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Integrated Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Women and the Marginalized

Villagers and city-dwellers in northern Ghana are better managing human waste, thanks to this project. It takes an integrated approach to water management, including building latrines and promoting permaculture activities like composting. The initiative is improving hygiene in communities where it works, while increasing water quality at the same time.

Fast facts:

  • 120 communities in target area
  • 30 communities certified to be free of open defecation
  • 20 water systems installed
  • 10 sanitation systems installed

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The problem

Sanitation facilities in many areas of Africa are lacking, leading to pollution of the  land and water, as well as creating health hazards.


The solution

A consortium of Ghanaian non-governmental organizations is working with the Dutch WASH Alliance on community-led sanitation in northern Ghana, including the city of Tamale. Communities are empowered to establish plans for how to manage garbage and prevent open defecation. The project helps them to install latrines and toilets in homes and schools. Through the project, communities are getting water and hand-washing systems, and being educated on better hygiene.

The project is also promoting water conservation and aquaculture along rivers in northern Ghana, and facilitated a compost firm in producing more organic compost for local farmers.

Helping the planet

Rivers in the region benefit from less pollution. Water conservation efforts have improved air humidity, staving off desertification from the encroaching Sahara, and even increased rainfall in some areas. Use of compost by local farmers is improving the soil’s capacity to hold moisture, further helping create humid microclimates.

Helping people

Improved sanitation prevents the spread of illness, improving the health of those in the communities. Since water quality has improved, people there don’t have to walk as far to fetch water. Promotion of aquaculture and composting are contributing to higher yields, improving food security.

Spillover effect

The project is based on local financing, decreasing dependency on external funding and allowing for follow through. The focus on local materials and technologies could also help the project grow.

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