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Diplomats worry about Canadian funding for Ghana's open defecation campaign

Photo of the file: The photo was taken on August 27, 2014 in a community called Attakrom in the Volta Region of Ghana during a process of triggering the CLTS. The scene represents community members who are actively drawing the community defecation card under the guidance of Environmental Health Assistants (EHA). Blue papers show landmarks (palaces, schools, churches, sources of drinking water) while light green papers indicate households. (Photo by SuSanA Secretariat / Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

TORONTO – Canadian diplomats have felt the need to justify hundreds of thousands of dollars for a campaign to halt open defecation in Ghana due to 39, use of development funds,

The public health project included a large graphic display panel showing people squatting on a beach with the slogan: "Beaches are not toilets – do not do not do it here. "A Government of Canada mark is strategically placed at the bottom beside the Ghanaian government logos and the UN aid program, UNICEF

Documents obtained under the Access to information laws show that the Canadian end of the record has subsided after the launch of the project in Ghana last fall. The photograph of the billboard started circulating on social media

"Canada pays for signs in Ghana telling people not to go to the beach," tweeted a user by the handle of Karoumi in late May with a picture of the anti-defecation poster. "This is not a good use of taxpayers' money."

Negative comments, including the tweet, drew the attention of Canadian officials in Ghana's capital city. Accra, the issuing of documents partially redacted. They worried about the extent to which the criticism could grow, especially because the opposition Conservatives were marked in the tweet and the minister had to be prepared in case questions would arise in Ottawa

. At an unidentified contact from UNICEF, the first secretary of the Canadian High Commission in Ghana asked for information about the campaign. The e-mail specifically mentions the billboards, which were meant to "create shame" for people to refrain from the practice, "said the official." The photos have attracted tremendous public interest in Ghana and Canada. "Chimsi, a Canadian development officer with the High Commission." In order for us to be able to properly address these concerns on our platform, we would like to know which entity or person (the Government of Ghana) approved this methodology and the use of images for advertising material. "

An unidentified UNICEF official responded that the sanitation campaign conducted by The Ghanaian government, launched by the president in November, was the result of a national development priority aimed at eliminating open defecation, according to the UNICEF chief, Canada's financial contribution. – about $ 850,000 – has helped address one of Ghana's most "important" development challenges, added the official, adding that the money had played an important role in The First Secretary of the Commission, Francis Bedros, forwarded UNICEF's response to Ottawa under the title "Twitter storm – Canada Wordmark" on the "Stop Open Defecation" signage in Ghana. was circulated to senior officials of Global Affairs, who decided not to give an immediate response to the public, but encouraged the preparation of background material in case "tweets would be picked up by the media / opposition."

Conservative MP and immigration critic, Michelle Rempel, a thorn in the Liberal government side lie. In response to Karoumi's tweet, Rempel sent a tweet of his own:

"Nearly one billion people have to defecate in the open.Education on basic sanitary practices and access to sanitation is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of the disease and, as such, is important for development spending, "wrote Rempel.

Bedros immediately shared Rempel's "very good answer" among his officials

The documents show that Canada has been working with UNICEF since 2012 to end open defecation in the United States. Ghana. At the launch of the new campaign in northern Ghana in November, Bedros delivered a speech in front of the VIP rally in which he noted that Ghana had a "very high rate" of open defecation for lower middle income countries.

cited "clear links" between practice and poor health and socio-economics. Lack of sanitation, he said, may result in a greater incidence of fatal diarrhea in children and a developmental delay. "As long as people continue to defecate in the open, everyone is at risk for disease," Bedros said. to his speaking notes. "We must continue to convince households and communities of the importance of investing in the construction and maintenance of toilets for all, so that everyone has an alternative to defecation at home. outdoors."


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