The Upper West Regional Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee on Sanitation (RICCS) has emphasized the critical role of community leaders in the campaign against Open Defecation (OD), highlighting their active involvement as a key factor in achieving successful results.
Observing the outcomes of Open Defecation Free (ODF) verification in 22 communities across the Jirapa and Nadowli-Kaleo Districts, the RICCS reported that 100 percent of communities, except Baapare, achieved ODF status.
The committee attributed this success to the participation of community and opinion leaders and the existence of community sanitation bylaws, which motivated individuals to construct and use household latrines.
Mr. Agambire Alhassan Inusah, the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer of the Upper West Regional Environmental Health and Sanitation Department, urged traditional leaders to take the lead in ODF campaigns within their communities.
Community leaders expressed satisfaction with the positive outcomes. Mr. Doodaa Dakurah, Chief of the Mwofo community, credited their success to his active role and the support of Environmental Health Officers in encouraging latrine construction.
In the Kakalazu community of Nadowli-Kaleo District, Mr. Fanuba Kuupene, the Community-led Total Sanitation (CLTS) Natural Leader, affirmed their commitment to maintaining ODF status.
He highlighted the community's awareness of the importance of having and using latrines, eliminating the need to compete with reptiles in the bush for open defecation.
Mr. Kuupene emphasized the comfort and safety of using toilets, stating, “It is very comfortable using a toilet because you don't have to go into the bush in the night where a snake can bite you.”
Currently, 836 out of 1,168 communities in the Upper West Region have achieved ODF status, showcasing the positive impact of community engagement and leadership involvement in sanitation campaigns.