GA EAST PROMOTES HOUSEHOLD TOILETS TO IMPROVE SANITATION IN LOW-INCOME COMMUNITIES

The Municipal Environmental Health Officer (MEHO) for the Ga East Municipal Assembly (GEMA), Mr. Derick Tata-Anku has reiterated the Assembly’s resolve to improve sanitation conditions in the municipality, especially in low-income communities. Mr. Tata-Anku made this remark at a ceremony to hand over newly constructed household toilets to the beneficiaries at Kwabenya Old Town as part of the implementation of the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) Sanitation and Water project.

It is estimated that about 40,000 toilets are needed for over 250,000 people within the project communities of the eleven (11) Metropolitan and Municipal Assemblies (MMAs) forming the GAMA in the Greater Accra Region which are implementing the Sanitation and Water project.

To solve this sanitation menace and help prevent the outbreak of cholera and other sanitation-related diseases, the World Bank, the funding organization, in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD), designed a solution in a project coded, GAMA Sanitation and Water project.

In implementing the project, a pilot phase, the Collaborative Leadership for Development (CL4D)-Rapid Result Initiative (RRI), was launched in June, 2015 whereby the 11 MMAs within the GAMA formed teams of up to 11 members each made up of both Assembly staff and non-staff in the metro/municipality to pilot a 100-Day sanitation-related project with a specific goal to achieve rapid results within a stipulated period.

In the Ga East Municipality, the RRI Team embarked on numerous education and sensitization drives to ensure that the project concept was understood and accepted by the intended beneficiary communities and people, to get them well informed about the sanitation Bye-laws of the Assembly through the distribution of the sanitation-related building codes, durbars and house-to-house sensitization campaigns as well as community announcements with the Information Van among others.

Through these efforts, three (3) Biofil household  toilets were constructed by Biofilcom late last year in the round one of the implementation of the RRI.

Prior to the handing over of the toilets for use, members of the beneficiary households were taken through a training programme to equip them with knowledge on the use of the facilities.

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Leonard from Biofilcom demontrating the use of the toilets during the training programme

The Biofil Toilet System is an on-site faecal matter treatment system which comes as a normal flush and microflush units. As a normal flush unit, it typically serves as alternative to the septic tank by receiving and treating faecal matter directly from the water closets or pourflush seat.

As a microflush unit, the superstructure sits on top of the biofil digester and faecal matter is directly discharged into the biofil digester by the microflush seat with the release of a foot flap. The microflush seat is uniquely designed to use wastewater from a hand wash basin – first as a water seal and secondly as flush unit to discharge faecal matter into the digester.

The operation of the biofil digester whether used for a normal flush unit or microflush unit has similar operational functions: flush water undergoes rapid solid-liquid separation through a porous filter; the solid waste is retained in a ‘digester’ chamber where it accelerates decomposition into biosolids by the activities of micro and macro-organisms. The system offers a low-cost, safe, off-grid alternative to septic tanks and pit latrines.

At a brief ceremony to handing over the toilets to the beneficiaries for use, the Municipal Environmental Health Officer (MEHO) for the Ga East Municipal Assembly (GEMA), Mr. Derick Tata-Anku, told the people to maintain the facilities to ensure a lasting use.

He cautioned them against littering the premises of the toilets with papers saying, “we will conduct routine inspections and anyone found in this situation will be punished according to the laws and regulations”.

Speaking at a durbar organized immediately after the handing-over, Mr. Tata-Anku urged landlords in the community to take advantage of the project and build toilets for their homes to improve the sanitation conditions in the community.

He explained that the project has gone promotional therefore giving opportunity to low-income earners to pay just half of the cost of any toilet of their choice as provided by the project.

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Mr. Derick Tata-Anku, MEHO, (middle standing), with Hon. Adolphus Briandt, Assemblyman for Kwabenya (left) and Michael Mawuenyegah, RRI Team Member, explaining the promotion to community members at the durbar

“This is promotional, in the sense that we are time-bound. We are doing it within a timeframe after that time you will build your own toilet and pay for the full cost”, the MEHO stressed.

He advised the landlords to register and benefit from the promotion to avoid prosecution after the expiration of the 100-Day project.

The Assemblyman for Kwabenya, Hon. Adolphus Briandt, encouraged his people to embrace the project and charged them to seize the opportunity to own toilets in their homes to save them the cost and inconvenience of queuing to use the only public toilet within the community.

The Chief of Kwabenya, Nii Kwao Obuabasa, was present at the durbar to lend moral support to the Assembly officials and the project.

In the round two of the RRI, all the 11 participating MMAs have the opportunity to build, in aggregate total, 1,100 household toilets within the designated low-income areas through a support package rolled out by the Project Coordinating Unit (PCU).

Dome and Kwabenya are the focus communities for the RRI in the Ga East Municipality while other components of the GAMA projects are being undertaken in various low-income communities throughout the municipality.

End.

Okunyin Boaz Orlan-Hackman

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