Improving schools and community WASH services
WSUP has been implementing school and community WASH projects in the Ashanti region since 2010. WSUP has worked with 10 district assemblies including the Kumasi Metropolitan and Ga West Municipal Assemblies to provide WASH facilities in schools while developing systems to ensure financing and assigning responsibilities for operations and maintenance to ensure any new services and facilities are sustained and maintained for the long-term. Each school WASH facility is slightly different depending on the number of students and water supply system, but all include separate chambers for boys and girls and teachers, menstrual hygiene changing rooms and showers for girls, and urinals. The facilities we build are disability friendly, and most are designed to use wastewater for growing plants.
Despite transforming the WASH facilities of over 40 schools already, there remains a high level of need in the Ashanti region. In some municipalities where we work, more than 50% of basic schools do not have toilet facilities at all.
WSUP has also worked in about 15 district assemblies to extend water supply through public standpipes and household water connections managed under sustainable community management models to ensure ongoing maintenance. We have found that securing community buy-in and ownership of the projects is key to ensuring sustainability of infrastructure.
WSUP has successfully worked in Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly in the Ashanti region and the Ga West Municipal Assembly in Greater Accra to implement market-based approaches to improving access to household toilets. WSUP supports the employment and skills development of local artisans to construct new facilities. We also develop community marketing and education campaigns to stimulate demand for toilets in communities, connect communities to microfinance institutions and engage municipal environmental health officers to ensure improved access to household toilets.
Susana Tiwaa, Asamang, Ashanti region, Ghana
“I am really glad I had the opportunity to be part of the training and I wish that there will be periodic refresher training just so we know what we have done right and what we can improve on in the operations and maintenance of the facility.”
Like most low-income areas in Ghana, Asamang, a community in the Ashanti region of Ghana has a huge sanitation challenge. Only about 30% of the population of 10,000 have household or compound toilets. The rest of the population rely on one dilapidated public toilet. The public toilet is unhygienic and not well managed, and there is a dearth of operations and maintenance knowledge amongst the community leaders and operators. There is a lack of privacy and security which makes women and girls vulnerable and they are afraid to use it at night.
WSUP provided improved sanitation and developed effective management systems to sustainable operations and maintenance of WASH facilities. As part of the intervention, capacity building activities were undertaken which included training of selected Community Management Committee (CMC) members and provision of basic public toilet O&M starter kit.
This led to the provision of a 20-seater (for men; 12 for women) public toilet for Asamang along with a handwashing facility and a dedicated mechanised borehole for water supply to the facility. The water supply is further augmented with a rainwater harvesting system.
Susana is one of 5 women on the thirteen- member management committee responsible for general oversight of the operations of the facility to serve the sanitation needs of the community in a sustainable manner. Susana has been a vendor at one of the communities’ few hand pump boreholes for over a decade.
She said, “The old toilet was in a very poor condition; it was not managed properly and there is always a bad smell in and around it.”
As a member of the committee, Susana benefitted from a two-day training on general operations and maintenance procedures. Narrating her experience from the training, Susana notes, “The training was the first one I have ever attended. We were taught a lot of things on how to monitor how the toilet is operating, fixing fees and rendering accounts, interacting with the community members, and water and sanitation related diseases”. She added, “I am really glad I had the opportunity to be part of the training and I wish that there will be periodic refresher training just so we know what we have done right and what we can improve on in the operations and maintenance of the facility.”