Nov 2018: Tit bits about the ODF Ghana Campaign

Nov 2018: Tit bits about the ODF Ghana Campaign

In this edition…

A week after HE the President of Ghana launched the National Sanitation Campaign in November, 2017, the Ministry for Sanitation and Water Resources, with support from UNICEF and Canada, launched the Open Defecation-Free Ghana component of the campaign. This edition of the Toilet Agenda shares with readers, how the campaign is structured and being implemented, where it is concentrated and why there should be a national scale up.


Open defecation is still very high in Ghana with about 5.7 million people engaged in the practice, representing 19% of the current population estimate of 29 million by the Ghana Statistical Service. By far, the only known major sanitation intervention that targets eradication of open defecation in entire communities is the Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) and the implementation of the Rural Sanitation Model and Strategy (RSMS). Since the launch of the RSMS in 2012, a few regions and districts have had remarkable achievements in stopping open defecation in several (mainly rural) communities, while others seem to have achieved relatively little success. Since there is currently no published recent national survey data that captures open defecation (the latest being the 2014 GDHS by the Ghana Statistical Service), it is difficult to estimate how much CLTS has contributed toward reducing open defecation in Ghana. However, some Regional Coordinating Councils do have very current information on the number of communities that have attained an ODF status especially through the implementation of CLTS and the RSMS. What remains officially known worldwide, however, remains that the rate of reduction in open defecation in Ghana is very slow.

To complement the contribution of the CLTS approach to ending open defecation in Ghana and hasten the pace of progress, the MSWR launched the ODF Ghana Campaign (also referred to as the Sanitation Social Norms Campaign) in 2017.

Campaign goals and objectives

The goal of the ODF Ghana Campaign is to eradicate open defecation and promote the ownership and use of household toilets in Ghana on a wider and faster scale. Though there are on-going successful interventions using social norms approaches, they have been limited in reaching large geographical areas. The main objective of this particular campaign is to introduce mass mobilization and a mass media dimension as an extension of the current community-based approaches such as the CLTS.

Campaign strategy

The campaign employs the following steps in the social norms framework:

The Social Norms Framework for the ODF Ghana Campaign

Campaign implementation structures


At the national level, the ODF Ghana Campaign is coordinated by the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development through the Department of Community Development. Similar collaboration occurs at the Regional and District levels as well.

At the Regional and District levels, Campaign Teams are constituted by the Regional Coordinating Councils and the District Interagency Coordinating Committee on Sanitation (DICCS) respectively with the Department of Community Development as the lead. Members are usually drawn from the RICCS and DICCS and in most regions, representatives from the mass media are part of the team.

Campaign Champions

The various Campaign Teams have identified individual and media champions in the respective regions and districts to support the extension activities. These Champions, usually popular personalities and media institutions but passionate to see an ODF society, are provided with technical support by the Campaign Teams to voluntarily sensitize the masses through direct public interactions on the dangers of open defecation and the fact that it is possible for everyone to use a toilet at home. In each of the regions for instance, there are media houses that provide extensively free air time to the Campaign Teams to sensitize the masses, while the individual Champions, some of whom are musicians, actors, religious and traditional leaders, media personalities etc engage the public mainly through their various constituents.


The campaign focuses on sensitization of policy makers and influential personalities at all levels nationwide. It calls people to action to make Ghana ODF and to make their contribution in their own way. It entails direct meetings with all key management and policy-making staff at the local government level, influential traditional leaders and distinguished and respectable individuals, as well as the general public. It challenges whole districts to be open defecation free. It also targets businesses and professional associations. The campaign also involves the traditional and social media to target the general public with intensive education on the menace of open defecation through interviews and special publications. Education on the dangers of open defecation also highlights the potentials in on-going behaviour change interventions, especially the Community-led Total Sanitation approach, that are working so that they may attract the needed support. To facilitate dissemination of information, various campaign materials like videos, posters, billboards, stickers, booklets, T-Shirts, among others have been made available to the various Campaign Teams for distribution.


The campaign is currently being implemented in only five regions: Central, Northern, Upper East, Upper West and Volta. This is because the current funding source is mainly from UNICEF whose geographical focus remains with these regions. The five other regions – Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, Eastern, Greater Accra and Western – have not yet launched the campaign apparently because they have not yet found funding partners.


It is expected that, being a government-led campaign, more partners will be mobilized to support the remaining five regions as early as possible. Reliance on only the community focused approaches (such as the CLTS) alone will most likely delay the process of changing the norm of defecating in the open. Stakeholders in the WASH sector therefore need to find a way of bringing in all the remaining regions, especially through mobilization of funding partners to make the campaign really a national one for a wider impact.

Follow the campaign on to catch up with all current campaign information.

By Emmanuel Addai