Ghana has a growing population of 29 million people and is one of the most urbanised countries in Africa.
Almost half the country now lives in towns and cities, and of these less than one fifth has access to at least a basic sanitation service.
While poverty in Ghana is in decline, the challenges caused by rapid urbanisation are on the rise. Nearly half the population in Kumasi rely on public toilets, with only one toilet for every 1,000 people, and water services in low-income urban areas are often non-existent. This is having a massive knock-on effect on the population’s health, dignity and economic growth.
What are we doing to help?
We started working in Ghana in 2010, improving water and sanitation services in Accra and Kumasi. Since then we’ve developed strong relationships with service providers and policy makers to improve water and sanitation services for the country’s poorest urban communities.
Handwashing in schools, Ghana
Where we work in Ghana
Key activities in Ghana
Building the capacity of water utilities
We are working with Ghana Water Company Limited, advising on financially viable ways to provide water to low-income districts. Engaging local communities is essential to its success, and we are supporting communities to operate services on behalf of the national utility. This is helping improve the quality of services and ensure that they meet the needs of local residents.
Improving children’s well-being through better school facilities
Poor water quality, sanitation, and hygiene have a major impact on children’s health, and can limit their ability to attend school and be in a safe environment. We’re working with the Ministry of Education to provide schools in the Ga West district of Accra and in Kumasi with toilet blocks and hand washing facilities for pupils and teachers, benefiting thousands of low-income residents. We’re also working with the Ministry on adoption of standard toilet designs which take into account gender and disability. Our goal is to show a wider audience how these improved facilities benefit children’s health and school attendance.
Creating container-based sanitation solutions
In Kumasi we’ve set up a container-based sanitation business called Clean Team, which charges customers a monthly fee for providing a toilet and regularly collecting waste.
Container-based toilets have a removable cartridge which stores the faecal waste: the cartridges are periodically exchanged for empty ones and transported to a waste treatment facility for emptying and cleaning before being re-used. These types of toilets can be put into houses with no sewer connection and are ideal for people who have issues using public toilets – the old, the sick and the vulnerable. The business offers a safely-managed service at an affordable price. It’s a promising solution to urban sanitation challenges and we’re supporting efforts to make it affordable to even the lowest-income customers.
Increasing the number of toilets in compound housing
The use of public toilets is not ideal due to hygiene and security issues – while we are working with local authorities to improve public latrine block management, our long term aim is to get as many people as possible access to a private toilet.
We are working to increase the number of compounds and households with toilets. This includes growing the supply of toilets that are affordable for low-income customers, as well as training and supporting artisans and toilet salespeople to work out the best way to sell more toilets. As we improve our understanding of this market we expect to see a growth in sales.
Since the advent of WSUP, particularly in Ga West, I see a stimulated and vibrant sanitation sector where toilet sales agents, environmental health officers and toilet manufacturers play a coordinated role to promote compound sanitation.
Our Urban Sanitation Research Initiative is being implemented in Ghana in partnership with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Environmental Health and Sanitation Directorate, the Institute of Local Government Studies, and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.
The programme is supported by aid from the UK government and seeks to generate research that delivers policy change in sanitation in Bangladesh, Ghana, and Kenya, leading to improved sanitation services for low-income customers.
To find out how you can support our work in Ghana, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on +44 (0)20 7822 1867.