The Sanitation Challenge for Ghana challenges Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies in Ghana to team up with their citizens, innovators and solvers to design and implement liquid waste management strategies to transform the livelihoods of Ghana’s urban centres.

The challenge

Ghana has experienced strong and sustained economic growth (averaging 6.6%) over the last years, translating into substantial socio-economic improvements. The country has become one of the first Sub-Saharan African countries to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) of halving poverty, hunger, and population without access to improved water supply by 2015. As expected, economic growth has been accompanied by rapid urbanization and a majority of Ghanaians (51%) live in urban areas. In five years Ghana’s population is expected to turn the 30 million mark (29,746,000)1. It is also estimated that the percentage of the country’s population living in urban communities will constitute about sixty 60% (59.2)2. However, the provision of basic services including the management of human excreta (basic sanitation) has not kept up with the rapid urban growth and it is particularly affecting people living in low-income areas.

Sanitation coverage in urban Ghana is 20%

Improved sanitation in Ghana covers only 14% of the population, while according to the Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) estimates the average across SubSahara Africa is close to 30%. Sanitation coverage in urban Ghana is 20%. This is one of the lowest and remains way below the 41.3% regional average of SubSahara Africa. About 72% of Ghana’s urban population use shared public latrines, an appalling public health phenomenon. It is estimated that 7% practice open defecation. Most urban authorities discharge raw faecal matter into the sea or into open fields. Going by the current trajectory, it is feared that 90% of faeces generated (excreted) by urban residents is literally deposited in the immediate environment regardless of the dire public health consequences. It is important however to state that statistics are not available at the national level to measure the exact scale of the problem. Analysis of the very low urban sanitation coverage reveals wide variations; inequalities and inequities regarding the provision of sanitation services.

The Sanitation Challenge for Ghana

In 2015 the Government of Ghana announced the launch of an exciting new challenge for Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in Ghana. The aim is to promote competition among MMDAs, and motivate them to team up with their citizens, innovators and solvers to design and implement liquid waste management strategies, to bring about transformational change to poor households in urban centres with population of more than 15,000 people.

The Government of Ghana represented by its Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) and its Environmental Health and Sanitation Directorate (EHSD) are leading the Sanitation Challenge for Ghana. IMC Worldwide, an international development consultancy based in London, is acting as agent from the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and is managing the prize implementation. IRC Ghana and WASHeatlh Solutions are providing support to implementation in Ghana.

Download the brochure of the Sanitation Challenge for Ghana