Friday, 18 December 2009

Off to Amenhi

Now, don’t get me wrong, four days in a conference room with End Water Poverty global campaigners is actually a lot of fun – sharing plans, playing energizer games and getting to meet people I usually can only talk with over the telephone. But when we were given a chance to leave the conference centre and travel into the Ghanaian countryside to see a total sanitation project, I couldn’t say no.

Our colleague Lamisi organised the trip to Amenhi, a large village of 405 inhabitants two hours outside Accra. We met the Chief and learnt why they decided to embark on an ambitious plan to eradicate open defecation and adopt the mantra “One house, one toilet”.

Nana, the village Chief, told us that the intervention by local NGOs had made a massive difference. They take an intervention approach called Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) that aims to raise awareness of sanitation and disease control and support the community in deciding how to deal with their sanitation needs.

I talked with Amenhi resident Alumesi, and she told me of the changes she’d seen in the health of her children and family since she invested in a toilet five years ago – “Before we were getting ill in our stomachs often, and not well enough to work and our children were always sick. Now we’re far healthier and more comfortable”.

Alumesi shares her toilet with others in the community who can’t yet afford a latrine, and the children we met were happy to show us the toilets in the village… as well as showing Steve (International Campaign Coordinator) how to play football.

And we also made time to try out a World’s Longest Toilet Queue! (Check out the pictures in the slideshow from a previous post). Wonder if this will be the most remote location of a Queue? A challenge for everyone I reckon!

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