New Energy, a Nongovernmental organization (NGO), has engaged stakeholders in the East Gonja Municipal Assembly on the sanitation and hygiene situation for improved health living among residents.
The forum paved way for the Assembly to give an account on the state of sanitation and hygiene for the year 2019 and highlighted its activities, achievements, challenges and roadmap for the way forward.
It was part of the World Toilet Day 2019 event commemorated on the theme: "Leaving No One Behind".
Community representatives, Civil Society Organisations, heads of departments, business men and women among others participated in the forum organized under the NGO's Voice for Change (V4C) project with funding from SNV, the Netherlands Development Organization.
The V4C project aims at intensifying the voice of CSOs and the citizenry to demand equitable and sustainable sanitation and hygiene services as well as improved policy implementation at the local assembly levels.
Mrs Nayilatu Iddrisu, the Chief Executive Officer for New Energy, encouraged stakeholders and citizens to rise and bring to the notice of the Assembly critical sanitation and hygiene issues affecting various communities.
She also urged the private sector to intensify their engagement with the Assembly to help create favourable business ambience for affordable, equitable, sustainable sanitation and hygiene service delivery.
Alhaji Osman Sumani, the Project Officer for New Energy, was hopeful the forum would enlighten citizens on the importance of practicing good sanitation and the need to establish toilet facilities in their households.
He said the New Energy was driven by the sustainable development goals and V4C delivery to carry out its advocacy agenda.
He said through the advocacy it has built capacities of members of communities and assemblies in West and East Gonja, in addition to private sector players to work together to ensure improved sanitation and hygiene.
According to him, the organization has formed District Sanitation and Advocacy teams that would be engaging the Assembly to set agenda on sanitation and hygiene related issues such as ensuring Open Defecation Free in communities.
Mr Sumani added that even though some communities had obtained ODF status in 2019 in the East Gonja Municipality, management of the Assembly, needed to put in more efforts to help improve on the situation.
Mr Thomas Mungani, the East Gonja Municipal Development Planning Officer, lauded efforts by New Energy, UNICEF, USAID and others for helping to improve sanitation.
He said with the implementation of the Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) programme in the Municipality, 113 rural communities achieved ODF out of 168 rural communities targeted for the ODF in 2019.
He added that about 2,596 hand washing facilities had been established in rural communities.
While 249 males and 111 females had also been trained as Community Technical Volunteers (CTV) in the municipality through the implementation of sanitation marketing with about 1,487 Latrines constructed in the area by the CTVs.
He indicated some challenges affecting sanitation which non-availability and enforcement of sanitation by-laws, scarcity of water, especially during dry seasons, difficulty in crossing the lake to overseas communities among others that hampered the CLTS programme.