From Toilets to Taps: Taking on COVID-19 in Ghana

iDE’s toilet business Sama Sama has kicked off the “Sama Sama Cares” campaign, combating the threat of COVID-19 in rural Ghanaian towns with handwashing and public health marketing. Sama Sama Managing Director Osei Agyeman-Buahin says that, as in other parts of the world, the pandemic is generating a lot of fear. However, he says, “We are guided by the ‘Sama Sama Feeling’. In good times, this represents dignity, aspiration and a brighter future. In these times of uncertainty, the Sama Sama Feeling stands for humaneness and empathy.”

Curbing the spread of the virus requires frequent handwashing with soap – no easy task in many parts of Ghana.

The Sama Sama team, which has helped more than 50,000 people to access proper toilets for the first time, is now installing handwashing stations in public places across towns in northern Ghana. To-date, 21 stations are up and running. Stations are deliberately located in high-traffic areas to provide clean water, soap and paper towels for the hundreds or thousands who pass by daily. A Sama Sama team member keeps each station supplied and distributes public health flyers. Each station costs $5,500 to set up, staff and maintain.

The Sama Sama team is also sponsoring pandemicrelated ads on two radio stations to reach Ghanaians in nine northern districts. Airing daily, the “Sama Sama Corner” program counters prevalent rumours and misinformation with factual updates and reminders about proper handwashing and physical distancing.

Thanks to the generosity of iDE partners such as Global Affairs Canada, The Manitoba Council for International Cooperation and individual donors like you, our Sama Sama team is able to provide these life-saving facilities. Thank you!