Community members in Dodowa contributing to sustainability transitions in their communities

Community members in Dodowa (Ghana) are getting very active to solve problems related to water, sanitation and waste management in their communities. As a result of their engagement in the Transition Management process since September 2017, community members started to actively organise in different groups and they set up multiple activities and pilot projects (also called transition experiments).

Figure 1. Two community members presenting the results of their mapping activities

One of the activity regarded the mapping and enumeration of their communities. With the collaboration of the grassroots network Slum Dwellers International and People’s Dialogue NGO, community members mapped the quantity and quality of water and sanitation services in their communities. Through these activities, they better understood which families have not access to safe water and proper sanitation services and how many areas are polluted by solid waste. One of the outcomes of this process was the recognition of the need for improving sanitation facilities at household level. In addition, community members realized their need to learn how to build sustainable sanitation facilities themselves. With the support of T-GroUP transition team, a design for biogas sustainable toilets was developed and an artisan training for biogas toilet installation was organized in April 2019.

The participants of the Transition Management process realised the importance of supporting a systemic change of practices and behaviours of community members regarding the sustainable management of their communities.  For this reason, they created active groups in their communities and they thought of very creative ways of engaging other community members.

Figure 2. Community members from Wedokum performing their drama

Theater, music and sport were thought to be very powerful to raise awareness about issues such as the importance of, for example, properly recycling (solid) waste, properly building toilets or stopping open defecation. Since August 2018, three active groups of community members from Wedokum, Zongo and Obom developed their own jingles (i.e. short songs that are usually transmitted via radio). These jingles were transmitted every day from December 15th 2017 till now. In addition, other three groups of residents from three different communities performed dramas narrating inspiring stories of change in their communities.

Joint clean up-activities were also organised through the collaboration between active groups of community members and local district assemblies (i.e. local government).

Figure 3. Community members participating in clean-up activities

The active engagement of community members is making them motivated to address also other challenges in their localities with a more collaborative attitude and critical thinking. This new mindset, collaborative spirit and willingness to act is spreading to neighbouring communities where residents are starting to meet to deal with the challenges within their communities.