February 28, 2011 Accra, Feb. 28, GNA - Ghana can exceed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) target of 54 per cent on Sanitation by 2015 through effective implementation of the Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) concept.
Dr Kamal Kar, Founder of CLTS Foundation, who made the observation said this would require behavioural change among Ghanaians towards sanitation, especially Open Defecation (OD), based on analysis and understanding of the situation.
He was addressing a high-level meeting on CLTS in Accra on Monday.
The meeting organised by the Ministry Of Local Government and Rural Development, was to deliberate on critical issues of sanitation, its affect on economic and social development to engender better understanding of CLTS among development partners and other stakeholders in sanitation.
It was attended by development pattners such UNICEF,CIDA Relief international,USAID and AusAID and representation of Ministries of Finance and Economic Planning, Local Government and Rural Development and Environment and Science.
The CLTS uses Participatory Rural Appraisal methods to enable local communities analyse their sanitation conditions and collectively internalise the impact of OD on public health and the environment.
This analysis and internalisation is referred to as 'Triggering'.
Dr Kar emphasised that the CLTS concept did not inform people to stop open defecation or to construct latrines but rather encouraged them to understand their situation and take a decision on environmental sanitation.
"It is about enlightening the human in you; no human being wants to live in feacal matter, it's about human pride and dignity," he said.
According to Dr Kar when communities were triggered effectively and combined with a 'no-hardware subsidy' policy; CLTS was very effective and could provoke urgent collective action to become Open-Defecation Free (ODF).
He therefore told development partners that instead of investing in subsidising hardware to construct communal latrines, the funds should be invested in human capacity building, acquisition of facilities and training in software.
"This is necessary because communities provided with subsidised communal latrines after successful triggering return to OD when the latrines break down as opposed to those who built local household latrines by themselves," he added.
Dr Kar said the concept was being implemented on pilot basis in 100 communities across six regions, Upper East and West, Northern, Greater Accra, Eastern and Central Regions after which it would be implemented nationwide.
Zabzugu-Tatale in the Northern Region has successfully implemented CLTS and been ODF for the past two years while the people in Dodowa in Greater Accra Region have begun constructing latrines using local materials 24 hours after triggering.
Dr Kar called for the formation of regional technical committees to help facilitate the implementation of CLTS.
Mr Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah, Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, asked the assemblies to take bold steps to enforce their bye-laws, because the practice where latrines were being converted into living rooms for rent would no longer be tolerated.
He said the various interventions adopted over the years had not made any headway therefore, the need for a proactive and innovative approach such as the CLTS.
Mr Afriyie-Ankrah explained that improved environmental sanitation was not only critical to the achievement of the MDGs but also for total national development.
"The dignity of the people depends on how they handle their sanitation," he stated.
Mr Afriyie Ankrah commended the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and other development partners for bringing Dr Kar to Ghana to share his knowledge and experiences on the concept and pledged government's commitment to achieving the MDGs on sanitation and totally eliminating OD.
Mr Francis Andan, Chairman of Local Government Service Council, urged Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to accord sanitation issues the priority it needed by implementing the CLTS and building required capacity for community mobilisation and education.