Madam Emma-Joan Halm, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Officer of the United Nation’s Children Fund (UNICEF), has challenged the Upper West Region to work towards becoming the first Open Defecation Free (ODF) Region in Ghana.
“I know you can because you have demonstrated that before,” she said, adding that between 2011 and 2014, Upper West was the only region that reduced its open defecation rate by almost 22 percent, having moved from 71.10 per cent to 49.20 percent, the highest in the country.
Madam Halm threw the challenge during the launch of the Social Norms Campaign dubbed: “Open Defecation Free Campaign” in Wa on Tuesday.
She requested the region to put in place the necessary strategies and commit resources to achieve the target it had set itself for eliminating open defecation.
“It is indeed possible to attain the region-wide ODF with the requisite political will and resources”, she said.
She noted that with the launch of the campaign, complementing the ongoing behaviour change activities in the region, the region was on its way to making a turnaround in the sanitation statistics again, as all the districts have pledged to achieve their open defecation free targets.
The UNICEF WASH Officer congratulated government, especially the Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, for taking steps to improve the sanitation situation in Ghana through the National Sanitation campaign.
“We as UNICEF support the endeavours of the government to ensure that no one is left behind in the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) not just in Ghana, but around the world,” she said.
The objective of the ODF Ghana Campaign is to create awareness that open defecation is dangerous and affects the personal and collective well-being of Ghanaians.
It is also to help change individual behaviour on negative sanitation practices at the household level.
The campaign further seeks to create a social change, specifically a social norm of using latrines instead of using the bush, which will lead to ODF communities and districts.