Nii Odarlai Lamptey, a 56 year old fisherman in Chorkor, one of Accra’s biggest fishing enclaves, is among several residents who are confronted with the daily challenge of poor sanitation in the sprawling suburb of Accra.
For Mr. Lamptey, who also doubles as a community leader, the fight against filth in his community is almost a lost battle as the situation gets worse by the day, with children being the most affected with all sorts of communicable diseases.
“Most residents seem to have given up on the issue of the negative attitudes to sanitation even though it is one of the main hurdles that need to be scaled if the community will ever develop.” He says.
It therefore came to him and several other residents as great relief when their community, Chemu Naa, was chosen by United Way Ghana for this year’s annual Day of Caring.
With funding from Japan Motors and Coca-Cola Equatorial, United Way Ghana held this year’s Day of Caring event at the St. Moses Preparatory and High School in Chemu Naa, a suburb of Chorkor in Accra.
This year’s event, unlike that of previous years, kicked off a chain of activities planned by United Way Ghana to encourage attitudinal change towards education and sanitation in Chorkor.
Ms. Adiki Ayitevie, Chair of the Governing Council of United Way Ghana, says, all the activities the organization is embarking on this year are based on the need to reshape attitudes towards sanitation in Ghana, and Chorkor, she says, is a great place to start.
“This year’s Day of Caring is not an event but a kick off of a long term project to tackle the environmental issues in Chorkor through schools and St. Moses is the first of many schools that will be visited.
Every child who is well educated and understands the need to protect the environment is one big step closer to keeping Chorkor and Ghana clean”.
Mr Lamptey is excited about the project and its prospect of changing the sanitation story in Chorkor. He says it’s a great idea that the project has a focus on children and sees it as a watershed moment in the fight against poor sanitation in the community.
“Prior to interacting with the community impact team from United Way Ghana, I thought the fight against filth in his community was lost but the activities outlined by the team make me believe that we can turn things around. Empowering the children to begin the change is a great way to start”
On the day of the event, United Way Ghana volunteers from Barclays Ghana, Impact Generation, Aviation Social Center and Accolm mentor, took the time to teach and interact with pupils of St. Moses Preparatory School; the school had just benefited from a library set up the organization.
One couldn’t help but notice the excitement of 13 year old Akweley, a primary 5 pupil at the School as she buried her face in one of the new library books donated by Ghana Book Trust.
She told the volunteer helping her read that she loves to read but had no access to books in her school or community because there was no library. In order to nurture her love for books, Akweley says she sometimes takes a 4 kilometer walk along a busy highway to the nearest community that has a public library, just to read a book.
With a broad smile on her face, she mumbled shyly “With this new library in our school I can read whenever I want and that makes me happy. Thank you”
The volunteers also worked with children and teachers to start a recycling program as a way of keeping their environment clean. Street Girls Aid, one of United Way Ghana’s NGO affiliates, conducted a workshop for the children, showing them how they can transform empty water sachets into useful items like wallets, bags and purses.
Other volunteers taught children how to use their new Veronica Buckets to properly wash their hands with soap and water whiles another group of volunteers conducted reading, drawing and mentoring session with children. The final group of volunteers painted the library and did some masonry work.
The headmaster of the school Mr. Eric Bondzie expressed gratitude, as he watched volunteers serve lunch to the children and hand them drinks and water donated by Kalypo and Bel Aqua.
Closing an exciting day of volunteering, The Executive Director of United Way Ghana, remarked that, “Thanks to all the corporate partners who supported this initiative, Akweley and her friends now have a library that can help them achieve their educational goals and community leaders like Mr. Lamptey can begin to re-engage members of the community to support the push to rid Chorkor off filth.