National Convener of M-CODe calls on authorities to enforce building permits and by-laws
The National Convener of the Media Coalition Against Open Defecation (M-CODe), Mr Francis Ameyibor has called on Regional Coordinating Councils (RCC) and the various Metropolitan Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to strictly enforce building permits and bye-laws that compel landlords and potential developers of houses to include toilet facilities in their building plans.
He said that has become necessary as it was the first measure and best measure to ending widespread open defecation that has become problematic in the country.
“The RCC and MMDAs play critical roles in granting building permit and hence the starting point to eradicating open defecation is the enforcement of building laws and bye laws which compels potential developers to include toilet facilities in their building plans,” he said.
Mr Ameyibor made the call in Koforidua during the launch of the Eastern Regional M-CODe Open Defecation Free Stakeholders Engagement Platform which was purposed to accelerate the fight against the practice in the region while they contributed to helping the country to eradicate it by 2030.
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 gabs, and work together towards a common goal of eradicating the practice.
Stakeholders on the platform would include the RCC, 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 and the media (CWSA).
Mr Ameyibor stated that it was a disgrace to all Ghanaians that in the 21st century, some people continued to engage in open defecation, and stated the practice cast a slur on the country, especially on the international scene.
He said there was the need for the RCC and MMDAs to be supported to educate the public to understand that building permits would only be granted to potential developers with strategic building plans that clearly showed that toilet facilities would be included in their plans.
“While we work to ensure that old houses without toilets rectify the anomalies, we must ensure that new buildings are not allowed to spring up without toilet facilities,” he said.
He stated the Eastern Regional M-CODe platform would relentlessly engage the RCC and MMDAs to play a bigger role towards the achievement of open defecation free Ghana as “we seek through the platform to rejuvenate public awareness campaign towards the global target of elimination of open defecation by 2030.”
He said as part of measures MMDAs and RCCs doing well to end open defecation would be applauded while other who do not would be exposed, adding that other stakeholders including World Vision, Greater Accra Metropolitan Area Sanitation and Water Project, religious and traditional leaders, among others would be involved and called on corporate world to support national and regional efforts with the required investment.
For his part, the World Vision Ghana Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Technical Coordinator, Mr Yaw Atta Arhin stated that his outfit would continue to support the government and other stakeholders to hasten access to basic sanitation infrastructure to help in improved sanitation of the country.
He said while the country has made significant progress to ensuring access to safe water, the progress towards universal access to improved sanitation and ending open defecation has been slow.
He therefore urged the M-CODe to scale up its efforts across the country by organizing innovative programmes and engage significant stakeholders as well as use social and traditional media to educate the public and end open defecation.
From Ama Tekyiwaa Ampadu Agyeman, Koforidua