WaterAid Ghana, a Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) focused organisation, has advocated significant involvement of youth and marginalised groups in efforts in accelerating access to improved WASH facilities and services at all levels.
It is barely seven years left for countries including Ghana to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, inclusive policies and programmes are therefore required to reflect and address issues of access to WASH by underserved people and communities.
Engaging the youth and the vulnerable including women and children would help increase participation, advocacy and development of home-based solutions to addressing challenges in the WASH sector and achieving the SDG six which puts emphasizes on attaining water and sanitation for all.
Ms Fauzia Aliu, the Acting Policy Advocacy, Campaigns and Research Manager, WaterAid Ghana made these recommendations at Anafobisi in the Bongo District of the Upper East Region during the commemoration of this year’s World Toilet Day.
The celebration was held with the subtheme, “accelerating change, clean the toilet: the role of the youth in WASH”.
As part of the celebration, the WASH-focused organisation together with some youth groups and Water and Sanitation Management Teams in the district undertook clean up exercise at the Anafobisi Health Centre to improve sanitation situation for improve health outcomes.
The Acting Policy Advocacy, Campaigns and Research Manager explained that the youth had significant role in promoting sustainable development and underscored the urgent need to harness the potentials of the youth to advocate for better WASH service delivery at all levels.
Ms Aliu explained that the Ghana Sanitation Policy was currently under review and noted that apart from increasing financing to increase the provision of WASH infrastructure at institutions such as communities, healthcare and educational facilities which was a bigger challenge, the reviewed policy needed to be inclusive and reflective of the WASH challenges.
“We would want the sanitation policy review to be as inclusive as possible to ensure that various marginalised groups’ interests are taken into consideration to ensure that the actions taken are reflective of the challenges on the ground.
“We want to see a lot of women, youth and children engagement during the review process, and we also want the government to engage a lot with the communities to identify and come out with home-based solutions to maintain and sustain WASH facilities,” she added.
Mr John Bosco Atampugre, Head of Anafobisi Health Centre, thanked WaterAid Ghana for their support over the years including the provision of incinerator and the capacity building training which had contributed to improving sanitation and infections prevention and control of the facility.
Mr Atampugre noted that the facility had a water closet toilet facility which was contributing to ensure good sanitation practices and appealed to stakeholders to ensure that every health facility had toilet to help improve quality of healthcare delivery.
Mr Jerry Nyaaba, Asaloko Community Youth Secretary and Secretary of Water and Sanitation Management Team, said good sanitation was critical to the growth of the community and appealed to the Bongo District Assembly to prioritise the provision of toilet facilities to communities to help fight open defecation.
He also appealed to the Assembly to institute and enforce monthly or quarterly general clean up exercises in every community to help instill the values of communal labour and sanitation practices in the residents to help prevent diseases.