What is the Open Defecation-Free Ghana Campaign?
The Open Defecation-Free Ghana Campaign, often referred to as the ODF Ghana Campaign is a national partnership between government and civil society organizations in Ghana to campaign for a stop to open defecation in Ghana. At the same time, the campaign aims to promote the construction and use of household toilets as against the supply of communal toilets to communities.
About The Campaign
In terms of access to basic sanitation, however, Ghana has a lot to worry about. All data sources point to a very negative situation. The beautiful country by most standards suddenly drops below its pride of a lower middle-income country status and joins the ten worst performing countries in the world, with only 15% of its population using improved household toilets. About 37% of the people are compelled to use public toilets, which are generally in poor condition. Worst of all, more than five million people practise open defecation, resulting in most of the country’s beaches, drains, bushes, and some potential tourist sites heavily polluted with human faeces. The Northern and Upper East Regions for instance have open defecation rates as high as about 70% of their respective populations. The impact is that almost every year there is a cholera outbreak, while close to 20,000 people die of diarrhoea annually. Economically, the country loses about $290 million every year due to poor management of the country’s sanitation.
Although a lot of efforts to improve on the country’s basic sanitation situation is on-going in communities throughout the country, the pace in especially getting more households to own toilets and making more communities to stop open defecation is dead slow. This is because between 1990 and 2015 access to improved household toilets increased from 8% to only 15%, while proportion of the population that practise open defecation reduced from 22% to 19%.
Worried by this state of affairs, the Government of Ghana, with support from its partners, is embarking on a massive nationwide sensitization campaign to highlight the dangers of poor sanitation and also the benefits of living in a sanitized environment, draw attention of public institutions and private businesses to opportunities in investing in sanitation. It is within this broad sanitation ambition that the ODF Ghana Campaign is anchored.
MAIN CAMPAIGN OBJECTIVE
REACHING OUR VISION
- Consolidate the change in people’s personal attitudes towards and beliefs about open defecation.
- Support actions that seek to engage people in collective discussions and decisions to end open defecation.
- Highlight collective discussions and decisions at all levels thereby heightening normative expectations that Ghanaians no longer approve of open defecation and would frown on the practice.
- Support the imposition of social sanctions on those who go against the new dispensation of ‘No Open Defecation.’
- Develop empirical expectations of people constructing latrines and using them finally resulting in empirical evidence that a new social norm has been created and has come to stay in Ghana.
CAMPAIGNING AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL
CAMPAIGNING AT THE DISTRICT LEVEL
CAMPAIGNING AT THE REGIONAL LEVEL
CAMPAIGNING AT THE COMMUNITY LEVEL
The ODF Ghana Campaign is for a duration of one year with possible extension after the first year. Once there is a sign of good progress during the first year, the campaign may be sustained until the whole country is open defecation-free (ODF).
The Campaign is supervised by a National Steering Committee made up of senior officials from the Sector Ministries, UNICEF and other partners. There is also a national Advisory Council made up of highly nationally respected personalities with demonstrated interest in sanitation issues. In addition, there are Sanitation Champions from national to district levels, who seize every opportunity to disseminate campaign messages. The campaign is also linked up with the on-going national Rural Sanitation (Promotion) Model, which adopts the Community-led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach. This is where actual field-based operations take place by way of communities taking a collective decision to stop open defecation, and indeed constructing and using latrines at the household level.