A social enterprise, Sama Sama Ghana, has inaugurated seven free handwashing stations in Tamale and Savelugu, both in the Northern Region, to help encourage regular handwashing and good personal hygiene among the people in those areas.
The handwashing stations, which are sited at vantage points in the two towns, form part of the company's efforts to help promote good hygiene in line with the protocols of the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the World Health Organisation (WHO), on curbing the spread of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
In a press statement signed by the Managing Director (MD) of Sama Sama, Mr Osei Agyeman-Buahin, and issued on March 27 in Tamale, the company said the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for the Savelugu Municipal Assembly, Hajia Ayishetu Seidu, commissioned one of the handwashing stations in Savelugu.
It said Hajia Seidu commended the company for the gesture and expressed the hope that it would help increase awareness on the need to maintain personal hygiene in the fight against the spread of COVID-19.
She said Sama Sama Ghana was a partner of the municipality in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) issues and its decision to supoort the fight against COVID-19 was furthrr evidence of the need for the private sector to collaborate with the government to help control the disease.
Ghana's journey to flatten the COVID-19 curve would be easier if we went back to the basics of sanitation, handwashing and behaviour change.
Consequently, the company said it planned to deliver a total of 100 such stations throughout the country.
The MD of Sama Sama Ghana said the stations were free and would be serviced by Sama Sama Ghana.
He said each handwashing station comprised one 650-litre water tank, soap, safe drainage and a properly protected sales agent.
He explained that the sales agent would "ensure regular cleaning and disinfection of the location".
"There will also be daily replenishment of water and other consumables and distribution of COVID-19 prevention leaflets and stickers," he added.
Mr Agyeman-Buahin said beyond the handwashing stations, the company had also started public service announcements across the northern part of the country using the various languages.
He said the radio sessions started on March 27 and would deliver quality science-based and factual information to the audience to empower Ghanaians with what was necessary to prevent COVID-19.
"These announcements will be engaging, short and regularly updated," the MD of Sama Sama said.
To help deepen social distance behaviour, the MD said Sama Sama Ghana had also launched a cashback programme for all its customers who paid through mobile money.
"Our customers simply make their monthly payment by mobile money and they get an instant cash reward.
"We hope this will improve social distancing while putting some money in our customers’ pockets.
"We are guided by the 'Sama Sama Feeling'. In good times, this represents dignity, aspiration and a brighter future for our target markets.
"In these times of uncertainty, the Sama Sama feeling stands for humaneness and empathy," he added.
Bases of involvement
Explaining the reasons behind its decision to join the COVID-19 fight, Mr Agyeman-Buahin said it was because that was the right thing to do.
"Our target markets and customer base are the most likely to be unable to access, afford or adopt the behaviours and equipment necessary to prevent or limit COVID-19.
"Indeed, how does a female street hawker adopt social distancing?
“How does a day-wage labourer feed his family during quarantine?
"How does a disabled person afford or even access gloves, face masks or sanitisers?" he asked.
About Sama Sama
Sama Sama is the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) social enterprise incubated under iDE Ghana, a non-profit organisation that operates in eight regions of Ghana (Upper East, Northern, Upper West, Volta, Oti, Bono East and Ashanti regions). It has sold more than 7,300 household toilets, employs 100 people and has raised the revenue of local entrepreneurs by more than GH¢10 million in the past two years.
With the support of Global Affairs Canada, Sama Sama leverages sanitation marketing to address the challenge of acquiring toilets in Northern Ghana and the country as a whole.
Its mother organisation, iDE, has operated in Ghana since 2009 but commenced its WASH efforts in 2016, by initiating a four-year programme to help decrease the incidence of WASH-related diseases.