Accra, Nov. 14, GNA - The Canadian High Commissioner, Heather Cameron, has launched the Canadian-funded project 'Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Market Development (RUSHING)' in Tamale.
International Development Enterprises (iDE Ghana) is implementing the five-year project valued at 10.7 million Canadian dollars.
The RUSHING project uses a private-sector-led approach to increase demand for sanitation products amongst the rural population.
The project aims to produce and sell over 61,500 toilet facilities and reach over 300,000 people in Ghana's northern regions by increasing people's demand for toilet facilities while supporting local business investment in the sector to meet the demand.
A statement issued in Accra and copied to the Ghana News Agency said access to sanitation facilities was a major challenge in northern Ghana.
'According to 2015 data, only nine per cent of rural Ghanaians have access to improved sanitation and 77 per cent of people practice open defecation.
'Approximately 19,000 Ghanaians die each year from diarrheoa, including 5,100 children under five - nearly 90 per cent of which is directly attributed to poor water, sanitation and hygiene,' it added.
The statement said iDE Ghana had just completed the design phase of the project which focused on building an in-depth understanding of targeted communities to ensure that the product would meet the needs of potential customers.
Prototypes were tested by rural Ghanaians and the winning toilet design is now being produced by a small local business in Tamale while iDE is marketing the toilets under the brand "Sama Sama".
The statement said during the visit the Canadian High Commissioner met with Brian Kiger, iDE Ghana Country Director, and the project team and was impressed by iDE's business model.
'In almost every area of modern life, companies market their products to the consumer. Applying business models to the sale of toilets can help build a supply chain, and a growing local industry, for better sanitation.
'Not only does the development of this supply chain provide Ghanaians with choices, it can help improve health outcomes in communities across Northern Ghana,' the statement said.
It quoted Mr Ishawu Abdul Rahaman from Savelugu, a customer of 'Sama Sama' toilet as saying: 'We feel proud as the first family customer of this newly-designed toilet.
'Since its installation in our house, everyone knows that our family no longer needs to relieve themselves in the open. Our purchase has generated a lot of interest from neighbours and friends who now wish to know how to buy a toilet.'
For Mrs Aliatu Abdullah, another Sama Sama customer, the new toilet has provided her with a sense of safety as she no longer had to go wandering in the bush at night.
iDE designs and delivers market-based solutions in agriculture and WASH to develop lasting solutions to poverty.
Their approach rests on designing business models that embrace the poor as business owners, sales agents, producers, and employees, creating a self-sustaining climate of opportunity.