COUNTRY/TOWN: Ghana / Ahwiam
The project “Painting Africa: Women Against Malaria” aims to combat malaria and other diseases transmitted by pests by raising women’s awareness and educating them in matters concerning hygiene, cleanliness and sanitation, thereby giving them a significant role in improving sanitary conditions for their families.
The first phase of the project was carried out in the community of Ahwiam near the capital Accra. It involved an intensive campaign of cleaning, waste removal and raising awareness among the people. To do so, there was also participation from the local NGO “Wildaf Ghana”, the authorities and the local waste management company responsible for rubbish collection in the community. Containers were installed in the places proposed by the community and an agreement was reached on how often the rubbish is to be collected. Although an initiative such as this may seem like a modest one, it managed to change the local population’s attitude and mobilise it on a massive scale. Furthermore, the women are becoming true drivers behind social transformation.
In order to raise awareness and mobilise the local population as regards the importance of suitably managing waste and maintaining good conditions of hygiene, a series of fun, artistic activities were held in which the community of Ahwiam was actively involved. Workshops were organised for adults aimed at showing that waste management is a responsibility and a right, as well as activities for children in order to raise their awareness while having fun.
The second phase of the project kicked off in 2016. The We Are Water Foundation also participated, with whom the architectural project was drawn up to build a public toilet and shower building in Ahwiam. The aim was to create facilities and infrastructure based on environmental and economic sustainability, helping to improve the town’s sanitary conditions.
This service, constructed by a local builder and now up and running, is being managed by a group of women from the village, financed by fees from the citizens to use the toilets and by sales from a small shop included in the facilities.