- Pre-entry consensus building forums introduced
- Night community sensitization video shows
- Bye-laws enforced
- December 2020 ODF target revised to December 2019
- DCE personally involved
- 105 communities in district
- Zero ODF as at December 2015
- 53 communities officially verified as ODF as at April 2018
- 15 more communities believed have stopped open defecation pending official ODF verification as at April 2018
DBI District cruises toward the top of the ODF Districts Ladder
From ‘nowhere,’ the young Daffiama Bussie Issa (DBI) District is fast manifesting itself as an embodiment of hope in the fight against open defecation in Ghana.
As at 2015, the district could not even boast of a single open defecation-free community. Between 2016 and April 2018, however, DBI had managed to eradicate open defecation in more than 50% of its 105 communities. This is indeed a mark of strong passion, hard work and determination by the district authorities.
In a recent Annual Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Review in the Upper West Region, DBI won the Best WASH DCE, Best WASH DCD and Best Hygiene District. In view of the steady progress, the DCE has set
The CLTS programme started in the DBI District in 2012. As at December 2015, none of the 105 communities in the district had been officially declared open defecation free (ODF). The District CLTS Focal Person, Emmanuel Yobunt, says an Institutional Triggering Exercise held in the Northern Region in 2015 caused the then DCE to institute key strategic measures that started paying off immediately by achieving 15 ODFs in 2016. His successor after the 2016 general elections also sustained the good work by upholding the potentials of the CLTS approach. By April 2018, 53 communities had been verified as ODF with 15 more awaiting verification. Due to this remarkable progress, the DCE has revised the December 2020 districtwide ODF target to December 2019.
DCEs believe in the CLTS approach
The DBI District has been blessed with Chief Executives who believe in preventive rather than curative health. The immediate past DCE, Hon. Fidelis Zumakpe, Supported CLTS activities through prompt funds disbursement and field visits which resulted in the district obtaining 15 ODFs in 2016. He instilled discipline among the CLTS Team and demonstrated confidence in the Field Facilitators. He personally ensured that monitoring activities were regular and effective. He was awarded the best DCE for WASH in the Upper West Region for 2016.
The current DCE, Hon. Imoro Sandi, has also demonstrated a strong belief in the approach and has personally shown determination to rid the district of open defecation. “My district is very rural and poverty is very ripe. There are no hospitals and good roads here so I am delighted that there is a programme that has demonstrated a great potential to prevent people from falling sick in the first place.” He says. The DCE personally participates occasionally in triggering and monitoring visits. He works with his CLTS team to set targets, releases funds, and ensures that team members work to meet the set targets.
Innovative approaches introduced
The DCE and his team have introduced what they call ‘night sensitization videos’ in communities, a platform which is able to reach more people than day time community mobilization. The programme involves showing educational videos on sanitation and hygiene to complement what the facilitators do during the day. The district has also introduced the ‘pre-entry consensus-building approach.’ In this approach, chiefs and opinion leaders from earmarked communities about to be entered are convened and given prior sensitization (triggered) even before their communities are entered. Through this approach, triggering becomes easier since the core leadership would already have been triggered and they are able to support the Field Facilitators to accomplish their aim. Since 2016, the district has annually celebrated all new ODF communities during World Toilet Day on every 19th November. This also serves as motivation for other communities to be responsive to the change message against open defecation.
More ambitious targets set
DBI had set December 2020 to eliminate open defecation in the entire district in 2016. However, given the fast pace of the district’s progress, the CLTS Team, with inspiration from the DCE, has reviewed the target to 80-90% ODF by December 2018 and 100% by December 2019. Due to this challenge, the DCE and his management do not hesitate to provide resources for the CLTS team to operate.
District receiving recognition
The efforts of the DBI District has not gone unnoticed; they have been winning some prestigious awards in the Upper West Region since 2016! Hon. Fidelis Zumakpe was awarded the best WASH DCE for 2016. The current DCE, Hon. Imoro Sandi, also won the same award for 2017, while a Deputy Director also won the Best WASH DCD. The district was also voted the Best Hygiene District for 2017. The efforts of the district have also attracted increasing funding attention from partners especially UNICEF.
Confronting the challenges with larger communities
Achieving ODF in larger communities has become the albatross of most CLTS implementing districts as the approach was not originally designed for such communities. The lack of a suitable approach for large communities and cities is therefore one of the major factors militating against achievement of any districtwide ODF to date. Many districts have planned to divide larger communities into smaller sections to facilitate mobilization and localized decision-making in order to surmount this problem. DBI has been implementing this plan since 2017 and has already achieved up to 80% ODF in some of the larger communities, according to the CLTS Focal Person.
Emmanuel Yobunt achieving success with great passion
Emmanuel Yobunt is the current CLTS Focal Person in the Daffiama Bussie Issa District. He also doubles as a Field Facilitator in charge of the Bussie Area Council.
His passion, coupled with massive support and encouragement by two successive DCEs, a supportive DCD and a vibrant CLTS Team has seen the district soak in a very remarkable success story. He relates very well with Management and his CLTS Team members. His field visits and regular monitoring are backed with hunger for results. He organizes regular team meetings where they learn from each other and share ideas to confront emerging issues together.
During his less than 30 months in charge, his district has managed to achieve 53 certified ODF communities from a zero record, while fifteen more were being prepared for verification as at April 2018.
Story by Emmanuel Addai