On Tuesday, June 21st, and Friday, June 23rd, the Asutifi North District Assembly, in collaboration with its ANAM WASH partners, held community engagement programs dubbed Mekrom Ahonidie Mpumtuo in the communities of Kensere and Agravi, respectively.
This forms part of efforts to engage chiefs and residents of small communities in the district on ways to strengthen the ANAM WASH project and encourage their buy-in and ownership of WASH facilities provided under the project.
At Kensere, the Head of the District Planning Unit, Bismarck Kyere Asante who led a team of officers from the District Assembly called on Nananom and residents to help in improving Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene services.
“If we do not take good care of the water facilities and improve our sanitation and hygiene services, there may be contamination and spread of infections”, he said.
In addition, Mr. Asante said, “Assembly is no longer permitted to construct public toilets under law. We should take advantage of the programs under the initiative to make sure each and every one of us has toilets in our households”.
At Agravi, he praised the teachers of Agravi Basic school saying, “we did a little excursion when we came earlier, the teachers of the basic school should be applauded. They have proven to be champions of sanitation.”
Chiefly among issues that were concerns in both communities for the officials was an invasion of school latrines by community members.
District Environmental Health Officer, Prince John Ntem decrying the practice said “the latrines were purposely made for school children and teachers. That is why we lock it when school closes but when we went to inspect it, people break the locks to use it whilst others have defecated openly around the latrines.”
He however praised the chief of Krakyekrom and called on the other chiefs to lead by example. “When we started the CLTS program at Krakyekrom, Nana Abebrese said he will be the first person to construct a latrine and did so within two weeks. His people followed in his steps with little effort from our side”, he said.
Mr.Ntem further called on them to “take advantage of the Community-Led Total Sanitation, CLTS, and Sanitation Market programs to build yourselves household latrines using materials available in your surroundings”.
Assembly member of Kensere electoral area, Larry Suleman contributing to how to defeat open defecation suggested that, “about 2 or 3 households can come together to share the cost for one latrine if they cannot readily construct individually.”
Volunteer WASH Ambassadors for all participating communities were launched. Chief of Kensere, Nana Kwame Asamoah II who personally volunteered as an Ambassador called on the public to be cooperative with them to ease the work.
Chiefs and residents from neighbouring small communities include Aboagyaa, Adu Kwadwokrom, Kwamkobi, Osei Kwame, Asrifikrom, DCkrom, Banuyena, Pokukrom, Onyinase, krakyekrom, Kojo Nkrumah, Pokukrom, Yabeneagya, Anwonakrom, Kwabenafo, Ntrakwa, Anlo Mensah, Charleskrom, Forest Ano, Biaso Kasapin, Beposo and others were also present at the events.