By Nana Konduah Dickye, Rotary Club of Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana
On 12 November, I led a three-member team to visit seven communities my Rotary club is responsible for as part of the multi-year Rotary-USAID International H2O Collaboration in Ghana. The aim of the collaboration is to provide water, sanitation, and hygiene infrastructure and advocacy to deprived communities.
The total journey to these seven communities – Akwaso, Samfifire, Amoada, Kyeikrom, Nkakaa, Bonuama and Anyabream – began at Takoradi and covered a distance of 800 kilometers. It is one thing to hear about communities without basic water supply and sanitation needs. Actually having been to these communities and experiencing the kind of hardships they go through is quite another.
In each community that we went, we first met with community elders to inform them of our mission, as is customary in Ghana. On the average, each community has a population of about 1,500, and 80 percent of the working population are engaged in subsistence farming.The remaining 20 percent are made up of table top food staff sellers and various handicraft artisans. Only Akwaso, which is a mining town, had access to a municipal water supply and a complement of other boreholes. The rest of the communities get their water supply from streams and ‘’Sachet Water” which basically is 500 ml normal pipe-born water packed in plastic sachets for drinking.
At Anyabream, the community’s only access for household water is a contaminated stream, and people rely on sachet water transported from the bigger towns for drinking. At one of the eight households we spoke with, we learned they spend an average of 200 Ghanaian Cedi (about US$46) on drinking water and cooking. This community, as well as the others, did not have any proper toilet facilities. “When you wake up in the morning you have to go somewhere in the bush to attend to nature’s call,” said Mr. Mensah one of the elders we spoke to.
It was only in Akwaso that we saw a community toilet, and toilets in some of the households, mostly because of the bauxite mining activity in the town. Throughout our conversations with various households, we learned they were willing to contribute as much as 50 Ghanaian Cedi (about US$11) per household as their contribution towards the WASH project we intend to undertake.
Through the collaboration, 103,000 people in 155 communities will benefit over the five-year life of the project by receiving access to clean water and basic sanitation.
Learn more about the Rotary-USAID International H2O Collaboration