'Sanitation Solutions' for Aboaboso, Ghana

Roche colleague sets up an organization that aims to improve sanitation in Ghana

In 2012, Lynda Barton, who currently works with Group Risk Advisory in Basel, along with experts in Europe and Africa, set up 'Sanitation Solutions', a non-governmental organization that aims to improve sanitation in the developing world. Over 14 years with Roche she continues to define her life as much by the work she does at Roche as she does outside of it.

“Our sustainable business model is expected to bring health and soil quality benefits to this community. The community will pay back some of the start-up capital costs, so that the money can then be used to support another community,” says Lynda. She sees a future where “Sani Certified” communities will receive government tax benefits and preferential prices for their produce. Her connection with Ghana and the motivation behind setting up 'Sanitation Solutions' goes back to 2011 when Lynda took an eight-month leave without pay from Roche to work there as a volunteer on a healthcare access project. She states: “it remains one of the most meaningful and life changing experiences of my life. I will always be grateful to Roche for having approved such an unusual request for unpaid leave three years ago.”

'Sanitation Solutions' was registered in Ghana in June 2012 with the involvement of eight volunteers, including experts such as Prof. Jörn Germer from Hohenheim University in Stuttgart, Germany, and other sanitation experts from grassroots programs such as the Millennium Villages Project in Ghana.

Working on the pilot site

A pilot site has been selected at a place called Aboaboso near Kumasi and through fund raising efforts a few years ago, a compost facility is being built there. The next step is to use the capital which will be raised from the second crowd funding to enable the villagers, with help from local sanitation experts, to design and build toilets using local materials. The village will manage the compost facility and generate organic fertilizer as part of a local business venture. This crowd funding campaign is a collaboration between Millennium Villages Project, who will manage the administrative aspects in Ghana, Fontana Foundation, a Swiss Foundation providing advice and tax certificates for Swiss resident sponsors, and SanSol, the Ghana NGO which provides the project oversight and coordination of the consultants for the implementation of the pilot.

More about Ghana

  • Capital: Accra
  • Population: approximately 25.7 million
  • Life expectancy: men 64 years; women 68 years
  • Infant mortality rate 38.52 deaths per 1000 live births
  • 85.6 percent of the population does not have access to adequate sanitation
  • Currency: cedi
  • Area: 238,533 sq. km, second largest producer of cocoa in the world, Africa’s biggest gold producer after South Africa
  • Other major exports: timber, tuna, bauxite, aluminum, diamonds, manganese
  • Major languages: English, Asanti, Ewe and Fante

Tags: Sustainability, Society, Africa