Teen Girls Club Members Harness the Power of Community Action

By Grace Marfo – Teen Girls Club Program Officer

The new public toilets that the girls made possible through community action!

Members of Self-Help International’s Teen Girls Club (TGC) in their final year of junior high school celebrated their graduation in 2020 in a new and exciting way. Girls were asked to examine their communities, identify issues the community faces, and work with their peers to develop possible solutions. These service projects allowed girls to practice the leadership, civic engagement, and critical thinking skills they learned in their time with the Teen Girls Club program.

In the village of Kukubuso, Ghana there were no public toilets available in the community. While a few community members have private toilets in their houses, there wasn’t access for the community at large. The TGC members noticed the lack of public and accessible toilet facilities and said it was a great challenge they faced as young girls in the community; they decided to tackle the problem.

Public toilets play a role in community health and individual wellbeing by helping to ensure proper sanitation and preventing community members from having to walk long distances for the restroom. When public toilets are available, people can enjoy being out in the community.

The girls first started by contacting community elders and leaders. They discussed with them how they felt about this situation in the community. The community’s opinion leaders also saw the importance of the girls’ idea and saw the need to act on it. They mobilized volunteers in the community to dig a pit and used resources available in the community to lessen the cost of the project. The girls helped the volunteers by fetching water and supporting their work.

Through their partnership with community leaders, the TGC members were able to get public toilets built for members of their community. They saw how powerful community mobilization can be in getting things done and improving the lives of everyone in Kukubuso.

The Teen Girls Club participants in Kukubuso saw the need to help the community solve this problem and used their skills in civic engagement to mobilize community members and government entities to support their project. This community project is going to be of help to everyone in the community, including visitors, and it will help their community be healthier and cleaner.