The Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) Sanitation and Water Project (GAMA SWP) should be expanded to other areas of the country, Mr. Francis Ameyibor, National Convenor of the Media Coalition Against Open Defecation (M-CODe) has recommended.
Speaking at the World Vision Ghana-sponsored M-CODe National Working Group Empowerment Summit in Accra, Mr. Ameyibor suggested using the project's potential in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) and the Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Area (GKMA) as a benchmark for expanding it statewide.
The World Bank is providing funding for the GAMA/GKMA Sanitation and Water Project, which is being carried out by the Ghanaian government through the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources.
"GAMA SWP must at least adopt one metropolitan or municipal area in each region to increase access to improved sanitation and improved water supply, especially in low-income communities," Mr. Ameyibor said.
In his appeal to the government and the World Bank, Mr. Ameyibor observed that engagement with M-CODe regional stakeholders around the country emphasized the demand for the extension and expansion of the GAMA project.
According to Mr. Ameyibor, the M-CODe Empowerment Summit was a component of the "M-CODe 2023 Anti-Open Defecation Nationwide Advocacy efforts, which are supported by World Vision Ghana."
As part of national efforts to put an end to the practice, Mr. Ameyibor noted that empowerment through capacity building, connecting key players in the battle against open defecation, and developing a forum to expose communities still engaging in the practice were all important to achieving the goal.
The M-CODe National Convenor mentioned the public awareness campaign towards the global aim of eliminating open defecation (OD) by 2030 and the empowerment of media, who serve as important partners in revitalizing the campaign locally.
He said M-CODe was building alliances with strategic stakeholders, including the Regional Coordinating Council, Environmental Health Department, Ghana Education Service, Ghana Health Service, Community Water and Sanitation Agency, and the Department of Community Development, to revitalize advocacy against open defecation.
Other stakeholders include the Department of Gender, the National Commission for Civic Education, Regional Environmental Officers, the Environmental Protection Agency, World Vision, and civil society organizations.
The rest consists of Regional Officers from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Ministry of Sanitation, and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, among others, who work to revive and maintain the activism to alter the rules and build a society free of open defecation.
In his opening remarks at the M-CODe National Working Group Empowerment Summit, Mr. Yaw Attah Arhin, a Technical Specialist in Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) for World Vision Ghana, emphasized the necessity for stakeholders to collaborate in order to achieve the goal of ending open defecation by 2030.
He stated that despite increased political, public, and media attention in recent years, the fight to eradicate open defecation has been "embarrassingly sluggish."
Mr. Arhin urged the Ministry of Sanitation to keep assuming a leadership role and providing strategic guidance for putting Ghana's plan to stop open defecation into action.
He said it was heartbreaking to see how many kids die every year from illnesses like diarrhea, cholera, and typhoid when these conditions could be easily avoided with practical solutions like using better latrines and washing hands with soap and flowing water.
Other speakers include Mr. Wisdom Aditsey, Tema Metropolitan Health Officer, and Mr. Emmanuel Addai, GAMA/GKMA Knowledge Management Expert.