The National Chief Imam, Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu, has said fighting open defecation is a collective national responsibility which must be upheld by all.
Describing the practice as an eyesore, the Chief Imam said fighting open defecation must be of concern to all particularly Muslims since a clean environment was a prerequisite ritual for prayers.
“Open defecation with its negative effects is very demeaning, and we must support the fight to eradicate it,” he said when the Ashanti Regional Chief Imam, Sheik Imam Abdul Mumin Haruna, together with other chiefs of the Coalition of Zongo Leaders Against Open Defecation, paid a courtesy call on him on Thursday, October 6, 2022 at his residence in Accra.
The visit was to brief him about the success of a World Bank funded Water and Sanitation project which seeks to provide household toilets to low income beneficiary households within the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) and Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Area (GKMA).
The Project, since its inception in 2015, has constructed over 35,000 toilets in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) and recently over 4300 in the Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Area (GKMA), within 10 months of extension to the area.
As part of their visit, the chiefs revealed the official logo of the Coalition of Zongo Leaders Against Open Defecation.
Youth led groups and Queen mothers of the various communities also joined the coalition for the visit.
The Chief Imam reiterated the need for communities to keep their surroundings clean and to ensure that households had toilets.
To effectively curb the menace of open defecation, he said it would require the efforts of all persons who must make it a personal initiative to uphold the principle of cleanliness.
Sheikh Sharubutu expressed his commitment and support towards ensuring a clean environment for the next generation adding, “We must all work together to eradicate open defecation”.
For his part, Sheik Haruna, who briefed the Chief Imam, said following the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources project to promote ownership of household toilets during the Eid-ul-Adha Prayers at the Central Mosque in the Ashanti region, his office was inspired to organise another engagement session with all Imams and Zongo Chiefs in the Greater Kumasi Area.
Some of the participants were from the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly, Asokwa, Oforikrom, Kwadaso, Asokore Mampong, Suame, Old Tafo and Ejisu minucipalities.
He added that 125 Imams, Zongo Chiefs, Queen mothers, youth activists and representatives of the eight Assemblies participated in the session, leading to the inauguration of the Coalition of Zongo Leaders Against Open Defecation (ZOLAOD) with the objective to Sensitise 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 among others.
Again, Sheik Haruna noted that his outfit has also been intermittently sharing the “Toilet Sermon” in the Central Mosque during Jummah prayers as part of efforts to promote sanitation.
The Ashanti Regional Chief Imam further called on the National Chief Imam to impress on the government to extend the GAMA/GKMA Sanitation and Water Project to all zongos and other low-income communities across the country to help deal with open defecation.
“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,” he added.
At the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources, the Deputy minister, Amidu Issahaku Chinnia, who received the delegation on behalf of the substantive minister commended the chiefs for embracing the ministry’s project.
He assured the delegation, that the ministry will continue to give zongo communities the needed support for a defecation free community in the future.