The Upper West Regional Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee on Sanitation (RICCS) has observed that the active involvement of community leaders in the campaign against Open Defecation (OD) is necessary for achieving the needed results.
It said the active interest and involvement of the community and opinion leaders coupled with the availability of community sanitation bylaws compelled the people to construct and use household latrines.
That was evident after the RICCS conducted Open Defecation Free (ODF) verification in 22 communities in the Jirapa and Nadowli-Kaleo Districts, which saw 100 per cent of the communities (21 out of the 22 communities) securing above the 85 per cent pass to attain ODF status.
Apart from other ODF verification indicators on the Basic Sanitation Information System (BaSIS) that qualified the 21 communities, there was evidence of active participation of the community leaders in the ODF advocacy.
The Baapare community in the Jirapa Municipality was the only community that failed
the RICCS ODF verification because there was evidence of OD in that community.
Mr Agambire Alhassan Inusah, the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer of the Upper West Regional Environmental Health and Sanitation Department, therefore, encouraged traditional leaders to lead the ODF campaign in their respective communities.
Mr Doodaa Dakurah, the Chief of the Mwofo community in the Jirapa Municipality, said he was happy that the Mwofo community passed the verification.
He said that was because of the role he played coupled with the activeness of the Environmental Health Officers at the Jirapa Municipal office in encouraging the people in the community to construct and use household latrines.
At the Kakalazu community in the Nadowli-Kaleo District, Mr Fanuba Kuupene, the Community-led Total Sanitation (CLTS) Natural Leader for that community, said he would ensure that the community did not relapse since they had realised the importance of owning and using the latrine.
‘Everybody in this community has a toilet
and we are all using it. They all know the importance of having a toilet.
Nobody’s toilet has collapsed but I have let them know that anytime the toilet collapses they must rebuild it,’ he explained.
Mr Kuupene said the community members no longer compete with reptiles in the bush to attend to nature’s call.
He said, ‘It is very comfortable using a toilet because you don’t have to go into the bush in the night where a snake can bite you.’
Currently, 836 communities out of 1,168 communities in the Upper West Region have attained ODF status.
Source: Ghana News Agency