We are proud of our freedom and dignity as a people; and we deserve to live in the cleanest environment too!


Up to the end of 2012 it was difficult to pin-point any community in Ghana where no one practised open defecation. After the stakeholder consensus to adopt and scale up the Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach through the Rural Sanitation Model and Strategy (RSMS), Ghana was set on the path – though bumpy initially, to win the anti open defecation war. As at the end of 2018, close to 3,000 rural communities and a few small towns had been officially verified as open defecation-free.

CLTS implementation is more prominent the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions where open defecation is more pronounced. The entire Northern Region for instance is almost reaching 50% ODF, while the Upper West Region is also around 40% ODF.

A few districts are in the frontline of CLTS achievement. They include Nandom, Daffiama Bussie Issa, Lawra, Wa West in the Upper West Region; Mion and Tatale Sanguli in the Northern Region; Garu in the Upper East, Kadjebi and Kpando in the Volta Region. In fact the Nandom and Tatale Sanguli Districts are so close to districtwide ODF and any of them can be officially declared as such by the end of year.

In November 2017, the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources, with support from UNICEF and Canada, launched the ODF Ghana Campaign to promote a social norm of stopping open defecation and always using a toilet.

What is not interesting to hear is that whereas the regions in northern Ghana managed to reduce OD rates drastically between 2011 and 2018, other regions registered significant increases. Consequently, between 2011 and 2018, OD rates fell by only 1% from 23% to 22% (Ref to adjacent table).

This is the more reason why you and I have to intensify our resolve to end open defecation in Ghana now. What action have you taken?

Estimated number of ODF Communities nationwide (Nov 2019)

Regional Open Defecation Rates