“We started our day with our last ride to the service site for the opening ceremony. There was a big turnout with about 50 people. It was amazing to see how many people were affected by these two new eco-compost facilities.”
-Tagan Horton, GLA Alumnus
One family and its neighbors celebrate the opening of a new eco-compost facility, completed by volunteers on our Ghana program, which is like a medical mission trip for high school students
According to Water.org, nearly 2.5 billion people don’t have access to adequate sanitation. The mission of the Building Healthy Villages™ program is to provide access to simple yet clean bathrooms, one family at a time.
Through its partnership with Dream Big Ghana, Global Leadership Adventures is able to bring several groups of high school students to the Volta Region of Ghana. During each two-week session, students are split into two teams. Each team works with local carpenters to build an entire eco-compost facility from scratch.
Three students mix concrete that’s used in the structure with Local Director Dougall Croudace
In the village of Dzita, students are introduced to each family they will build a toilet for, and are welcomed into their homes and yards as the construct the buildings brick-by-brick. With a greater area population of approximately 10,000, the dozens of toilets already built aren’t nearly enough to meet the community’s needs yet. There is a long list of applicants waiting for their own chance to bring one of these sanitary facilities to their families. Applicant families help to provide some of the bricks used on the facilities, while students and GLA staff provide the remaining materials and perform the service.
The best part for the students is when they arrive bright and early at the service sites each morning, and look at how the eco-compost structure has climbed from its start as just a flattened patch of dirt on the ground.
These gifts to the community really do come from the students’ bare hands and determination to finish in only two weeks’ time. It’s incredible.
When the finished projects are handed off in a celebratory opening ceremony on the last day of the 2-week project, families are shown how to use the toilet and maintain it, so everyone from young girls to old men can benefit from the hygiene and privacy these facilities provide for many years to come. It often comes as a shock to see so many women and children squatting behind bushes or small walls to relieve themselves, when it is something so few in the West even think about.
The new eco-compost facilities also leave one final gift for the community. Twice a year, the compost each unit produces can help to fertilize the crops many locals depend on to support their families. With fishing on the decline, community farms in Ghana have never been more vital.
The foundation for an eco-compost structure
And to think it all started with a few bricks placed on dry ground!