The 2022 Schools Sanitation Solutions (SSS) contest ended here on Sunday night with the crowing of a new Child Sanitation Diplomat to carry on the advocacy towards achieving Ghana’s sanitation targets under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Maame Akua Ohenewa Gyima, 11-year old first-year Junior high school pupil from the Dawhenya Methodist Basic School, emerged the overall winner of the SSS Challenge and was crowned as the new Sanitation Diplomat.
For her role, Gyimah would champion the cause for the provision of basic sanitation facilities in schools and communities and lead the challenge on behavioral change to eradicate open defecation in Ghanaian communities.
She will also sustain the campaign for behavioral change among school children and their communities.
“The point is we can provide all the infrastructure and resources, but if we do not change behavior, we cannot achieve what we need to achieve under sanitation. So instilling good sanitation habits in children makes them good ambassadors for the national sanitation campaign,” Noah Tumfo, Chief Director of the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources, explained in an interview.
He pledged the resolve of the government to continue supporting such initiatives to accelerate the process towards achieving improved sanitation for all ahead of the SDGs target date in 2030.
Dickens Thunde, the national director for World Vision Ghana, main sponsors of the program, said dealing with sanitation was not about who was right or wrong but ensuring that the next generation did not face the sanitation challenges of the present generation.
“It is therefore heartwarming to note that we are involving children in a major revolution in the sanitation sector,” added Thunde.
The SSS Challenge is in its third year after starting in 2020, with two previous winners championing the cause of sanitation in various communities.
Available data show that total access to basic sanitation in Ghana stands at 21 percent, with rural and urban coverage of 17 percent and 25 percent. The data also show that about 21 percent of Ghanaians practice open defecation.
Since 2014, the World Bank has been supporting the country’s Sanitation and Water project to support the provision of basic sanitation for poor urban households n Accra and Kumasi.
Other sponsors of the SSS contest include Zoomlion Ghana Limited, Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources, Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation, the GAMA Project, Kingshall Media, Ghana Education Service, and WaterAid Ghana.