Bawa Emmanuel is one of the strongest pillars behind the success of the Wa West District in ridding scores of communities of open defecation. As at April 2018, his team had made as many as 112 communities open defecation-free since the CLTS programme started in 2012.
In charge of the Wecheau Area Council, Bawa has also personally contributed by converting more than 20 communities to open defecation-free (ODF) status. He was adjudged the Upper West Regional best CLTS Focal Person for 2017 during the Annual Regional WASH Review organized by the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA).
Bawa was appointed the District CLTS Focal person in 2013. With active support from his District Environmental Health Officer and the then District Chief Executive who demonstrated tremendous interest in the approach, Bawa approached the task with development of a strong team spirit among his colleagues. The team meets every month to review progress and support each other to resolve emerging challenges. They also use the platform to share lessons from the field and learn from each other.
To ensure that entire communities become open defecation-free (ODF) to the benefit of all, Bawa and his team mobilize community support for the poor and vulnerable to also construct their latrines after everyone is convinced of the need to stop open defecation. He and members of his team do not even mind participating in digging of latrines for households that have challenges digging or that are simply delaying progress.
Even though various members of his team have been tasked with specific Area Councils or Electoral Areas, Bawa sometimes decides to swap his Field Facilitators to introduce fresh faces and fresh ideas in various communities and area councils as a strategy to reduce monotony and boredom. This approach has helped to equip his team members with a broader knowledge base across different geographical and cultural settings, contributing to improved progress.
His district has therefore challenged itself with a target of declaring a district-wide open defecation-free status by the end of 2020.
“I believe we can do it. It has even taken us too long mostly because of logistical challenges. But as more and more communities are stopping open defecation now, I believe always using a toilet will become the norm in this district soon and we may not even have to bother much in the near future,” says Bawa.