All well and good
For residents of Kramokrom, a small village in Ghana, a lack of access to clean water meant they had to rely on digging shallow wells, harvesting rainwater, or sending children to fetch water from nearby communities, which meant they often missed, or were late for, school. The community also suffered from a high rate of waterborne diseases.
So with help from residents, the Rotaract Club of Adenta Central built a mechanized borehole that was connected to an overhead reservoir and 10 taps to provide clean water to the community.
The Water Is Life project was suggested by then-club member Husseini Abdullah, who lives in Kramokrom. Before proceeding with the project, however, the club wanted to be sure that access to clean water was a priority for residents. “We carried out a community needs assessment to find out what were the most pressing challenges in the community,” says Edem Agbenyo, who helped guide the project. “We wanted to be certain that a water project would address the problems observed.”
After learning that residents wanted clean water, the club consulted with experts, including borehole companies, to determine the best site for the hole. Once they had dug, water samples were tested at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s Water Research Institute in Accra to make certain the water was safe to drink.
The community had a high rate of waterborne diseases.
The project took second place in the 2018 Commitment Awards, organized by the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy at the University of Erfurt in Germany and the Engagementpreis Foundation, which recognizes innovative and sustainable social projects. The award included $1,750 in project support.
The club involved local residents in digging the well and installing the reservoir and taps to ensure that they would feel a sense of ownership. A water committee has been set up to maintain the water pump, and Rotaractors from the Adenta Central club will visit every three months to monitor the project and train the committee.
Agbenyo says schoolchildren will now be able to focus on their studies. “Children will have more time to prepare for school because they no longer will have to boil water or filter it before usage,” he says.
— ANNEMARIE MANNION
• This story originally appeared in the December 2019 issue of The Rotarian magazine.