The Awutu Senya District Assembly (ASDA) has taken steps to clear unauthorized dumpsites in three communities and would deal with two more in the coming months.
The beneficiary communities are Bawjiase-Asempanyin, Mankessim and Adawukwa.
Asempanyin was noted to have received a new skip container from the Assembly whereas the construction of a shared toilet facility to mitigate open defecation is underway on the reclaimed Mankessim dumpsite.
At a district-level stakeholders’ coordinating meeting held in Awutu Beraku, the actors agreed that while some progress had been made, further intra-coordination, buoyed by adequate budgetary support and logistics would be required to deal with the burgeoning sanitation and hygiene issues afflicting the more than 150 communities in the District.
The meeting was organized by Intervention Forum (IF), a non-governmental organization (NGO), under the Voice for Change Partnership (V4CP) programme in collaboration with ASDA.
It was held to take stock of actions taken by district actors to address the emerging sanitation issues of the 2017 stakeholders’ coordination meeting to deliberate on key issues of financing, intra-collaboration and capacity building to deal with current sanitation and hygiene issues.
Representatives from the ASDA, comprising the District Environmental Health Unit, Department of Community Development, Ghana Education Service, National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Information Services Department, Urban and Area Council representatives, among others, attended the meeting.
The stakeholders reviewed some emerging issues, prior commitments and actions taken by the key departments to deal with sanitation and hygiene issues.
They also discussed matters relating to the achievement of an open defecation-free (ODF) society in the Central Region by 2019.
Crucial to the agreed targets is the crafting of bye-laws by ASDA and its subsequent approval and gazetting to deal with sanitation offenders, capacity building and strengthening of Area Councils to effectively deal with sanitation and hygiene issues.
Towards these objectives, the meeting stressed the necessity to rope in traditional heads, private financial institutions, churches and Islamic bodies to help finance sustainable sanitation access, waste disposal and allied matters.
Generally, the stakeholders agreed that the ASDA had done quite well in tackling various issues and meeting timelines for some citizens’ requests and commitments rendered during the 2017 stakeholders’ coordination meeting but said there was still room for improvement.
The meeting agreed to the need to sensitize the communities to embrace and take initiative in constructing household toilets instead of looking to the Assembly to provide community ones.
To this end, the stakeholders stressed that it was important to offer expertise to the communities to construct household toilets.
Mr. Stephen Kwame Quaye, District Chief Executive, commended the V4CP initiative for the good work it had so far done in terms of evidence-based advocacy to ensure improved sanitation and hygiene in the district.
He informed the participants that the assembly was in the process of acquiring a 30-acre land for use as a final disposal site and was due to meet an investor to convert the huge volumes of waste generated in the district and even beyond into something useful.
Mr Quaye also lauded the idea of giving the citizens the much needed education and expertise to construct their household toilets, urging the stakeholders to come together to build consensus on the way forward.
“We are putting something together. Let us take our citizens through training to facilitate our dealing with the sanitation and hygiene situation in our communities. Whatever knowledge we acquire here must be communicated to area council and unit committee members,” he said, adding that with a little push from IF, the Assembly had been able to do a lot.
He assured the participants that he was behind them and would do whatever he could to push ASDA to the next level.
In a presentation, Mr Isaac Owusu, IF official, took the gathering through key 2018 activities so far undertaken in its V4CP project at both the district and national levels.
This covered focus group discussions to determine baselines on citizens’ perception on sanitation service delivery by ASDA and Zoomlion through the use of community score cards with expanded criteria in March 2018.
It also included interface meetings to share and validate result of citizens’ scorecard assessments in relation to sanitation and hygiene by ASDA.
Mr Owusu also touched on one-on-one meetings with key ASDA staff and Zoomlion on emerging sanitation and hygiene issues as well as capacity-building workshops for district and sub-district actors on the Rural Sanitation Model Strategy.
He said IF had also organized capacity training for MMDA officials on Results-based Monitoring and Evaluation as well as strengthened the capacity of the Municipal Sanitation and Hygiene Advocacy Teams.
Mr Owusu again mentioned other meetings and conferences on sanitation and hygiene at the national level as well as Alliance for WASH Advocacy meetings, among others.
The District Environmental Health Officer, Mr John Kwasi Gavi, listed various activities he and his team had undertaken towards triggering open defecation-free (ODF) statuses in some eleven communities by 2019, but observed that more needed to be done to achieve this target.
He listed problems they encountered as inadequate funds, lack of a vehicle and the absence of bye-laws to deal with sanitation and hygiene offenders.
Mr Gavi said ASDA was hoping to secure external financial support to continue the implementation of its Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) project to deal with the problem of open defecation.
Calls were made by IF on the need for the Assembly to pursue night time sanitation enforcement and make provisions for night-time revenue mobilisation to augment its internally generated funds (IGF).
IF also called for stronger collaboration from all the stakeholders to deal with the issue of sanitation and hygiene problems affecting the communities.