By Albert Essien, Rotary Club of Tema Meridian, Ghana
Fante Mayera is a medium-size rural community of about 800 people in the greater Accra region of Ghana. In August, I visited the community with the manager of the Rotary-USAID partnership in Ghana and other officials to meet with villagers and check on the progress of a borehole and latrine. I had been part of an initial visit with my Rotary club in 2016 to assess conditions there, and it was exciting to return and see the difference this important collaboration is making.
The main occupation of the people in Fante Mayera is farming. The community is connected to the National Electricity Grid so inhabitants have access to a power supply. The community had an existing hand-dug well, which was installed a decade ago. But over time, the quality of the water had become very bad. When we arrived at the well site, the apron was hanging off from erosion and the hand pump was not working. To fetch water, villagers had to use a bucket and rope. The color of the water resembled tea.
In spite of the poor quality, the community still used it. As we stood by the well interacting with residents, I saw children come around with buckets to fetch water. In the dry season, the well dries up, and when that happens, the community shifts their attention to a stream which is some distance away. From the hand-dug well site, residents led us on a 20-minute walk to the stream.
During my earlier visit in 2016, I remembered seeing a snake swimming in the water, an indication of the dangers the people are exposed to meeting their daily water needs. We impressed upon them the need to get a platform people could stand on to fetch water, so they wouldn’t have to walk into the stream. As part of the collaboration, Rotary and UAID are providing the community with a water supply system based on a mechanized borehole.
Next we visited the primary school to inspect construction of two 4-seater KVIP latrines. I was glad that the girl’s latrine had a changing room with a washing trough connected to a water source. This feature is a requirement of my club’s menstrual hygiene program, under which we distribute washable menstrual kits to school girls.
We were shown the existing latrine which was in a very bad shape. We were told that community members used to come to the school to use the existing latrine, but the heads of the PTA and School Management Committee gave us assurances this would not happen with the new facility. The community seemed very appreciative of the latrines being constructed, so we felt convinced they would not allow anybody to mess them up.
The community members are very appreciative of what Rotary is doing for them. It is my hope that in the not-too-distant future, I will return to witness the completed WASH facilities in use, as our club continues to work with Rotary’s partners to support, train and mentor the community in water and sanitation management and hygiene education.
Learn more about how Rotary is providing clean water and improved sanitation