Can you tell us about All Clean and the needs you discovered that inspired you to launch this particular project?
The process of coming up with my Changemaker Project idea was strenuous but worth it. At the time when I began thinking of my changemaker project, I had to leave school for home. Hence I thought to myself, “What would be a meaningful project idea in Ghana?” as I will not be able to solve problems in [the community near] my school since I had to leave. With this in mind, I began searching for what are some of the biggest problems my country faces and in what ways I can solve them. Through this, I gained a handful of great ideas. Among all these ideas I decided to choose the idea of improving sanitation in a market area called Dome Market. I visited the place and realized that there was a washroom facility which had very poor sanitation. Since washrooms are an important place in the market area and the sanitation of such a place is crucial, I decided to do some work there. The one thing that inspired me to do this project is that a market area is a place where many get the daily source of foodstuffs. If there is poor sanitation, there are dire consequences as lots of people purchase foodstuffs there. Therefore, in the long run, it affects the health of many people in society.
DOME MARKET WASHROOM (BEFORE):
How wonderful that you chose an idea that would benefit the people in your local community. Is Dome Market a place that you and your family shop for food? Can you tell us a bit more about this market, and what the vendors were doing for sanitation before your project?
Yes, this has been a market where I made many purchases of foodstuffs. It is an open market filled with wonderful vendors who sell a variety of foodstuffs. Mostly plant based foods, animal products, and canned foods are sold in the market. Before my project, there was a washroom facility which did not have adequate sanitation and lacked enough WC facilities (some of these were unusable). Hence, they did not satisfy the needs of the market women. Moreover, the general condition of the facility was not up to standard. This concerned me a lot. Hence I sought to solve this problem and get the market women a better washroom facility to make use of.
Can you tell us about some of the problems you faced while trying to implement your project?
While working on this project I faced many challenges, the first of which was gaining permission to the facility. It was difficult to obtain permission to the facility as I could not find the person in charge. On several occasions, I visited the facility, however the person in charge was not around but the caretaker of the facility said I needed to speak with the assemblyman. With many calls I finally reached the assemblyman. He granted me permission and the number of the boss of the facility. Apparently, he was in charge of other facilities as well. I reached out to him and explained my intention. He then told the caretaker of the place to allow me in so I could do what I intended to do.
What does the sanitation facility look like now? Can you describe the final results of your project?
As of now, the facility looks brand new in terms of appearance and all broken WC have been fixed. My team and I made it our priority to fix all broken WC which allows for more people to use the facility since the existing facilities were not enough.
How would you describe your experience participating in The Changemaker Project?
Participating in The Changemaker Project was comparable to being a member of the Avengers. All members were inspiring and self motivated people. All of which had one goal: To make change in the world. Learning and having group calls with them was a contributing factor to keep going on to achieve the goal I had in mind for my project. It was an enriching experience. My participation exposed me to learn more about other cultures and not only about the projects the students participating were passionate about.
What were some of the most valuable lessons you learned through your experience in The Changemaker Project?
The program aided me with tools and the skills on how to persist and persevere so your idea will be manifested into life. When we hit a roadblock we were always reassured that we could move past it and were guided on how to do so. Though sometimes it seemed very tough and undoable, we followed a very simple yet effective methodology to solving the problem we faced—which is to try to do our best to solve the problem. If it is to no avail, then we find alternative solutions. Also to bring my idea to reality I had to understand the problem at hand and how I proposed to solve it. I had to make sure that the solution to the problem, which was to improve sanitation, would be effective and beneficial to the people who I sought to help. This involved countless hours of thinking and visiting the facility to better solve the problem at hand. This paid off in the end and I am very happy with the results achieved.
What advice do you have for other young changemakers out there who want to make a difference in their community?
Making a difference in your community is about finding a problem, thinking of relevant solutions to this problem, and checking with your community to see how this solution fits well. You must also be dynamic in your solution as what you plan may not be what you will finally implement.
Listen to Gerald share about his experience in The Changemaker Project in his latest video on our TikTok channel: https://www.tiktok.com/@thechangemakerproject