Coalition of Zongo leaders against Open Defecation calls on Chief Imam for support

The Coalition of Zongo leaders against Open Defecation has called on Chief Imam for support on Thursday October 6.

The coalition was led by the Ashanti Regional Chuef Imam, Shaik Imam Abdul Mumin Haruna

Shaik Mumin Haruan said at the metting that In July this year, the office of the Ashanti Regional Chief Imam received a message from the Regional Coordinaitng Council that a team of officers from the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources in Accra will be calling on my office to discuss issues of national concern.

The Ministry’s team indeed came, and their mission was to seek permission to promote ownership of household toilets during the Eid-ul-Adhar Prayers at the Central Mosque. In as much as the Office had not given much attention to the issue in the past, we agreed that it was critical and thus worth supporting. We therefore nonchalantly granted the request.

“The feedback from the worshippers and the patronage of the one house, one toilet message delivered by the Team from the Ministry during the Eid encouraged the Office of the Ashanti Regional Chief Imam to organize another engagement session with all Imams and Zongo Chiefs in the Greater Kumasi Area which includes the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly, Asokwa, Oforikrom, kwadaso, Asokore Mampong, Suame, Old Tafo and Ejisu. 125 Imams, Zongo Chiefs, Queen mothers, youth activists and representatives of the eight Assemblies above participated in the session, leading to the inauguration of the Coalition of Zongo Leaders Against Open Defecation (ZOLAOD) with four main objectives as follows

  • Sensitize and Orient Imams, Zongo Chiefs and their deputies about the scope, results and expected impact of the GAMA/GKMA Project on low-income Muslim communities.
  • Empower the Imams and Zongo Chiefs to further sensitize worshippers and Muslim community residents about the Project and the need to own household toilets.
  • Support the Assemblies in Greater Kumasi to identify and convince households without toilet facilities to take advantage of the opportunity being presented by the GAMA/GKMA Project.
  • Promote and Project the use of household toilets in all Zongo communities across the Country.
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“The leaders, together with the Assembly representatives at that engagement session also prepared action plans to support their respective assemblies to promote the one house, one toilet agenda. They also made a solemn “Toilet Pledge” to commit themselves to encourage, lead and support their constituents to own household toilets.”

He added “The Office of the Regional Chief Imam, since that meeting, has been coordinating the implementation of these action plans  in the various Assemblies and it  is yielding fantastic results. Some of the Imams are even leading the toilet teams to Wedding and naming ceremonies and other social gatherings to promote the household toilets. Some have also given the Assemblies the platform in their mosques to disseminate hygiene messages and the need to own household toilets.

“The Regional Chief Imam himself has also been intermittently sharing  the “Toilet Sermon” in the Central Mosque during Jummah prayers. The Office has also initiated a Toilet demand creation competition amongst the Imams in the eight assemblies and also as a registration center for all wanting to get the household toilet.

“With all these plans and activities ongoing, the Office of Ashanti Regional Chief Imam, in consultation with all the Imams and Zongo Chiefs in the Eight Assemblies decided to pay a courtesy call on the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Usman Nuhu Sharubutu, who was also made the Chief Sanitation Patron by the Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, Hon. Cecilia Abena Dapaah in 2019, to seek his blessings for the Coalition of Zongo Leaders Against Open Defecation and buy in for effective implementation of the Project in low communities in Greater Accra and Greater Kumasi.  We will therefore entreat His Eminence to nominate an officer from his Office to liaise with the Ashanti Regional Office to ensure that all Imams across the country join in the Coalition of Zongo leaders Against Open Defecation.

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“The delegation is also calling on His Imminence to impress on the Government to extend the GAMA/GKMA Sanitation and Water Project to all Zongos and other low-income communities across the whole Country since it has the potential of being a panacea to the canker of open defecation in low-income urban communities nationwide.

“Our Call for the Project to be extended to all Zongo Communities is premised on the fact that the Project’s design through the provision of the biodigester toilet technology is very convenient for the Zongo communities because it does not require too much space to construct. Also, the price of the facilities being 1200ghc for a complete toilet and 700ghc for a biodigester with a toilet seat and handwashing basin is very affordable for low-income households. Your Eminence, we are aware that the Project since its inception has constructed over 35000 toilets in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) and recently over 4300 in Greater Kumasi within 10 months of extension to the area. We are also aware that Open defecation rates in Greater Accra has reduced from 8.2 to 6.2%, as captured in the 2021 Census largely due to the presence of the Project in the region.  It is interesting to note that open defecation rates in some other urban areas have rather increased.

“The delegation, whilst in Accra, will also pay a courtesy call on the Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources today, Thursday 6th October 2022 at 2pm to assure her of their  support to the Ministry, not only in the fight against open defecation but also to assist in improving sanitation in Greater Kumasi and beyond. The delegation will cap the trip to Accra with Prayers and promotion of household toilets at the National Mosque, Kanda on Friday 7th October 2022 at I:00pm prompt.”

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