Sanitation Health in Fodome Ahor, Ghana

I will be spending seven weeks this summer researching in the community of Fodome Ahor, Ghana on water and sanitation health in order to understand community issues and work for positive public health changes.  I hope to deepen my understanding of the community’s needs and develop approaches to improve conditions by using statistical and ethnographic techniques well-established in the public health discipline.  I will be in the community of Fodome Ahor for 3.5 weeks beginning in mid May until the first week of June. Upon arriving home, I will spend my remaining 3.5 weeks analyzing the data collected in country.

Upon returning to the village this summer, I will conduct research using ethnography and purposive sampling within a Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) framework to expose norms and community knowledge about water and sanitation health. Purposive sampling is a form of research that is intentionally geared toward finding and talking to key members of the population that have important information about our topic. This is necessary because not all members in the population will have in depth knowledge on child sanitation and in order to understand this part of community life, we want to interview specific community members who have the most day to day experience with childcare. I expect to be able to conduct interviews every other day throughout the week, with interviews lasting approximately 20 minutes. An interview will be administered through a translator. Sample questions include: 1. Where do your children under the age of 6 relieve themselves? 2. Do you help your young children wash their hands? If so, how? 3. When do you wash your children’s hands? 4. Do you ever drink the water from the river? If yes, how often? 5. How often do you estimate your children under the age of —- have diarrhea? 6. What do you do if your child has diarrhea? The questions aim to elucidate the social dimensions that impact hand washing behaviors and perception of childhood diarrheal disease, to better understand common caregiver prevention and treatment practices, and to estimate perceived yearly risk of children acquiring diarrheal disease (once or numerous times) in Fodome Ahor.  The information collected will be used to benefit the community of Fodome Ahor by opening up a dialogue between community members on sanitation practices and creating an academic understanding of the challenges faced with respect to sanitation health.



  1. It is so cool to see you using your research stipend to travel across the world and address an issue that you are obviously passionate about. I’ve been learning a more about water and sanitation issues lately as I’ve been studying social entrepreneurship. I’ll be very interested to see how the community responds to your attempts to open up the dialogue about sanitation practices and how they can better protect the health of their members.

  2. Christopher Godschalk says:

    I was reading your other blog post. Fodome Ahor sounds like an incredible place. Why did you decide to travel there to conduct your research?

  3. Thanks Ally and Chris! It is a place I visited before, last summer, and worked on public health initiatives. Going back this summer, I wanted to combine my research with my love for the community!
    Water and sanitation is an important issue currently being discussed and it was interesting to see the challenges faced by the community with respect to these two problems.