Ending open defecation
How big is the challenge?
Simply put, it’s huge.
- Around 64% of Ghanaians live without access to toilets or shared toilets where they live according to Afrobarometer’s 2015 report.
- The report also indicates that 17% of Ghanaians have access to latrines in their compounds, but not inside their homes.
- Only 19% of Ghana’s citizens have toilets inside their homes.
- More than eight in 10 children in Ghana don’t have access to a basic toilet. These children are among the over 60% of people in the West African nation that don’t have access to toilets in their homes. That’s close to half of the population of Canada.
A 2014 report revealed that 63,000 children have died in Ghana since 2000 due to illnesses stemming from a lack of toilets, hygiene services and clean water.
Globally 10 million children under the age of five have died since the year 2000. Those numbers are far too high and in fact shouldn’t exist.
What does this all mean?
It means that people have to go find a place to relieve themselves. It’s a basic human function and without a toilet you have to improvise.
Unfortunately, it’s not unusual for people to have to resort to open defecation.
Men, women and children often find a bush or maybe some other, possibly dangerous, location to relieve themselves.
Safety and hygiene concerns
So safety is a concern for young and vulnerable people, particularly children.
What’s more, a lack of toilets means there’s probably no sink with clean running water available to immediately wash your hands in a bush or wherever else you choose to relieve yourself.
This could mean you end up innocently spreading illnesses to yourself and others before you get the opportunity to wash your hands.
It’s definitely something many of us in the western world take for granted. It’s something we don’t normally think about when we wake up in the middle of the night at home and stumble half asleep to the bathroom.
Improving access to toilets will help improve sanitation. Complete bathroom facilities means being able to use an actual toilet and wash your hands in a sink immediately afterwards, which prevents the transmission of illnesses that can come from contamination from human excrement.
Improving sanitation by creating greater access to toilets and hygiene services, means children don’t have to live and play in areas contaminated with human waste.
Women and girls
It also means that many young girls don’t have to stay home from school during their menstrual cycles because of the lack of adequate washroom facilities in their schools.
Let’s face it, women and young girls especially need access to toilets and facilities with clean, running water to ensure their sanitation needs are met.
So, that’s the challenge and the Love Africa Project is ready to face it. But we need your help.
what can a toilet do?
A toilet can bring improved sanitation, hygiene and prevent illness for a whole community