The Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) Sanitation and Water Project is to provide 150 modern toilet facilities in the GAMA and the Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Area by 2024.
Mr. Emmanuel Addai, Knowledge Management Expert, at GAMA Sanitation and Water Project, disclosing this said the World Bank funded project, which was supposed to end in 2020, was extended to 2024.
He said the project under the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources was also upscaled to cover the Greater Kumasi Area with Metropolitan and Municipal Assemblies being the direct implementers of the project.
Mr. Addai stated at the commemoration of the 2023 World Water Day organized by the Media Coalition against Open Defecation (M-CODe) in collaboration with the Ghana News Agency-Tema Regional Office.
The M-CODe commemoration of the 2023 World Water Day was on the theme: “Let’s Kill Open Defecation today! before it Kills us tomorrow.”
It forms part of the national “M-CODe 2023 Anti-Open Defecation Nationwide Advocacy” which is a relentless national campaign aimed at ending the practice of defecating in the open rather than in a toilet.
Mr. Addai said out of the 150 school toilets, the Greater Accra area would get 30 while the Kumasi area was entitled to receive 120, explaining that the Greater Accra area already benefitted from the initial project, which commenced in 2014.
He said out of the total 150, currently 60 had been completed and would be handed over to the beneficiary schools, adding that the remaining would be delivered by the end of the project in 2024.
He explained that the delay of constructing the facilities was mostly due to land issues, environmental, and design, among others, as according to him, the actual construction could be done within two months after sorting out those issues.
He noted that the provision of school toilets was in line with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) six, which emphasised water and sanitation, and SDG four which covered improved learning environments, including health and sanitation.
Mr. Addai indicated that the facilities, including the households’ ones, aimed at reducing open defecation in the country and particularly in schools, especially public basic schools, inculcate in children the habit of always using a toilet, and minimize possible outbreaks of diseases and preventable infections in schools.
The school toilet facilities, he said, had separate toilet rooms for males, females, and teachers, as well as changing, and shower rooms for females, water closet toilets and septic tanks, squat plate toilets for easy access to pupils with disabilities, and disability-friendly access.
Other features are hand-washing basins, storage rooms for storing toiletries, cleaning materials and tools, water storage tanks, and waste bins as well as boreholes for schools that do not have access to water.
Mr Francis Ameyibor, M-CODe National Convenor, said water has a significant relationship with toilet as open defecation affected water bodies… “toilets find their way into water bodies and in turn, people drink it.”.
Mr Ameyibor who is also the GNA Tema Regional Manager said open defecation was a health hazard that needed to be tackled head-on.
He called on media houses and personalities, traditional leaders, presiding members of assemblies, regional coordinating councils to join M-CODE in fight against the practice.
Mr Joseph Korto, National Dean of Presiding Members, and Presiding Member of the Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA), on his part, gave the assurance that intensified education on the need for household toilets and intensifies the fight against open defecation.