About 85 percent of households in Jamestown do not have toilets inside their homes. Theater group Act for Change are determined to use plays to stop people from defecating in the open
Members of an interactive theatre group, Act for Change, have staged a performance that aims to educate the public about open defecation.
The performance on the shores of Jamestown, a fishing community in Accra, talked about the negative effects of open defecation and about the need for landlords to build toilets.
Open defecation is the practice of attending nature's call in bushes, at the beach, in drains, in plastic bags and dump sites.
Kaawa yɛ biɛ, which translates as “don’t shit here” tells the story of a confrontation between Agwao and Kpani as he (Agwao) was defecating at the beach and an intense compound house quarrel about the best place to attend nature’s call.
According to the director of Act for Change, Collins Seymah Smith, “the project is about educating people on open defecation and in Jamestown, we see it on a daily basis.
We want to add our voice and our creative efforts to drive home our message on open defecation and encourage community members to desist from it and encourage the households to build their own latrines.”
According to Smith, about 85 percent of households in Jamestown do not have toilets inside their homes. The problem is not limited to Jamestown as the United Nations children’s fund, UNICEF who co-sponsored the performance with Alliance Française, estimates that it would take Ghana 500 years to eradicate the menace if the country continues at its current pace.
Three out of five Ghanaians engage open defecation and the country was ranked second in Africa for the practice. The country has plans to eradicate open defecation by 2025 and the Goal 6 of the SDGs enjoins countries to ensure availability of clean water and sanitation for all by 2030.
Jamestown, despite its massive potential in tourism because of its colonial architecture, is one of the poorest communities in the capital. The community’s challenges include sanitation problems, teenage pregnancy and unemployment.