Amazing community work at Dorfor Adidome

We’d just like to show you how a brilliant community is helping themselves build a community toilet in their village with our assistance. We are providing the majority of materials. The community is providing some locally available materials such as sand and water and, most importantly, their labour and enthusiasm. They work on the toilets most Mondays and Tuesdays instead of tending to their farms. Almost all of the people are subsistence farmers so this is quite a sacrifice. The overall cost of the project is £23,393 with the locally available materials and labour costs provided by the community being £11,589 and Community Action Ghana’s input of £11,804. Almost a 50/50 split.

The illustrated timeline below shows exactly how we, at Community Action Ghana, work with communities to develop their infrastructure.

Monday 12th June Some of the trustees of Community Action Ghana of meet with chief and elders and agree to partner on the community toilet project.

Tuesday 13th June Chief and Elders meet with the village community who agree to do communal labour

Maya, Alyrene, Chief, Adrian
Meeting with Chief and elders

Wednesday 14th June Community collects equivalent of three lorry loads of sand and barrels of water

Some of the sand
Amazing strength and skill

Monday 19th June and Tuesday 20th June. The community made about 1,600 cement blocks for the walls of the holding tanks. To see how to make concrete blocks check out this video made by Ella when she was 9 .

Tipping the block from the mould
Rows and rows of blocks curing.

3rd and 4th July. Clearing the site and starting to dig the holes for the septic tank and the soakaway. Made good progress but ran into rock about 3″ (1 meter) down. Despite digging manfully it was going to be a difficult task to get 8 meters deep.

Digging out the septic tank hole
1 meter down and starting to hit rock

7th July Get in the JCB digger and even that found it hard. But it made a good (if expensive) job of it and valuable rubble will be broken down to be used in the concrete foundations.

Brute mechanical force chewed through the rocks.
All sorted

18th July to 30th July Starting to build the septic tank. Village masons and labourers worked extremely hard. The village doesn’t have a cement mixer so everything is done by hand. Now alreday for the next stage of casting the top of the tanks.

We are really in need of funds to finish this project so please dig deep or contact us on ways you could help. Do you know a group we could give a talk to. Do you want to run a marathon for us? A sponsored something? Please think about how you could help this community help themselves .


Striving to ensure our toilets are sustainable

At Community Action Ghana we pride ourselves on working with communities to fulfil their needs, in the ways they want them – the communities’ priorities our priorities.

In 2019 we worked with the community of Alavanyo Dzogbedze to build a sustainable, community toilet. We are delighted to report that a recent survey found that 326 people are using the toilets.

At the communities’ request we worked together to build a Kumasi Ventilated Improved Pit (KVIP) toilet block. This is a well know toilet system in Ghana, developed locally at Kumasi Institute of Technology (now the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology).

Our KVIP toilet block in Alavanyo Dzogbedze

The sustainability aspect of these toilets is what was so important to us all. To show this, we’ll explain a little bit about how they work. The most important part of these toilets is the pit or the holding tanks. All the toilet deposits go into these tanks. They are designed to be very well ventilated so no, or little, smell goes back up into the cubicles. Any flies that follow their noses onto the poo are cunningly trapped in the tank until they die. If the flies could escape, they would carry germs on their legs and bodies, leading to fly borne diseases. With the KVIP model they can’t escape so this stops them spreading diseases.

In each toilet cubicle there are two squatting plates, and two toilet seats in the accessible cubicles. However, only one is opened initially, the other is sealed shut with a strong layer of concrete. Each tank is designed to hold about ten years, worth of deposits. The theory is, in ten years’ time when it is full, the initial plate will be sealed and the second chipped open to start filling the neighbouring holding tank. After about 20 years the contents of the first tank will have thoroughly composted killing any pathogens. This holding tank is then emptied, and the process starts again.

This sounds like a wonderfully, sustainable build designed to last decades.

However, when checking the toilets in Alavanyo Dzogbedze this month, we found that after just four years the initial tanks on the female side were full. And there was a smell coming from the toilets, which understandably those living closest to them were disturbed by. There was also rather an abundance of flies coming out of the toilets.

What was the problem?

The female toilets are in such demand, and so well used, that instead of the ten years expected to fill them, they have been filled in just four years. We see this as a good thing, illustrating the huge different these toilets are making, especially for the female members of the community, who use them the most. We sealed the first full tank and opened up the second empty tank so the ladies will start using an empty tank.We will keep monitoring the usage and report back, when the second tanks are full – to see if the first tank has composted thoroughly enough to destroy the pathogens and reopen to continue the substantiality of the toilets. 

What about the smell.

Sealing off the full holding tanks and opening the empty holding tanks should alleviate the smell problem as the smell was coming from the full tanks. We also went round the holding tanks and used mortar to seal any cracks and crevices that allowed smells to escape. After we had done this there was an immediate clearing of the air. We will continue to monitor the situation.

Opening up the empty tank and sealing off the full tank
Will a simple spring sort out the flys?

What about the flies?

The solution to this is simple, the toilets were designed so any flies that were attracted to the smell of the faeces would be trapped in the holding pits – unable to fly away to transmit diseases. However, even after educating the toilet users about the importance of closing the toilet doors to allow this process to take place, flies were still getting out – creating the possibility of disease. Our solution – attaching springs to the toilet doors to ensure they remain closed after use. Again, we will report back to check that this has continued to prevent fly borne diseases.

Cross section showing the ventilation and fly trapping design.

We are currently fundraising for another toilet block in Dorfor Adidome. Due to the terrain and location of the toilets they have requested a water based toilet system, so we will ensure these are as sustainable as possible and continue to learn and adjust when needed. The water tank system is more expensive than the KVIP’s and inflation in Ghana is dramatically affecting our budgets, so if you are able, we would really appreciate your support to ensure we can help another community live with toilets and combat disease.


A New Partnership: Community Toilets in Dorfor Adidome

We have set up a new partnership with the community of Dorfor Adidome to work together to build a community toilet block. 

Currently there are no toilets in the village, so they relive themselves in a pit which attracts flies and diseases. Records from the local health centre show that, on average, 40 children a year die of diarrhoea & fly born diseases here. That’s one in 30 families losing a child each year. 

As well as the much needed health benefits the toilets will also provide privacy & safety. We spoke to Mable and her daughter, Patricia. They don’t walk to the current toilet pit after dark for fear of  snakes & scorpions. With it getting dark at around 6pm that’s a long time to wait until the morning light so they are very much looking forward to the new addition to their community.


The streets are made from sand, gravel and shells as thousands of years ago this was the course of the Volta River. The river has changed course over the years but the muscles & clams remain for harvesting. 

Children playing amongst the shells

Due to the terrain and the location of the toilets, the community have requested a water closet system toilet. This entails drilling a borehole to produce enough water for the system.  As well as being used for the plumbing the borehole will also give supply of fresh water to the community. Currently they fetch water from the river which is now just over a kilometre away from the centre of the village.

We are delighted to be working with such a committed community. We visited them and agreed the partnership on Monday, by Tuesday they had a full work plan and by Tuesday they had worked together to gather enough sand to make blocks for the walls! We’ll keep you updated on the progress…

Collecting sand


Why does the toilet roof need replacing?

We built the toilets with the Alavanyo Dzogbedze community in 2019. They are well used – with people coming & going throughout the day. A recent survey found that at least 326 people and children are using the toilets, preventing diseases and providing dignity. But, unfortunately, the roofing on the female side has pretty much disintegrated.

Destroyed roof


We used aluminium sheeting for the roof to keep the cubicles cooler, the shiny aluminium reflects the sunlight. It should have been strong, rust free and lasted for years, in all weathers. But we didn’t consider the chemical reaction of the gasses in urine.

When urine decomposes it produces ammonia gas. At night, there is condensation on the underside of the roofing sheets which dissolves the ammonia, creating ammonium hydroxide. This ammonium hydroxide reacts with the aluminium to produce aluminium hydroxide, which is soluble. When the aluminium sheet on the roof turns into aluminium hydroxide it dissolves the roofing sheet and is washed away by the rain. In short: the urine dissolves the aluminium sheets.

The men’s side of the toilet block was not corroded at all. As we know, is far easier for men to wee, discretely in public, so they tend to only use the toilets for defecting. Whereas women need the privacy provided by toilets every time they need to go.

Good news

Removing the old roof

The good news is, now we have identified this, we have replaced the roofing. This time with galvanised iron sheeting which should last for many years. We will, of course, keep checking if our hypothesis is correct.

New roof


Restocking Libraries

Over the past few years we have refurbished and stocked libraries in the Volta Region of Ghana with huge support from Book Aid International and our donors.

Today, we revisited the libraries and, again with donations from Book Aid, have replenished their stock of books.

Wegbe EP School Library

It was great to meet Cynthia again. She’s now 14 and still loves reading. Her favourite subjects are now English & Science. This morning she was reading The Great Blue Yonder by Alex Shearer, which is already her new favourite book!

Wegbe EP School Library

Since we refurbished and stocked the library in 2021 it has been so well used that the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC) have funded & set up computer lab with 20 computers so the students get to read books and learn how to use the computers and important technological skills.

Alavanyo Senior High Technical School Library

The students are on leave here so Livingstone, the Librarian & Biology Teacher greeted us. He was very grateful for the extra boxes of books we delivered.

Livingstone & Adrian
Alavanyo Senior High Technical School Library.

As we looked through the well-thumbed books we noticed that some of them we on the wrong shelves. Livingstone explained, with a smile, that, the students hide their favourite books on the wrong shelves so they can get back to it when they return!

Pearl, the Library Prefect from last year, has graduated (and did very well in her exams) handed over the Prefect mantel to Peace, who is apparently as enthusiastic and dedicated to the library as Pearl was.

Alavanyo Wudidi Community Library

Rita Kpemasor the Librarian, at the Wudidi Community Library is always very busy. As well as supporting the students to find the right books for their studies she lends books to the rest of the community.

Even though the library is built in the school grounds the whole community has access, with many adults in the village delighted to be able to read for pleasure and learn from the books.

Alavanyo Wudidi Community Library

Thank you so much to Book Aid International for enabling all these people to read for both pleasure and for studying.


Fantastic Irish Volunteers raising Funds for the Projects in Ghana

Retired, Semi retired, Fully employed?
What are you going to do with your Saturday morning?
Well two wonderful people Ann and Jim decided to some uncluttering.
Then what? Put it all in the bin, have a trip to a recycling centre, put it in a skip?
All these pre loved items that had been kept, just in case they were needed (which they weren’t), were cleaned up and taken along to the local ‘car boot’ sale.

The proceeds are going to help our projects in Djelukofi and Lolobi.
They may turn into cement blocks to build a communal toilet or a wall in a library.
Or to become shelves to display the books in the library.
Or desks for the students at the Lolobi community (and there over 4000 of them) to work at in the library or computer room.
Or lights so the students can study at night. (In the tropics its dark by 6.00 pm)

Isn’t that a brilliant way to declutter and help others less fortunate.

A huge thank you to Jim and Ann and everyone who turned up and bought the items.

If you would like to raise funds for us please contact us for some hints and tips.

Ann at the stall
Jim with all the goodies
And people came to buy


Your wonderful contributions to world book day

Thank you.

Over the years we have been working in Ghana we have refurbished and with the help of friends and Book Aid International stocked five community libraries.

These libraries are extremly well used. Some from six in the morning till late at night.

All of this is through your contributions. So this is just a thank you very much for your donations and suport. Please enjoy the photos of the libraries being used.

If you can contribute to the next library we are refurbishing in the Lolobi Communities we would appreciate it but even more so the thousands of people there who would use it.


Lolobi Hub needs Assessment analysed and findings show the desperate desire for a library

A very brief analysis of the needs assessments completed by a sample of the Lolobi Ashambi and Lolobi Kumasi communities.

This is the brief Analysis

From an evaluation of a sample of needs assessment forms all households are strongly in favour of a community library and learning hub in Lolobi.
From the analysis it will be used by all age groups from learners to professionals, upskilling and rewarding for leisure and for the elderly.
Parents are particularly looking forward to it being somewhere where the young will gather rather than “loitering around and involving themselves in unhealthy activities”
Comments were made about the fact it will be a place where children and young adults can work and study in a quiet place.
All respondents were willing to volunteer their time and skills from labouring, carpentry, electrical work to helping run the library and a number expressed the desire that it should be completed as soon as possible.
Most of the written comments were about how the community library would help the children progress their education and one comment expressed the need for books for the elderly who were educated, and in need of the stimulation that books can bring.

Here are a couple of copies of the forms and their authors

Delali Norviewu and son
John Mawudeku


And you knew there was going to be a but.
We need your donations to help make this a reality. Book Aid International has agreed to stock the library and another development charity has donated six fully refurbished laptops for the computer hub . Please dig deep so we can rebuild the walls, plumb in the toilets and get the books on the shelves and chairs and tables ready for everyone to appreciate all the facilities.


Update on progress and uses for the Lolobi Hub

To listen to the blog click on the start button

It was great to meet the team leading the refurbishment of the community hub in Lolobi. We are working together to turn this old, dilapidated building into a library, computer lab, children’s play area and community space for all to learn in and enjoy.

The building is situated so it can easily be accessed by two communities; Lolobi Ashambi and Lolobi Kumasi. Most people living here are farmers and struggling with the cost of living crisis . The hub we are building will provide a space for the communities to meet, enhance their learning and to play.

The hub and the elders
The new roof covered with hamatan dust
The road between Lolobi Ashiambi and Lolobi Kumasi

There are 4,420 students from kindergarten to secondary school ages in the area and they will all have access to the space. There are IT classes in the schools but most don’t have computers so the hub will bring these lessons to life. Teachers have already volunteered to run extra workshops here. We are very grateful for the donation of six fully refurbished laptops to assist in the teaching. We have also been asked for a projector which we will attempt to find for free. (Any suggestions please let us know!)

The library, will be open from 7am to 9pm Monday to Saturday. This means everyone can benefit around farming, work, school and other commitments. Some of the retired teachers in the village have offered to run the library and they will be supported by Kenneth Norviewu, the Assembly Member for Lolobi and Prefects from the schools.

Elders, Athemasius Kwaku and Michael Marcelinusoyeh are especially looking forward to creating a space where the adult population can enjoy reading for pleasure. They are well educated and want to read, but currently don’t have books available to them. We have applied to Book Aid International to supply the books as they have been so supportive of the other libraries we work with.

There are four cubicles for toilets and washrooms which we will also refurbish so that everyone using the hub can wash and use the bathroom. This continues our mission to improve health as well as supporting education and well being.

The building has been donated by a member of the community, however it needs a lot of work! Thanks to some kind supporters we have fixed the roof to ensure no more damage is done. We are currently fundraising for the rest of the costs. We hope we can raise the funds soon to turn this into a wonderful space for all to enjoy.


Inflation in Ghana Hits Horrific 54.1% as all Food Costs Surge

Food prices rose 59.7% and transport costs increased 71.4%

Sound file click to play

The cost of living crisis is affecting all of us, from weekly shops going up to turning the heating down. The situation in Ghana is extreme, it has one of the highest rates of inflation in the entire world. 

This was very apparent when visiting Hohoe at the weekend. The market is usually full of cheer & colour with dozens of stalls selling all your basic needs, and a few luxuries. But now it is quiet, many stalls are closed and the ones remaining are even more eager for business from the very few customers.

June 2019 Before inflation
January 2023. Where are all the people?

In the past six months fuel prices have risen 200% and a Gallon of oil which cost 1,400 cedi in June was 3,000 cedi at the weekend, and prices are rising every single day. 

The effect of these fuel increases was clearly visible at taxi rank in the centre of the town. Usually it’s a place full of noise, hustle & bustle with bus conductors shouting “cra, cra ,cra” to encourage people to board their bus to Accra. However, it is now eerily quiet. People can no longer afford to travel. 

Amos, who makes his living driving a tuk-tuk, describes the situation as, “very, very bad.” 

Amos in his tuk tuk
The tuk tuk his only source of income

Last year it would cost him 25 cedi to fill the tank of his small motor, now it’s up to 90 cedi. 

Based around 9km from the market town, Kpando, most of Amos’ custom was taking women to the market there. 

Due to the fuel increases he has had to put his prices up but people cannot afford it. 

Now most of the women walk the 18km round trip, carry heavy supplies on their heads all the way home in the heat. The journey on foot can take up to six hours. The time used to make this trek takes time away from working on their farms, where they grow food to feed their families. 

The exchange rate has also had a huge effect. It is now around 13 cedi to the US dollar, six months previously it was around 5 cedi. 

Ghana relies heavily on imported goods, especially in agriculture; chemicals for farming, fertiliser, etc. It is now 650 cedi for a 50kg bag of fertiliser, in June it was 100 cedi. 

Farmers, both commercial and subsistence, now can’t produce as much because of high cost of agriculture imports. 

The prices of everything have risen so much that many people in the villages we work in only have one meal a day. 

As a small charity working with these communities, we too are feeling the struggles. Most of our income comes in GB pounds (with some New Zealand dollars & Euros too – thank you to our donors around the world!) While the exchange rate might benefit spending pounds it doesn’t outweigh the huge increases on the cost of materials we use. 

We are currently working with the community in Lolobi to build a library and computer lab. The budget for this has risen by 100% since we first costed it, only a few months ago. And it is likely to keep increasing.

The need is greater yet the cost and ability to raise funds so much harder. Especially with everyone, even our donors, affected by the cost of living in their own countries. 

If you can, please help us do our part in making this situation just a little bit better. Donate today or if you too are struggling and can’t afford a donation we would love to support you in running a fundraising event, contact us for more information. Together we can make a difference. 

June 2019 Colourful Hustle and Bustle
January 2023 Almost empty streets