This year’s World Toilet Day has been held in Tamale with a call on residents to construct household toilets to contribute to improved sanitation practices in the area.
The Metropolitan and Municipal Chief Executives (MCE) for Tamale and Sagnarigu, who made the call in a speech read on their behalf during the event in Tamale, said by-laws had been promulgated to make household latrines compulsory to ensure dignity for residents.
The event, organised by the Northern Regional Coordinating Council (NRCC), in collaboration with partners in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in the region, was on the theme: “Valuing Toilets”.
World Toilet Day is celebrated annually on November 19 to inspire action to tackle the global sanitation crises and help achieve the Sustainable Development Goal Six (6), which promises sanitation for all by 2030.
The Day, designated by the United Nations General Assembly in 2013, also seeks to create awareness and garner mass movement towards ensuring that everyone has unimpeded access to safely managed sanitation and adopt positive hygiene behaviour.
Various types of toilets and sanitation facilities were exhibited during the event while some students drawn from the Tamale Senior High School recited a poem on faeces and toilets, depicting the effects of lack of toilets at homes and improper disposal of faeces.
During the event, the manual emptiers association was outdoored while the Waste Management Departments of the two Assemblies were also equipped with working tools to coordinate and regulate their activities.
It was also used to launch the second edition of the Senior High Schools (SHS) Open Defecation Free (ODF) league table to highlight and bring to the forefront the sanitation situation in SHSs in the region with the hope of receiving the much-needed attention.
The Tamale Metropolitan Area is experiencing poor sanitation, resulting from the practice of widespread open defecation. Less than one per cent of its communities are certified as ODF with residents mainly depending on public toilets (nearly 60% of adults) that do not meet their needs for cleanliness, privacy, and convenience.
Additionally, 81% of households do not have private latrines.
Alhaji Shani Alhassan Saibu, Northern Regional Minister, whose speech was read on his behalf, entreated residents to reflect on the need to own and use individual toilets in their homes and urged residents to be interested in issues of sanitation within their communities as it was a shared responsibility.
Carolyn Edlebeck, Head of Programming at CRS, spoke about the CRS’ response to improved sanitation practices in Greater Tamale, which started in 2019 with the implementation of the Urban WASH and Resilience Project.
She said, “For the past two years, Urban WASH and Resilience Project together with key stakeholders have facilitated the construction of 505 household toilets in Tamale Metropolis and Sagnarigu Municipality serving over 5,000 beneficiaries, rehabilitated seven public toilets with three of them certified as WASH friendly.”
She added that “We have also trained seven area mechanics to provide borehole repair services to communities to ensure sustained supply of water in communities, and trained 30 Water and Sanitation Management Teams in properly managing water points in our communities.”
She announced that “CRS together with Tamale Metropolitan, Sagnarigu Municipal Assemblies, and other stakeholders have drafted a Citywide Inclusive WASH action plan for Greater Tamale to leverage sector players’ resources (Private, Public, CBOs and NGOs) to address key gaps along the entire sanitation service chain in Greater Tamale.”
She said despite the gains and efforts made over the years, a lot more work was required, and called on all stakeholders, including development partners and state institutions to leverage each other’s resources and strengths to build resilient and dedicated institutions to deliver carefully thought-out interventions, as well as advocate for institutional and policy reforms that are required for effective WASH service delivery.