Challenges with sanitation delivery in Upper West Region of Ghana (workshop report)


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  • Elisabeth
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Thanks for your forum post. I see that you tried to attach a report but somehow it didn't work. I see: "RICCS-SuSanA meeting_Wa_final.docx"

Could you please try to attach it again, or e-mail it to me and I will attach it for you (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Also, since this is your first forum post could you please introduce yourself or edit your forum profile so that we know who you are. Thanks a lot.

Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
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Thanks for sharing the outputs from the Upper West Region, RICCS and SuSanA workshop! It's really great to see the action points.

The workshop is part of the Gates funded SuSanA initiative in Ghana, If anyone is interested in other recent activities in Ghana you can see this forum post:
Connie Benjamin

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Challenges with sanitation delivery in Upper West Region of Ghana (workshop report)

19 members of the Upper West Regional Interagency Coordinating Committee on Sanitation (RICCS), met on 14th August 2018 to deliberate on the challenges they face in their work to make sanitation accessible to all. The workshop was convened in partnership with the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA).

The challenges that came to fore during the deliberations include the following:

• Behaviour Change is not deep - Communities do not give priority to eliminating open defecation - some were of the view this was due to low commitment from frontline sanitation workers.
Some people have come to know what sanitation workers (in this case independent verifiers who verify communities as open defecation free) are looking out for so they make these available for them to see while not practicing it. For example, households will have tippy taps, latrines to show these verifiers. But upon deeper analyses (talking to kids in the communities), sites for open defecation exist and are being used. It should however be noted that this is one out of many. Communities verified pass through a credible process using the ODF protocol. Most often, such communities as described above do not pass especially RICCS verification.

• Competing community priorities. Communities have other challenges like access to potable water, bad roads, etc and do not see sanitation as a priority and are not ready to listen to anything about sanitation.

• Leadership challenge
Communities with poor leadership not attaining open defecation free status. This was identified as a serious challenge as sector actors cannot play the leadership role needed for results. There are clear examples in the field, Donko is a community in the Nandom District, the chief of the community led its community to achieve ODF after failing first attempt to be certified as open defecation free. He instituted a workable bye-law which worked for the community. His personal inspiration and support and level of involvement in the process were enough to have attained the needed result of ODF. That is what we call true commitment.
In the same District, the chief of a community has held his community from attaining ODF due to his luck of interest in supporting the program. He does not see the need to have a toilet and hence practices open defecation himself even though there is a toilet built by his son. Almost all District and Regional stakeholders including UNICEF have visited this chief in order to pursue him to dig a toilet but it has failed. There are numerous examples of how such attitudes have affected the desire of attaining ODF in some communities in the Region.
In Districts where the leadership understand the impact of sanitation, they work hard to achieve ODF, you see the passion and effort while Districts where leadership doesn’t seem to understand or refuses to understand do not perform well when it comes to ODF attainment. Leadership is key to making progress in meeting sanitation targets.

• Urban sanitation
o Bigger communities are failing at eliminating open defecation free status
o Landlords in urban areas like Wa Municipal build and rent out buildings without latrines.
o Crude dumping of faecal sludge in Wa - not seen as a resource

• The absence of focussed action points for follow up on identified challenges during verification. As a result, RICCS meetings end up being a meeting for lamenting and ascribing blames with no solutions. Following the workshop, the RICCS has found its focus and has taken steps to ensure the lapses pointed out are addressed.

• At the end of the meeting, it was agreed that a sanitation plan for the region will be developed by the members of the RICCS at their next meeting as the body responsible for coordinating and harmonising issues of sanitation in the region. The various districts are being encouraged to lead with RICCS facilitating and collating into a regional plan.

The Regional Minister and heads of the various responsible government agencies will be invited for a meeting and this will be shared with them. The aim of this plan will be to make Wa, the regional capital a model clean city in Ghana.
A process has begun to engage stakeholders starting with the Regional Minister and the Municipal Chief Executive since the workshop. A team from RICCS met with the Minister Twice to seek his support for the plan.

Members of SuSanA and specifically Working Group 4 members were contacted to share experiences similar to challenges identified from a scoping survey prior to the workshop. Further updates might be shared on the forum when collated.

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