Today, 19th November, is World Toilet Day. Ghanaian authorities have chosen Kumasi as the venue for the national commemoration and this is for a reason!
The Construction phase of the Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Area Sanitation and Water Project will be launched as a major highlight of the national commemoration. This is partly because open defecation is still rampant in the one-time Garden City of West Africa. While many other regions are doing everything possible to reduce and possibly end open defecation, there seems to be no clear plan for Kumasi to do same.
A recent study by the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources in the Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Area revealed that a whopping 51% of over 7,000 houses sampled did not have any form of toilet, while 6% of the ones that have toilet were non-functional.
Majority of the people in Kumasi therefore resort to the use of public toilets, most of which that are not even clean and hygienic enough, while many people even have to queue for several minutes before they can access them. Those who cannot withstand the stench on public toilets or the amount of time to queue to get access therefore resort to open defecation.
This situation is not befitting of the second largest city in Ghana and the one-time Garden City. The dignity of citizens largely must also reflect in their defecation and hygiene practices and the absence of toilets at homes in Greater Kumasi is indeed affecting the respect and dignity that the people of Kumasi deserve.
It is in the light of this that the Media Coalition Against Open Defecation (M-CODe) is happy for the people in and around Kumasi because the Government has managed to obtain funding to extend the successful GAMA Sanitation and Water Project to the city. The Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Area (GKMA) Project presents the greatest opportunity for the people, as the government has absorbed as much as 70% of the cost of a decent household toilet.
While the project targets 30,000 toilets over the next three years, M-CODe wishes to encourage every qualified household to seize the opportunity to even get more than the target number.
“Every city or town in Ghana would wish to have this opportunity so if Kumasi has been chosen today, the choice is theirs to take now,” says Emmanuel Addai, Convener of M-CODe.
M-CODe further commends the Government of Ghana, through the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources, for managing to secure additional financing to extend the GAMA Project to Kumasi.
This is because the Ashanti Region is among the few regions that have lacked support from development partners with regards to the provision of sanitation and drinking water services to marginalized communities. M-CODe further commends the GAMA Project Staff, whose creativity, selflessness and
Contact us through the Convenor: professionalism let to a successful project implementation in Accra, providing lessons and justification for replication in other places in the country.
M-CODe, however, recommends further government action on securing more funding to extend or replicate the project in all other cities as early as possible.
This is because cities and larger communities have proven to be the most difficult when it comes to fighting open defecation. For the fight against open defecation to succeed, therefore, government must persistently provide similar opportunities such as the GAMA and GKMA Sanitation and Water Projects in every city.
This way, while the Rural Sanitation Model is gaining grounds in rural settlements, urban settlements would not be left out.
M-CODe, through our branch in the Ashanti Region in particular, will keenly follow how the GKMA project implementation will go and support its successful implementation through media advocacy and visibility.
Kumasi, this is your time to prove to the world that with a little support, you can make a difference. Grab this opportunity, get yourself a toilet and stop open defecation now.
As a backgrounder!
The Media Coalition Against Open Defecation (M-CODe) is an inter-institutional effort to fight open defecation in whatever form and promote the use of household toilets in Ghana. This is against the background that open defecation is the cause of most preventable OPD cases in the country and the main cause of cholera, typhoid, and many other diarrheal illnesses. As a society, open defecation also affects the dignity of Ghanaians as a decent people and can also affect the potential gains from tourism.
Formed in September, 2018, M-CODe has been partnering with like-minded institutions to step up