UNICEF's ODF campaign plants footprints in schools

Monday 21st January, 2019
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By Samuel Akumatey, GNA

Ho, Jan. 21, GNA - The Anti Open Defecation social norms campaign has placed brightly coloured concrete footprints to mark the way from toilets to wash facilities in selected basic schools in the Volta Region.

The footprints, in red, gold and green colours, are to "teach and remind pupils on wash", Mrs Aba Degraft Johnson told the Ghana News Agency when she led a team of environmental and sanitation officers, and social norms ambassadors on an activation tour of Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) implementing districts in the region.

She told school children that prioritising proper hand washing with soap formed the best wall against diseases and urged them to make use of simple wash facilities like tippy taps.

School children were activated with slogans such as "One home one toilet", and "Stop Open Defecation" and were asked to encourage their parents to provide toilets at home and help ensure best sanitary practices.

Social norms ambassadors were also activated at the district levels to engage communities.

The campaign is funded by UNICEF and the Government of Ghana and employs extensive sensitisation programmes including audio visual presentations, and role plays in schools, places of worship and market centres.

Mr Peter Pariki-Kwashie, Regional CLTS focal person, said the efforts have been directed at ensuring that all households have personal toilets, and that the drive relied on behavourial change which was being worked on by the social norms campaigns.

He said the CLTS encouraged Village Savings and Loans Associations and communities to put resources together for the construction of home toilet facilities.

The team also launched ODF campaign at Kpoeta Kpodzi in the Ho West District of the Volta Region to help ensure total sanitation by encouraging community members to own household toilets.

The border community of 80 households has 20 toilet facilities prior to its Community Led Total Sanitation triggering in November 2018, and since added six more.

Mrs Degraft Johnson said "we need to end open defecation. We end up eating our own faeces and expose ourselves to diseases when we defecate in the open.”

She said it is important for the campaign to be extended to the whole community and urged people to join forces and help each other to own household toilets to promote total sanitation in the farming community.

Mr Richard Degboe of the Ho West Environmental Health Office said the number of toilets springing up since the triggering was low and expressed hope that the social norms campaign would encourage more to build home latrines.

He said public latrines were not well managed and spreading diseases, thus being discouraged and called on the Assembly to review its by-laws to prosecute households that refuse to build personal toilets.

Members of the community pledged to increase household toilets and wash facilities towards attaining ODF status soon.

GNA