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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.


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.


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


Congratulations to a Long Distance Runner. Turning energy into projects.

What a brilliant way to help Community Action Ghana. This year Shinmyoung Choi ran the Oxford Half Marathon for Community Action Ghana. Up to date her fantastic supporters have raised £555. This goes a huge way towards our work. Thank you!

Getting ready at the start
Hardly out of breath at the 3 mile mark
Still cheerful at the finish

The money Shin has raised will fund:

  • The roofing sheets for a toilet block
  • A set of shelves and a table & chairs for a community library
  • And five bags of cement to help build the community toilets
Choosing books at Gbi-Wedbe
At 6.30 in the morning students use the library in Alavanyo Kpeme
Roofing sheets going on at Dzogbedze Toilet block

The toilets we have built, with communities in Ghana have been described as, “better than a bag of gold”! As well as saving lives they also provide dignity for all who use them. We are also always so delighted to see the libraries we have refurbished and stocked (with the help from Book Aid International) in full use. Pearl, the Library Prefect at Alavanyo Kpeme Library opens the library for her students at 6:30am so they can read their favourite books before school starts, as well as use it to study in after school.

Thank you so much again to Shin and everyone who has sponsored her – you make a difference to people’s lives everyday through your support.


Worry for families as floods hit Alavanyo’s farms

Whist this is not directly related to our charity work our work goes on in the community so what affects the community affects our ability to work with them.

Clemence our project manager has many jobs. As well as working for us and one of these is to to farm to provide food for his family. He grows a variety of crops cassava, maize, sweet peppers to name some. He has sent us these photos of his farm which was flooded by completely unusual floods. As you can see the harvest of maize and sweet peppers have been destroyed but the cassava is probably salvageable.

The worlds attention has been directed at the floods in Pakistan and now Australia but many countries in West Africa have been affected by flooding, with over 730,000 people affected.

With floodwaters washing over ground that is used for open defecation it creates the perfect situation for spreading diseases such as cholera. To help prevent this we need to build more toilets and provide clean water supplies.

A toilet block for a community can cost as little as £14,000 with about half of this being contributed by the community with their labour and locally available materials. A borehole and associated water tower can be as little as £12,000 again with about a third of this being contributed by the communities.

Please think about these ‘forgotten’ communities.

During the flood

Flood on the maize crop
Will there be anything to harvest?
The shelters on the farm are damaged as well

After it has receded

The maize crop. All destroyed
Sweet peppers All gone
The cassava (manioc) might provide some produce


Gbi-Wedbe Library New Books New Readers

Please click to hear the blog

Joshua Etteh is a 15 year old student at Gbi-Wedbe Basic A School in the Volta Region of Ghana. He wants to be a doctor when he grows up. He enjoys reading in the library because the books help him understand how to construct sentences and use punctuation. He also learns new vocabulary from reading. Some of his favourites are; The Upside of Falling by Alex Light, Wild Lily by KM Peyton, and Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman.

Joshua Etteh

Joshua is one of 1,000 students who use the library. They take it in turns to read novels and stories in early morning group reading for the first hour of the school day. As well as taking the academic books to the classroom to enhance their studies.

Students in the Library

The library was refurbished by Community Action Ghana with local artisans voluntarily giving their time to make the tables and bookshelves. These bookshelves were then stocked by Book Aid International. Prior to this the library hadn’t had any new books for 25years. Patrick Dzandu, ITC Teacher and Library Champion, proudly told us the old, dusty books are now in the archives!

Patrick with students; Louisa, Raphael & Raymond

Joshua says: “Thank you to Book Aid International. We say thank you very much”