The 2023 World Water Day (WWD) has been marked by the Media Coalition Against Open Defecation (M-CODe) in collaboration with the Ghana News Agency Tema Regional Office and the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) Sanitation and Water Project.
The M-CODe commemoration of the 2023 World Water Day, was on the theme: “Let’s Kill Open Defecation today! before it Kills us tomorrow”.
It forms part of the national “M-CODe 2023 Anti-Open Defecation Nationwide Advocacy” which is a relentless national campaign aimed at ending the practice of defecating in the open, rather than in a toilet is linking the problems of water to open defecation.
It also revealed that Open Defecation is a threat to the purity of water bodies and the environment and stressed the need for stakeholders to work together through accelerated action to eradicate the problem.
Mr. Joseph Korto, National Dean of Presiding Members, who spoke on the topic: “The Role of Presiding Members in ending Open Defecation in their respective jurisdictions” called for enforcement of building regulations.
He also called on Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to join forces with M-CODe to launch a public education campaign to ensure that the public understands and appreciates the harmful impact of open defecation.
Mr. Korto who is also the Presiding Member of the Tema Metropolitan Assembly urged Presiding Members across the country to educate residents on the need for household toilets and intensifies the fight against open defecation.
Mr. Francis Ameyibor, M-CODe National Convener noted that the coalition seeks to draw the attention of Ghanaians, and the global community that the world could not experience a healthy environment, and drink safe water amid OD, which has now become a major problem in most developing countries.
Mr. Ameyibor stated that the practice was common, where sanitation infrastructures are not available, and noted that the first step toward eradicating open defecation is to encourage households to own toilet facilities.
He said M-CODe also through the advocacy seeks to engage strategic stakeholders, including Regional Coordinating Councils, MMDAs, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Ministry of Local Government, and the Ministry of Sanitation among others to revamp and sustain the activism to change the parameters and create an open defecation-free society.
Mr. Ameyibor who is also the Ghana News Agency Tema Regional Manager called on all stakeholders to join the coalition’s effort to end open defecation in the country and commended World Vision Ghana, GAMA, and other stakeholders for their relentless support toward ending open defecation.
Speaking on the topic: “The impact of reliable water supply in the operationalization of school toilet facilities,” Mr. Emmanuel Addai, GAMA Knowledge Management Expert called on the government to ensure that all schools were provided with toilets, as well as water.
He said water was essential for flushing the toilet, cleaning the toilets, and the floors, maintenance of hand hygiene, managing menstrual hygiene, desludging, and for cleaning janitorial tools, and bins.
Mr. Addai also called on the media to intensify the campaign on the need for households to have toilets while encouraging district assemblies, schools, and parents to collaborate in maintaining school toilets as a way to stop open defecation and infections among the children.