No matter where you live or where you work, you can take an action to help Ghana eliminate open defecation. In fact the success of the campaign depends on YOU so take an action now!
The role you can play
What a President of Ghana and the Executive can do
The President of Ghana is a very powerful personality whose pronouncements usually have far reaching implications on the whole country. Once a President makes eradication of open defecation in Ghana a top priority, he/she can really make a big impact. The current President, when launching the Clean Ghana Campaign in November 2017, indicated that every Minister, Chief Executive and Director of Government Departments would be held accountable if the directive to engage Sanitation Marshals in every department is not complied with. He also indicated that he would be directly involved in monitoring activities of the National Sanitation Campaign to ensure that goals are attained and, with the Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation, review the campaign on quarterly basis, each Metropolitan/Municipal/District Assembly and publish the report. If the current and every future President is able to do this, it will indeed make Ghana very clean and healthy.
Key messages for the President and the Executive
- Productivity will forever be low in every sector once the people are not fully healthy mostly because of open defecation.
- Eradicating open defecation will save Ghana at least $79 million dollars each year, in addition to the returns on improved health, tourism, education and overall productivity.
What a Lawmaker can do
The Legislature needs to enact and publicize prohibitive laws on open defecation both at national and local government levels. Strict laws at the Local Government level for instance can make very great impacts in communities. The Legislature can, for instance, enact laws to empower the Sanitation Brigade established for the National Sanitation Campaign to enable them to act more firmly on the field.
Key message for the Legislature
- Every law works for the good of the country but good sanitation laws work for the health, wealth, dignity and pride of the people.
What a Legal Practitioner can do
The Judiciary is the main partner in enforcing laws in society. Therefore the way they handle open defecation-related offences can contribute to causing the necessary change.
Key message for the Judiciary
- Open defecation kills just as murderers also kill. It is therefore important to treat open defecation offences with seriousness close to murder.
What a King or a Chief can do
Traditional rulers in Ghana wield a lot of influence over their subjects. They are able to make bye-laws at their own level and set up their own courts and make rulings. In hundreds of rural areas, village chiefs have been able to ban open defecation in their communities. If every chief should aim at stopping open defecation in their communities, they whole country can be open defection-free within a very short period.
Key message for Traditional Rulers
- Visitors judge your people by the look of their environment. Communities with human faeces spread anywhere have little or no respect from visitors.
What a Religious Leader can do
About 95% of Ghanaians are believed to be religious and belonging to particular religious groupings. If religious leaders decide to campaign against open defecation to their followers, at least 95% of Ghanaians will be receiving the campaign messages. Christians and Muslims dominate the religious space in Ghana and luckily enough, both the Bible and Quran have principles that frown upon open defecation and both believe that cleanliness is next to Godliness. Religious Leaders can therefore make open defecation one of the core teaching and preaching themes.
Key message for Religious Leaders
- Cleanliness is next to Godliness. Angels of God flee from filthy people.
What a Journalist can do
The media has been doing very well in reporting and publishing features on open defecation in recent years. However, they can improve by setting an agenda against open defecation, which is yet to enjoy the needed time and space in the mass media. There is a claim from a section of the mass media that sanitation sector institutions have not created the needed partnership arrangements with them in their programmatic interventions. But it is also possible for the media to develop its own open defecation interventions and seek partnership with sanitation-related institutions for implementation.
Key message to the media
- Improved sanitation holds the key to the country’s social and economic development and defines how outsiders perceive us.
What an academic can do
In addition to research work, professors and teachers have a great deal of influence over the youth of Ghana. In addition to formal academic training on environmental sanitation, there could be serious sensitization of the youth against open defecation as is currently done with the School Health Education Programme (SHEP) of the Ghana Education Service. It should not be limited to voluntary school health clubs but rather involve everybody.
Key message to the academia
- There is no way an effective intellectual training will contribute graduates who practice open defecation.
What a Businessman can do
It is believed that the moment business-minded people see the ‘gold’ in household sanitation, Ghana’s problems especially with open defecation would be more than 80% solved. In some countries, human faeces is seen as a commodity with great economic value. In addition to the faeces as commodity, there are several services such as provision of toilet facilities and/or their accessories, financing facilities, provision of professional services, sewage systems, transport services and a lot more. What about opportunities in corporate social responsibilities?
Key message to business-minded people
- There are great business and money-making opportunities in the fight against open defecation and the provision of household latrines.
What Professional Associations, Trade Unions and Social Clubs can do
The moment a number of individuals come together to form an association or a club, they develop a deeper and louder voice. They can use their collective bargaining power to make demands on authorities for action. Associations and clubs can campaign against open defecation through sensitization of their own members, and also organizing public/community sensitization events, in addition to influencing local and traditional authorities to take the necessary measures to curb open defecation.
Key message to Associations
- What will it serve us when after gaining everything for our members they are killed or choked by an environment heavily polluted with human faeces?
What can a head of institution or an entity do?
Heads of institutions or entities MUST always ensure that there are toilet facilities within the premises where the staff and any visitor or client can use. This includes educational and health institutions as well as market places, company offices, shopping centres, shops, restaurants and bars, workshops etc.
Key message for heads of institutions
- Lack of a toilet at the workplace heavily affects productivity and returns if staff or clients should have to look for toilets or bushes outside to defecate.
What can a landlord do?
It is a responsibility for every landlord to provide a toilet for every household in his/her house. Failure to provide a toilet in the house is a punishable offence in the building code. If every landlord provides a toilet in his/her house, open defecation can reduce close to zero.
Key message for landlords
- If every landlord had a toilet in their houses as I do, there would be minimal or no open defecation in Ghana.
What can YOU do?
You MUST adopt a habit of always using a toilet and refraining from practising open defecation. The moment every individual uses only a toilet, open defecation will be zero! If you are a prospective tenant, please insist on renting ONLY apartments or rooms in houses with an improved toilet. If every tenant does this, most landlords will be compelled to install toilets in their houses. If you have the chance to call radio/TV stations, raise alarm of the threat of open defecation in areas around you.
Key message for YOU
If every individual uses a toilet as I do, there would be absolutely no open defecation in the whole of Ghana!