On Wednesday, January 2, the Ghana WASH Project was featured on BBC Afrique, the French-language version of the media site’s reportage on African news.
The radio story explores the impact of the project’s initiatives in the peri-urban community of Nsakina, located the Ga West Municipality of the Greater Accra Region. The project’s water and sanitation interventions — in supporting the construction of household latrines, in building school institutional latrines, and in partnering with the Coca-Cola Africa Foundation and WaterHealth Ghana to provide a surface water treatment system — are making real impacts for the community’s members.
Listen here (in French):
Thousands of people live in the peri-urban areas of Accra with access to neither running water nor private toilets in their households, posing multiple public health challenges like diarrhea and dysentery.
To respond to these fundamental questions, the Ghana WASH helps by financing, in part, the construction of household latrines in five regions of the country.
Bruno Sanogo is our correspondent based in northeast Accra, where thousands of people are benefitting from this project. We move to his reportage in Nsakina.
“So when will he finish it?”
“By the end of this month, month ending.”
“Because I have to come back verify…”
On this Tuesday morning at about 8am, Monica Jeannormil, a woman of 25 years, had traveled some 50 kilometers outside of Accra to the community of Nsakina. An American volunteer of Haitian origin, she comes each week to supervise the progress of latrine construction by her organization Ghana WASH, a project financed for thousands of rural communities.
“When I arrive in one of these communities, it’s not easy verifying the quality of work because they themselves are responsible for some of the activities,” Monica says.
She continues: “We explain to them their responsibility: So before beginning [construction], they are aware [of their responsibility], for example, they make the blocks themselves. So, it’s not only money that they need; it is more resources [labor, materials] it is they who must construct their own — molding their blocks and construct the latrines.”
In the village of Nsakina, the inhabitants don’t construct their toilets and want rather to defecate in open areas in the community.
It’s been only two months since Odartey Lamptey finished construction of his latrine and already, around a dozen people use it daily.
“Me and my wife, we already have six children who use the toilet, I believe that in all it is about 12 people that depend on it daily. We all had to use the public toilet that you see there; it [the public toilet] is not clean like this one [our household latrine] that we use now.”
Without utility connections to the capital, the population essentially depends on water that comes to the community from the river during the rainy season. Here, along the different inlets, trash flows into the river. Ghana WASH called on the Coca-Cola Company, installed near the community, which has assumed a social responsibility for four purification systems [at the one main center and two vantage points] in the community with polytanks with the capacity of thousands of liters.
“Coca Cola has a base here and they have a social responsibility here, and in doing this they search for local NGOs to work with them. And it is like this; we have constructed more of these, in our regions,” Monica says.
“And that’s potable water?” asked Bruno of the water available from the surface water treatment center.
“Yes, it’s potable water,” Monica responded.
“It is sold there?” Bruno asked.
“Yes, it is sold,” Monica responded.
Samuel Odartey, who is located at the point of sale, explains to us that the purified water comes from the River Nsakina. For him, his role is to ensure that the population has potable water to drink.
In its four years of existence, Ghana WASH has increased its interventions for the well-being of the population living in rural communities.
Sean Cantella, the Chief of Party for the project: “In Nsakina, it is a mix of interventions. For example, there is the institutional latrine for a school. Also, there are interventions at the household level. We also have a system of treatment for surface water, which is taken from the nearby water source, like a lake or the river, or you have water treatment.”
“We are in five regions: Western, Central, Eastern, Volta and Greater Accra. We are in some 21 districts. At the beginning, this project had decided to work in the most needy districts; that is to say, in situations where the water coverage was the lowest of all the districts, or the same situation for sanitation.”
“But largely, we are on the way to construct 4680 household latrines in the four years of the project,” Sean said.
Bruno Sanogo, Accra, BBC Afrique