Journalists in the Central Region last Thursday were given training by organisers of the Open Defecation Free Ghana Campaign ahead of its launch. T
he campaign is scheduled to be launched in Central Region on the 7th of December. Meanwhile, the region ranks fifth in Open Defecation in Ghana according to Ghana Statistical Services, says Emmanuel Addai, a UNICEF Ghana communication consultant.
Speaking to the press, Emmanuel Addai revealed the purpose of involving journalists in the Open Defecation Free Ghana Campaign was to give thorough briefing to the media and to “discuss the role that the media can play to ensure that the campaign actually succeeds.”
He added that “the campaign is targeting eradication of open defecation from Ghana as part of the total sanitation campaign that the president launched in November.”
The deliberations with media included: the issue of open defecation and how it is affecting the socio-economic life of Ghanaians the various roles that various individuals, professions, associations and institutions can play in eradicating open defecation. Also discussed, was how some communities had managed to stop open defecation and the roles that individual journalists and media houses can play in the campaign.
File Photo : Open defecation on a beach in Ghana
The communication expert concluded that “the media is very central to the success of the campaign and the media can take any angle at all of the campaign that they want to focus on and try to also package the programmes, the discussions, the writings such that it might attract support or sponsorship from corporate Ghana or any philanthropist who is also interested in the campaign.”
Highlighting ways through which the media could help, Addai noted that a journalist could focus on chiefs, regional and district authorities, schools without toilets, and expose communities that are being recalcitrant in eradicating open defecation.
Addai disclosed that as part of UNICEF’s agenda, UNICEF has selected the five poorest regions in open defecation to support them to eradicate open defecation in Ghana.
According to Addai, “Upper East comes top with seventy-four percent rate followed by Northern Region with about sixty-eight percent rate Upper West about forty-nine percent, and Volta Region about twenty-three percent and Central about thirteen point five percent.”
File Photo : Trucks releasing human waste into the sea
He bemoaned that “given the efforts and the support especially from UNICEF and other NGO’s to the government to eradicate open defecation in the region I think the region is not being adequately responsive because UNICEF, for instance, has selected the five poorest regions in the country to support them and out of these five poorest regions, Central region seems to be lagging behind in terms of progress because all the other regions have higher number of open defecation communities than Central Region.”
He said that for offenders, “They can be prosecuted because it is illegal to do that. In terms of the penalty it’s up to the courts to determine that.”
In his words, “we have also been talking against the fact that people are not being given punishments that are not deterrent enough.”
Source: ATL FM NEWS