Rural water and sanitation in Ghana is considered and seen as a social issue and not merely a technical or financial one. Sanitation, in general has always been an afterthought in past water and sanitation programmes in Ghana until the launch of the country’s Community Water and Sanitation Programme (CWSP) in 1994 when situation reversed. The implementation strategy of the CWSP focused on the creation of a market for sanitation facilities and services using community based artisans with a recognition for a synergy between water and sanitation. The sanitation component involved fundamental behavioural and attitudinal changes at the household level.
The decade of 1970-80 may be described as the lost decade for sanitation programmes in Ghana since there was no mention of sanitation in water and sanitation programmes. In the ensuing decade of 1980-90, water and sanitation projects did not seriously consider sanitation and this decade may be described as the decade of awareness to start recognizing sanitation in its own right within water and sanitation programmes. The national communal Ventilated Improved Pit (VIP) latrines programme implemented from 1980 to1987 on the initiatives of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development was unsustainable due to constraints in funding. Except for a UNDP assisted project in two regions (Volta and Central) of the country in 1984-87 and a project implemented under a Programme of Actions to Mitigate the Social Cost of Adjustment (PAMSCAD) which made the building of five (5) demonstration latrines for each hand dug well provided in a community, sanitation programmes in rural Ghana in the past was almost nonexistent. Most water and sanitation projects in the past considered and assumed that sanitation is part of hygiene education on water component.
The situation changed considerably in the early part of 1990. Local experiences and lessons from re-designed UNDP pilot water and sanitation projects in two regions (Volta and Eastern) and successful sanitation programmes from other parts of the world paved the way for what is today the rural sanitation of Ghana. In deed, the national community water and sanitation policy and strategy for sanitation promotion was formulated in 1994.
National Community Water and Sanitation Programme
The objectives, policies and strategies of the CWSP have been defined through a long process of dialogue between government, funding agencies, service providers and users and other stakeholder representatives. The objectives of the CWSP are summarized as:
•Provide the basic water and sanitation services to communities that will contribute towards the capital cost and pay the normal operations, maintenance and repair costs of their facilities; •Ensure sustainability of these facilities through community ownership and management, community decision-making in their design and active involvement of women at all stages of individual projects; •Promote efficient, cost effective and sustainable delivery of improved water supply and sanitation facilities through private sector promotion and support; •Maximize health benefits by integrating water, sanitation and hygiene education interventions, including the establishment of hygiene education and latrine construction capabilities at village level.
The strategies of the programme include the following:
•Demand responsive approach to delivery of facilities;
•Public sector facilitation, with CWSP as the lead government agency; •Private sector provision of goods and services;
•Community ownership and management
•Integration of hygiene education with the provision of water and sanitation facilities; •Gender mainstreaming at all levels of sector activities.
Status of Implementation
Table 1. Distribution and percentage coverage of latrines provided by CWSP RegionPopulationCommunitiesRural Households with Sanitation FacilitySanitation Coverage %