Nandom District in the Upper West Region has received financial and technical support to push for a total open defecation free (ODF) status by August this year.
The district currently has a 91 per cent ODF coverage, with only eight out of 258 communities yet to become ODF.
If the 100 per cent ODF target is achieved, it would make Nandom the first district across the country to attain a full ODF status.
A total of 163,676 people have gained access to improved sanitation (toilets), while 250 communities in the district have become ODF at the end of a major drive in the district.
At a Sustainable Sanitation and Hygiene for All (SSH4A) results programme in Nandom, the local district assembly was joined by key stakeholders – including the Ghana Health Service – and development partner and major benefactor SNV – the Netherlands Development Organisation – to renew their commitment to the effort to end open defecation in the district.
The sharing and learning event was on “Making Nandom ODF, setting the pace for Ghana towards national ODF”, a theme that projected the abysmal reality of widespread open defecation across Ghana.
Country Programme Coordinator for SNV, Eric Banye, said Nandom had demonstrated commitment to the programme, and had emerged as the best district in the drive to attain ODF in the country.
He said even though the SSH4A project officially ended in 2017, SNV was impressed by the high level of stakeholder commitment and the overall performance of the district towards attaining ODF, hence the decision to support the district to become the first in the country to achieve district-wide ODF status.
“SNV is making 100 per cent commitment technically, financially and capacity-wise to ensure Nandom attains ODF and becomes the pace setter in the country,” Mr Banye said.
He said the ultimate interest was not just the joy of attaining ODF status in the district but to attract other development interventions in education, agriculture, health, among others.
He added that achieving district-wide ODF status would make Nandom a reference point for other development interventions, and appealed to chiefs and other traditional authorities and natural leaders to show another level of high commitment to help the remaining eight communities to attain ODF status.
District Chief Executive for Nandom, Aangsoglenang Arkum Thadeus, commended SVN and its funding partners for the support and guidance in the effort to become an ODF district, a feat that had the district the best in Upper West Region and the seventh in the whole country.
He appealed to the people of the district to work harder towards the 100 per cent target by August.
Mr Solomon Mbewe, Country Programme Lead, SSH4A, Zambia, said it was time for the political and traditional authorities to get involved at the community level to enable the district cover the remaining nine per cent ODF deficit.
The SSH4A Results Programme is a multi-country programme being implemented by SNV with funding from UKAID.
In Ghana, the project was implemented in eight districts between 2014 and March 2018.
The project goal is to aid communities and districts in accelerating sanitation and hygiene improvement that will contribute to achieving the relevant Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) targets.