The Media Coalition Against Open Defecation (M-CODe) has made a passionate appeal to the Regional Coordinating Councils (RCCs), Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to strictly enforce building permits and bylaws that will compel landlords, homeowners, and potential developers of houses to include toilet facilities in their building plans.
According to the coalition, strictly adhering to and enforcing these directives before permits are issued to developers to go ahead with construction is the first step and best measure to ending widespread open defecation, which is fast becoming a major problem.
In an interview with journalists in Koforidua on the sidelines of the launch of the Eastern Regional M-CODe Open Defecation Free Stakeholders Engagement Platform, which is expected to ignite the fight against the practice in the region and help the country eradicate it by 2030, the Convenor of M-Code, Mr. Francis Ameyibor, called on the agencies not to issue permits to developers who fail to include toilet facilities.
“The RCCs and MMDAs play critical roles in granting building permits, and therefore the starting point to eradicating open defecation is the enforcement of building laws and bylaws that compel potential developers to include toilet facilities in their building plans. It is a disgrace to all Ghanaians that in the 21st century, some people continue to engage in open defecation. This practice casts a slur on the country, especially on the international scene,” he said.
“There is a need for the RCCs and MMDAs to be supported to educate the public to understand that building permits will only be granted to potential developers with strategic building plans that clearly show that toilet facilities will be included in their plans. While we work to ensure that old houses without toilets are rectified, we must ensure that new buildings are not allowed to spring up without toilet facilities,” he added.
He further stated that the Eastern Regional M-CODe platform would relentlessly engage the RCCs and MMDAs to play a bigger role towards the achievement of an open defecation-free Ghana. The platform would also seek to rejuvenate public awareness campaigns towards the global target of eliminating open defecation by 2030.
On his part, the World Vision Ghana Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Technical Coordinator, Mr. Yaw Atta Arhin, indicated that his outfit would continue to support the government and other stakeholders to hasten access to basic sanitation infrastructure to help improve the sanitation of the country.
The launch of the platform, which formed part of the “M-CODe 2023 Anti-Open Defecation Nationwide Advocacy” efforts supported by World Vision, would also ensure collaboration between media practitioners and other stakeholders to work together to identify challenges and operational gaps, and work together towards a common goal of eradicating the practice.
Stakeholders on the platform would include the RCCs, Regional Environmental Health Office, National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Regional SHEP, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, and Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA).