On Thursday, July 2, 2020, Ghana’s sanitation sub-sector witnessed what some considered as a historical moment: the launch in Accra via Zoom of the 10-point manifesto, demanding action from political parties on general sanitation issues and open defecation in particular.
Dubbed: “The M-CODe Open Defecation Free Ghana Manifesto,” the purpose is to enable political parties and governments to formulate innovate policies that can work to end open defecation in Ghana.
Developed by the Media Coalition against Open Defecation (M-CODe), the release of the manifesto forms part of the group’s activities to prompt leadership to tackle sanitation issues head-on. It is also to engender community and individual sanitation responsible behaviour.
The group is, first of all, asking political parties and the government to develop a clear National Roadmap for eradicating open defecation. This is to facilitate targeted support from partners, enable a prediction of an end to open defecation in Ghana and ensure tracking of interventions.
The second demand is for the prioritisation of the implementation of the Rural Sanitation Model and Strategy (RSMS) in every region and district. M-CODe is of the view that this strategy has proven to be the only one that has so far turned more than 5,000 rural and peri-urban communities into open defecation-free (ODF) status.
Launched in 2012 by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (then in charge of sanitation in Ghana), the Strategy’s achievements include making the Nandom District entirely ODF with other districts like Tatale Sanguli, Daffiama Bussie Issa, Sawla Tuna Kalba, Mion, Wa West and many others on a steady path to becoming district wide ODF.
Unfortunately, other regions, mainly in the south of Ghana, have not yet had the needed partner support in investing in the RSMS. So, while the regions in northern Ghana are showing reducing trends in open defecation, majority in the south are rather showing increasing open defecation trends. The group believes prioritisation of the RSMS’s implementation will ensure that all other regions left behind in this ODF agenda, come on board.