- Area-wide targeting
- Identifying and building leaders
- Monitoring and evaluation
- leaving no one behind
- Passionate and selfless CLTS Team
- Supportive district management
- 19 ODF communities as at 2016
- 84 ODF communities as at Sept 2018
- 95% ODF achievement
- 100% rural ODF
- Only 4 communities left
- 1st on Regional ODF League in 2017 and 2018
What makes Nandom the hottest district-wide ODF favorite
If there is any district in Ghana with the brightest chance of declaring 100% open defecation-free, it is Nandom, which, as at September 2018, had only four communities to overcome. As at June 2016, only 19 communities in the district had been verified as ODF, according to data from the Upper West Regional Coordinating Council. By September, 2018, the district had made 84 out of the 88 communities ODF.
This overwhelming success has largely been attributed to SNV’s Sustainable Sanitation and Hygiene for All (SSH4A) Project, which has been supporting the district since 2014. The project focuses on developing the actors’ capacity for more effective service delivery in rural sanitation and hygiene to achieve full coverage in their districts and promotes area-wide targeting interventions to provide leverage for scale. UNICEF and Care have also previously played various roles in getting Nandom ODF.
From just 19 ODF communities as at June 2016, Nandom jumped into the limelight in 2017 as one of the hottest potentials to achieve district-wide ODF in the country at any moment, a status it still occupies as at September 2018. Available information from the Upper West Regional Coordinating Council indicates that 84 out of the 88 (95%) communities in the district were ODF as at the end of September 2018. The remaining four communities were just sections within the Nandom town, the district capital, which had to be divided into smaller units for easier facilitation. All the rural communities in the district had been verified as ODF.
Passionate CLTS team
The District Environmental Health Officer (DEHO), Jerry Sobogu, says his team has refused to sleep in recent months especially when the positive signs of success started to show. “We spend whole days in communities trying to achieve a target before we leave there,” he says. He said it was quite soothing when their district placed first on the Regional Inter-District ODF League Table in 2017. The same year, the Nandom District came 7th nationwide on the District League Table and it became evident that the number of CLTS communities in the district was a major contributory factor. These encouraging achievements therefore became a major source of motivation for the district’s CLTS team to go for the ultimate. Coupled with incredible support and encouragement from district management, the district just kept going and again in 2018, Nandom maintained its first position on the Inter-District League Table.
The SSH4A project, which is supporting the district, promotes area wide targeting for district wide ODF attainment. The entire district is the focus and wide areas are selected and triggered. Area Councils and Electoral Areas were therefore used as units for service delivery. The practice of fragmented service delivery was defeated and it gave way to investing more resources in one wide area at a time. This, according to a presentation on the SSH4A project at a Sanitation Stocktaking Forum in Kumasi in July 2018, was the strategy that the project adopts in all eight countries where the project is being implemented. It is therefore believed that the strategy was a perfect one for the Nandom environment.
Monitoring and evaluation
Authorities in the Nandom District believes strongly in the power of monitoring and evaluation. In a presentation on the district in Kumasi in July 2018, it was learnt that Monitoring and Evaluation of both processes and results led them to more specific targeting of the communities they were working with. As a result, they were able to identify core information for project decision-making, focus on access and use, and monitor vulnerable groups as well.
Identification of key leaders and making them responsible for key interventions was one of the strongest pillars of CLTS implementation in the district. The strategy is also supported by incentivising the system through the use of ODF league tables and public awards. One of the most important breakthroughs of this leadership identification pillar was the identification of the Nandom Na, Dr Charles Puo-Uure Puobekyiir VII, the Paramount Chief of the Nandom Traditional Area himself. The influential chief tasked all the Chiefs and Queen Mothers in the area to ensure that every household in their respective communities, constructs and uses a toilet. He also set performance in CLTS as a necessary criterion for the promotion of chiefs in the area. The chief also regularly contributes to radio discussions on open defecation. It is strongly believed that the chief’s intervention is a major contributory factor to Nandom’s overall ODF success.
The CLTS implementation team believes in pro-poor targeting. Strategies for reaching the segments of people being left behind were developed to identify who they were, where they were, what their needs were, and how they could be served. In collaboration with the various community level structures, no households were left behind in accessing latrines, paving the way for ODF declaration.
The last hurdle
A last hurdle that Nandom is currently contending with before it can deservingly receive the crown is how to overcome some four smaller sections of the district capital – Nandom. The communities are located within Nandom, an urban community, where household toilets must meet a minimum national standard. There are, however, a few households within these communities that find it difficult to invest in a standard latrine. It is at the same time sensitive to just go in with subsidies to support them except through a well-managed communication strategy so that those who have already had to foot their full bill may not feel ‘cheated.’ “Cracking the whip through enforcement of bye laws are also sometimes sensitive due to the seemingly genuine living conditions of the households concerned,” says a regional environmental health official.
District authorities and their partners are still working out a strategy to deal with the last hurdle and hopefully wear the crown by the end of the year.
Story by Emmanuel Addai