Getting arrested for open defecation

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building washroom in Saltpond

When the Love Africa Project founders went to lower Saltpond, Ghana in December 2017 to start a public washroom construction, they knew it was the start of an important addition to the surrounding beach front community.

Especially when while in Ghana, LAP co-founders, Kwame Ben Eden and Marshalette McTyson, heard news of people being arrested for open defecation in Elmina, which is about 45 minutes to an hour away from Saltpond. The result of these kinds of arrests, they were told, could be a hefty fine or imprisonment.

Fine or imprisonment

In the municipality of Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abirem (KEEA) at the Elmina Beach and nearby Salt mining fields, ten people were arrested for open defecation.

Authorities in the area have resorted to fines and prison time for people who defecate outdoors after the municipality was hit hard by cholera two years ago.

In 2017 over 20 people were fined GHC300 for open defecation and one person was sent to prison for six months.

Last year 63 people in Sekondi-Takoradi were arrested for the same offense.

Reward for outing open defecators

One municipality took the more extreme step of offering rewards to people who take pictures of fellow residents relieving themselves outside and report them to authorities.

The Akuapem North Municipal Assembly has taken the drastic measure, as they try to tackle challenges with water, education, sanitation and revenue mobilization.

Ending open defecation

Ending the practice of open defecation isn’t an easy feat. UNICEF’s Country Director, David Duncan, says unless changes are made now it’ll take 500 years to end open defecation for good.

According to Issahaku Alhassan, the Chief Director of the Northern Regional Coordinating Council, people defecating outside costs Ghana about $79 million per year.

The Love Africa Project’s mission is to end open defecation by building access to toilets. Currently the organization is constructing public washrooms in Ghana. Help the Love Africa Project build dignity and wellness by donating here today.

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