The Ghana WASH Project uses a high-impact, multi-faceted approach to address sanitation challenges in rural communities. GWASH works with communities to help construct household latrines, which are enclosed (walled and roofed) toilet facilities where members of a household can relieve themselves in convenient, private and nearby space. These latrines are also a form of improved sanitation, by hygienically separating human feces from human contact. The new facilities are constructed with the support and involvement of many partners, including local NGOs, local government, trained local artisans, individual household beneficiaries and water and sanitation (watsan) committees. The approach includes skills training, education, and community involvement to ensure the sustainability of these sanitation facilities.
The project provides subsidies to households to support in the construction of their latrines. Households are responsible for digging their own latrine pits—with technical support from local partners— materials are distributed to the households to construct the substructure. Households are also responsible for financing their own superstructure, with technical support and guidance from environmental health assistants and local partners. By providing key materials for latrine construction, such as cement, iron roofing sheets, and PVC piping, the Ghana WASH Project presents these households with an opportunity that otherwise would likely be impossible.
In addition, this method ensures that all sanitation infrastructure interventions are demand driven, a vital key to maximizing impact and sustainability. Households choose from various latrine designs comprised of different materials, in order to identify a structure design that best suits their preferences, needs and financial resources. Rural latrine designs include the rectangular or Mozambique single pit Ventilated Improved Pit Latrine (VIP), Kumasi Ventilated Improved Pit Latrine (KVIP), sanitation platform, or EcoSan latrine. In peri-urban communities, beneficiaries can choose between one- to two-seater KVIPs,and EcoSan latrines. Areas with high housing density and/or high water tables might also consider toilets linked to communal septic tanks or household septic latrines.
Communities are evaluated as a whole to promote a sense of collective responsibility and to maximize health benefits; Prior experience demonstrated that for maximum health impact, the majority of households in a given community need access to improved sanitation.
To date, USAID through GWASH has constructed more than 1,100 household latrines in rural and peri-urban communities across the country. By the close of the project in September 2013, 4,680 household latrines will be constructed with USAID assistance.