Nyaaba, said the community had become a model for others to follow as it exhibited the power of collective action and community-led initiatives.

He mentioned that the community had witnessed improved public health and enhanced environmental sustainability and further stated “we overcame cultural and social barriers, infrastructure limitations and financial constraints to achieve our purpose”.

While calling on other communities where open defecation was rife to put an end to the practice, Mr Nyaaba urged the people to continue to work together and share their experiences and expertise to create a world where every individual had access to safe and dignified sanitation facilities.

The District Chief Executive (DCE), Rita Atanga, said the district started the Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) programme in 2012 which benefited 84 communities, out of a total of 168 communities, with WaterAid supporting 35 of them.

She said as of now, 63 communities had been declared ODF, out which WaterAid assisted 20 of them to achieve such an achievement, and further stressed that the assembly would create the required enabling environment for more communities to achieve ODF status by the end of December 2024.

The Paramount Chief of the Bongo Traditional Area, Naba Baba Salifu Atamale Lemyaarum, commended WaterAid Ghana for its relentless efforts towards improving access to WASH facilities in the district.

Writer’s email: [email protected]

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