Group of people around a latrine

For World Toilet Day, SPRING Recognizes the Importance of Good Hygiene in Nutrition

Today, more people have access to mobile phones than to toilets, according to the WHO. While this may sound unbelievable, it is a daily reality for the 2.4 billion people without adequate sanitation. To highlight this lack, the SPRING project is participating in #WorldToiletDay awareness activities.

In raising awareness for World Toilet Day, we’re focused on the connection between nutrition and sanitation. Much of our work in Ghana deals with promoting healthy water, sanitation and hygiene actions (WASH), particularly for pregnant women and children under two years of age. A major component of our WASH strategy is the community led total sanitation (CLTS) agenda. Open defecation near farm fields can lead to contamination, causing bacterial infections and diarrhea, which impacts nutrition and community members’ health. Having a clean play space for young children is also vital, as their curious nature can led them to put dirty hands and contaminated objects into their mouths. We lead trainings and community mobilization activities to trigger community members to build latrines and engage in healthy WASH lifestyles, like handwashing at critical times and using only boiled or treated water for children’s consumption.

Ghanaian communities have been receptive to these WASH activities and participants, like Kwame Awin, have noticed improvements in their lives. Kwame, a farmer in the Kpikparibulug village in Ghana’s Upper East region, recently built a latrine for his family’s use. Before learning about WASH, many people in the community defecated on the farm fields, contaminating the crops.

“I love fresh beans, but have not eaten them in a couple of years now because of the human feces,” said Kwame. “Many people had diarrhea from the pollution.”

Now, the community is working toward achieving an open defecation free status as more households are building latrines.

World Toilet Day reminds us of the need for proper sanitation around the world and the SPRING project has been working year-round to improve sanitation and hygiene in communities in Ghana’s Upper East and Northern regions. Community mobilization and trainings are vital to our projects’ success, as we work to make clear the connection between good hygiene and improved nutrition.

Follow our Twitter feed (@SPRINGProject2) to learn more about #WorldToiletDay awareness and why #WeCantWait for change, visit the WASHPlus blog to read more about our work in Ghana and explore SPRING's WASH-nutrition resources.