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"Use now, pay later", an innovative approach to increasing access to improved latrines facilities in Ghana
Rural sanitation has not been given the much needed attention in National development issues. Currently the coverage is about 28%. This is poor and has serious Public Health implications for the rural folks who form about 60% of the National population. Achieving the Water and Sanitation Sector Millienium Development Goals will require innovating approaches and efficient use of resource with commitment from project beneficiaries. Many households currently do not have access to sanitation facilities because they are unable to make upfront cash payment of Seventy Thousand Cedis (an equivalent of US$7) as a non-refundable commitment fee. Considering the shortfall of 72% it is very clear that serious thoughts should be given to finding effective and flexible approaches to delivering rural sanitation in order to galvanize active community participation to improve coverage. This paper seeks to share some lessons learnt by Professional Network Association (ProNet) through its engagement with rural communities in northern Ghana in the delivery of household latrine facilities. A system of credit to rural households dubbed "Use now, pay Later" where households are supported to construct latrine facilities and pay for them during harvesting season when there income levels have improved, has helped to increase coverage by over 500% in three years in the Upper West region of Ghana.