When schools in rural communities in Ghana receive new toilets, as did Kade Methodist school under the partnership, they often face pressure from the surrounding community, especially in areas where residents lack toilets in their homes or where there are limited public sanitation facilities.
In fact, community intrusions had left Kade Methodist school’s pre-existing latrine blocks, which had been built several years ago by another donor, dirty, crumbling shells with broken wooden doors.
The partnership provided with Kade Methodist school two new, larger latrine blocks with Kumasi Ventilated-Improved Pits and metallic doors. The new toilets, which are under padlock, are reserved for the students while the community members continued to use the old latrines.
Our concern was that if community residents continued to use the old latrines on the school premises, they may find their way to the new ones provided by the partnership.
As part of the Rotary-led advocacy program within the partnership, Rotary members participated in a community meeting where they asked residents to commit to stop using the school’s toilets, old or new. They encouraged the residents to build toilets in their homes with the assistance of local government and USAID partners.
Rotary members went a step further and used their influence to recommit the local municipality into fulfilling its support services to the school and the community. “We made a link between the municipality, especially the environmental health officers and the school so that the toilets can remain clean.”
In addition, the municipality committed to issue spot fines to residents caught intruding in the toilets.
Editing by RI’s Diana Schoberg with additional reporting from RI’s Mohamed Keita. Photography by Andrew Esiebo
You construct the institutional latrine for the school. You come back, educate the headmaster or the staff, together with the school children: how they are going to maintain and facilitate the process. Now, after one month, two years down the line, you come back and the community members have started using the facility. They were not part of the training on how to use the facility, so they use it anyhow. Sometimes, they break the doors. You go and have an engagement with the chief and elders to talk to the community members. They will do that. The next day, they will come and break the door. Most of the communities that benefitted from institutional latrines, the doors have been broken down.
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