Cleaning brings community together


Say hello to Kwabena, a member of the Konkomba tribe in Nakpayili who has been part of our sanitation and hygiene programme since it began in 2011. Life has been tough for Kwabena, but since meeting our team in Ghana three years ago, things are improving.

Through working with the team Kwabena has been able to increase her small herd of livestock and send her children to school. Improving the sanitation around her home and community has reduced illness and time spent away from school and work. But what Kwabena is really excited about is the changes she has seen in her community.

“Through this Friday clean up exercise, this project has created good relationships between me and the community. People want us to be part of their meetings concerning the community, and they are always happy to see us.

Now that we understand the benefits of living in a clean environment, we have also been able to promote good health and environment.”

Invitations to tribe meetings is a huge step forward for this community. Before there was secrecy and isolation, but now relations are warming and these mixed meetings are a huge tribute to the relationships that have formed over the years.

Kwabena (right) with other members of the Friday clean-up team

Kwabena was one of the first to get involved with our weekly community clean-up exercise. Ineffective waste disposal across Ghana is seriously damaging the environment and people’s wellbeing. Most households burn their waste, including plastic, releasing dangerous toxins into the air around homes which is a serious threat to family health.

We are working with families like Kwabena’s to teach them about more effective waste disposal, and working to end the burning of plastics. The team are also running monthly litter picking sweeps of communities for children and young people, sorting waste for recycling and safe disposal.

Cleaning up neighbourhoods has wider benefits: during flooding there is less strain on drainage, and less waste being spread through the community. Improving waste and litter disposal also reduces habitats for flies and other pests which carry diseases like cholera, typhoid and dysentery.

Working together has created a shared vision for this community, bridging ethnic divides and giving a space for friendship to grow.