Towards total sanitation in Kassena Nankana West District, Ghana - Challenges & potential solutions

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Towards total sanitation in Kassena Nankana West District, Ghana - Challenges & potential solutions

Twenty four members of the Kassena Nankana West District Interagency Coordinating Committee on Sanitation met on 19th September 2018 to take part in a learning session in collaboration with the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA).

The meeting, which was held at the Paga Motel, discussed the challenges faced by stakeholders in their work in the district.

The following challenges and potential solutions were identified:

1. The implementation of sanitation policies/bye-laws is a challenge. Sanitation bye-laws have not been gazetted and can therefore not be used to prosecute offenders.
2. The people whom these bye-laws cover are not aware of them.
Potential solution: There’s need for awareness creation and education on these bye-laws.
3. Political will. It appears those in authority only pay lip service to sanitation issues in Ghana.
4. Challenging soil condition. Pits described as resilient and built with locally available materials as prescribed under CLTS such as sticks still collapse. Closely linked to this is the challenge of appropriate technologies.
Potential solution: The need for innovative financing mechanisms that will enable householders to afford and built latrines with quality materials
5. Time frame for implementing CLTS short. Problem with the limited time within which CLTS is implemented (3 months in some instances). Some people change behavior because they understand while others are compelled to change which is unsustainable.
6. Affordability. Most households are unable to afford technologies that are truly resilient. Latrine artisans have been trained on how to protect pits from collapsing but householders are unable to afford these latrines.
Other households can afford it if they know the cost involved and consequently are able to plan towards this cost. Cost information is however not readily available to householders.
7. Competing priorities and attitudinal challenge. For example, some householders use different mortar mix for their toilets and for their houses.
Potential Solution: The importance of the pre-triggering stage in assessing behaviors and linking them to proposed solutions was identified as a way to handle this challenge. Participants also pointed out the need to think through and see how approaches can be combined as people seemed to have other priorities. There is need to find ways of tying in their economic development issues with their sanitation challenges to enhance sustainability.
8. Negative social norms. Social norms that normalize negative practices such as open defecation, evidenced in situations where people practicing open defecation freely engage with passers by.
9. Good examples not being modeled by practitioners. Practitioners not practicing what they preach. Some District Assembly offices do not have functioning toilets. Less than half of workshop participants have household latrines.
10. Need to contextualize CLTS implementation. CLTS as it is being implemented does not appear to be working within the Kassena Nankana West context.
Subsidies are not allowed in the rural areas where the poor are located. Ghana’s rural sanitation model uses CLTS which does not allow subsidies whereas CLTS is not adopted in urban areas.
Potential solution: Targeted subsidies that help to identify the poorest of the poor who cannot build their own latrines without help. Need to identify other approaches that can be merged with CLTS and which will address the issues prioritized by householders over sanitation.
11. Decommissioning of filled up latrines. Filled up toilets are not being decommissioned, resulting in blocks of toilets which can be described as deathtraps in institutions like schools
12. Lack of/inadequate support from traditional authorities in sanitation promotion. Traditional leaders are not making use of their authority to complement government’s efforts in attaining open defecation free status in their communities.

Participants called for inter-district learning and reflection sessions so various districts can learn from each other about what works and what doesn’t work in their various contexts.

Programme Officer with WaterAid Ghana
I believe in WaterAid's vision of a world where everyone everywhere has access to safe WASH
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