Good hygiene, Good health: WaterAid launches program in Ghana

on
16 October 2017
In
Ghana, Hygiene
Healthy Play session at Akantome Primary school in Bolgatanga. WaterAid / Karlye Wong

Its cocoa flavours the world’s chocolate, its minerals create the smart technology we use every day, and its coloured fabrics turn heads everywhere. Ghana is one of Africa’s most vibrant nations, and also one of the most densely populated countries in West Africa.

More than three million people in the country don’t have access to safe drinking water and over 85% of people don’t have access to decent toilets. In towns and cities, only one in five people have a decent toilet. In the countryside, this figure drops to just one in ten people. The three northern regions are particularly deprived, with one in ten children dying before their fifth birthday.

That’s why WaterAid Canada is pleased to launch the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene for Public Health Program(WASH4PH) in Ghana with $8m financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada. Working with WaterAid Ghana, the program will help improve the health of the people in Bongo and Kassena Nankana West districts, notably women and girls, by providing access to clean water, decent toilets in 15 schools, 8 health facilities and 15 communities.

While, it starts with installing taps and toilets – this program goes much further, educating people on the importance of good hygiene, to transforming in people’s lives through community-led solutions and systems. Women are being actively engaged in training and workshops to ensure their voices are heard, that they have influence over program decisions and that the program meets gender-specific needs at birth, at school and in the community. For example, at school girls need somewhere private to change their sanitary cloths or pads; clean water for washing their hands and used cloths; and facilities for safely disposing of used materials or to dry reusable cloths.

This project will also empower children in the community to be agents of change, by using the innovative “Healthy Play” model developed by Right to Play, engaging children in social and cultural activities. By teaching important health lessons in a fun way, children learn the facts that can s​ave their lives and how to use healthy behaviours throughout life.

As Ghana continues to grow, WaterAid is helping communities and local government put long-term solutions in place. And we are connecting the hardest-to-reach and most marginalized communities to develop specific services that will meet their needs and help improve their overall well-being.