Home News Transforming Waste into Resources: Safisana’s Innovative Approach to Sanitation Management in Ghana

Transforming Waste into Resources: Safisana’s Innovative Approach to Sanitation Management in Ghana

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By Jones Anlimah

Safisana, a social enterprise in the Ashaiman Municipality of the Greater Accra Region, is revolutionising waste treatment by converting organic waste and faecal sludge into renewable energy (biogas) and organic ertilizer. With support from Aqua for All, Safisana aims to improve existing treatment plants and expand their operations, with plans to have three fully functional plants by 2025. 

During a media engagement at Safisana’s plant site in Ashaiman, the General Manager of Safisana Ghana Limited, Mr. Elikplim Asilevi, shared insights on the company’s progress. The tour was facilitated by Plan International Ghana, Safisana’s partner on the “Stronger Together” project, which seeks to highlight collaborative efforts towards sustainable development.

The absence of proper sanitation and waste management services in many low- and middle-income countries, including Ghana, causes over 842,000 preventable deaths each year. Additionally, the huge health concerns and the growing global climate, energy, and food crises have necessitated the need to act right.

To help reverse this trend, Safisana is transforming overlooked organic waste food from markets, abattoirs, and food processing companies and faecal sludge into valuable resources, thereby helping to tackle the ever-challenging sanitation issues and also helping to promote sustainable development.

The General Manager of Safisana Company Limited, Mr Elikplim Asilevi, said the company currently treats 10,500 tonnes of faecal waste and 6,200 tonnes of organic waste per year while producing 1,104,000 Kg of organic fertiliser and 1,165 MwH of renewable energy per year, which is fed onto the national grid. He added that about 4,000 people gain access to renewable energy produced by Safsana.

According to him, their fertilisers are used by over 11,700 farmers, out of which about 30 per are farmers within the Ashaiman community, thereby supporting SDG 2, which highlights zero hunger, and SDG 8, which focuses on Decent Work and Economic Growth.

“What we know is that the chemical fertilizers affect the organic matter components of the soil and this implies that the nutrients retention is very low and therefore nutrients are not transfered onto the plants/crops and as such yields are very low so and this affect the farmers,” he posited.

He added that the transformative process not only reduces environmental impact but also creates economic opportunities within the community, which furthers SDG 11, which talks about Sustainable Cities and Communities.

Mr. Elikplim Asilevi remarked that, with support from Aqua for All through a blended-finance mechanism, Safisana is poised to expand its impact and production capacities. The partnership aims to also integrate Safisana’s expertise with wastewater treatment plants and expand key infrastructure, thereby contributing to SDG 9, which calls for Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure.

“We are engineers we have the technology, we need the government and NOG’s like Plan International to come together to address such sanitation problems,” he said.

He noted that the company will, by 2025, have three fully functional plants, with each being a testament to their commitment to sustainable urban development, and called for governmental support. “This initiative and step is one in the right direction, and we need the support and intervention of government to be able to expand these modules to support the economy,” Mr Asilevi added.

In a country that is increasingly challenged by environmental crises, the efforts of Safisana are set to earn recognition from urban planners who seek reliable, non-sewered sanitation solutions.

The “Stronger Together” project by Plan International Ghana, seeks to improve the health situation, provide economic opportunities, and improve the environmental living conditions of inhabitants of non-sewered areas of the project community by providing faecal and organic waste treatment services in a gender-equative and socially inclusive manner, which aligns with SDG 5, which throws light on Gender Equality and SDG 10, which also talks about Reduced Inequalities.

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