• Head Office Address: Odotei Tsui Loop, adjacent Ghana Refugee Board, Dzorwulu, Accra East
  • (+233 (0) 303 971 433 / 303 971 435
  • Head Office Address; Odotei Tsui Loop, adjacent Ghana Refugee Board, Dzorwulu, Accra East
  • +233 (0) 303 971 433 / 303 971 435
  • Tamale

World Toilet Day – A moment for women tackling global sanitation crisis

The World Health Organization and UNICEF estimate that 4.2 billion people, including women and children across the world live without safely managed sanitation, and 673 million still engage in open defecation. This means many people are at still at risk of diseases like cholera and dysentery poor sanitation poses.

World Toilet Day is celebrated on November 19 every year to trigger actions aimed at and help achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6). As the United Nations puts it, a toilet facility is not just a toilet facility. It is a lifesaver, dignity-protector and opportunity-maker.

On World Toilet Day, we spare a moment to appreciate all women who are helping communities to own and use toilet facilities. One of such women is Portia Abugbilla, an HFFG Project Officer working on the Government of Ghana-UNICEF Enhanced (WASH) programme in the Northern Region of Ghana.

As a District Resource Person attached to the Mion District Assembly, Portia has helped seventy-one (71) communities to be declared Open Defecation Free Communities from 2017 -2019.

Under the programme, she provides technical assistance, facilitates and participates in Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) activities undertaken by the District Environmental and Community Development at Mion.

According to UNICEF, every year, 297 000 children (under 5 years) across the globe die due to diarrhoea linked to poor sanitation.  To Portia, the declaration of a community open defecation free is always a fulfilling moment.

“When a whole community is declared open defecation free, to me I have been able to solve one of that community’s problems, especially for children under five and pregnant women who are the most vulnerable when it comes to diseases associated with open defecation such cholera and typhoid,” she declares.

Reaching over 100 communities with a motorbike, sometimes in tough conditions is not easy but the desire to help solve the global sanitation crisis is something she is always proud of.

“ I feel happy to change someone’s behaviour especially with regards to open defecation, people have lived with it their entire life n didn’t see the need to end it. So for me to at least use 1-3 months to be able to convince someone to know that open defecation is bad hence the need for a household toilet and builds a toilet for his/her household is a great achievement,” Portia adds.