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Gomoa Gyaman (“go-Moh-ah Jah-mon”) is a village of around 2,500 individuals in Ghana, Africa. It is located about fifty miles from Accra, the capital of Ghana.
We performed an initial assessment trip to Gomoa Gyaman from August 16th to August 27th, 2013. During our time in the community we met with village elders to discuss the needs of the community. We also performed interviews with several residents to get a better idea of what problems were on everyone’s minds. All members responded that they needed to improve the sanitation in the community.
The village has few latrines. The Ghanaian government constructed two latrines (containing six stalls each) for use by a local school house. One of these is filled and unable to be emptied due to its construction and location. The other is reserved strictly for the school and it is illegal for it to be used by anyone other that the students during the school day. The community has constructed public pit latrines, however these are little more than holes in the ground. When these are filled, they top them off with soil and dig a new latrine next to it. This wastes valuable property in the community. They also have been digging their latrines too deep, endangering their water supply from the community wells. For the poorer areas in the community, they use the woods behind their house, offering potential for disease.
As a response to this, the RHIT chapter of Engineers Without Borders is implementing a latrine system in the community. These latrines will be able to be emptied and will be built entirely out of local materials. We intend to educate the local laborers on the construction of the latrines, as well as why the latrine is built the way it is. This should prevent further contamination of the water supply as well as save property in the community. There will be hand-washing stations in front of the latrines to help improve hygiene and we will educate them as to its importance in daily life. A team intends to travel in August of 2015 to implement the first latrine.