“Water is life. When everyone has access to sources of water that are treated, protected and managed effectively, there will be improvement in the livelihood of the community members – especially women and children who have to move miles away in search of water for daily household activities.”—Nadiatu Ali and Victoria Yaro (2010 GWWI Grassroots Graduates)
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More people die from unsafe water than all forms of violence, including war. Africa faces some of the most acute and devastating water problems in the world. African women must endure the worst of these challenges, yet they are often left out of development schemes and policies. The FAO recognizes that the “exclusion of women from the planning of water supply and sanitation schemes is a major cause of their high rate of failure.” Click here to read the story of Comfort and Georgina who are changing rural water and sanitation in their Ghanaian community.
The Global Women’s Water Initiative 2010 training in Ghana proudly reports the ongoing impact of its graduates. Mrs. Akofa Akakpo and Ms. Sénadé Mattia GUIDIHOUN of Togo, West Africa, have successfully implemented and constructed a clean and readily available water source in the village of Kpogardzi at Kpalime! Taking the skills and lessons learned from the Ghana training, Mattia and Akofa assisted GWWI trainer Monica Ayomah to coordinate and conduct a refresher training in Ghana with their fellow training participants Comfort and Georgina, where they constructed a rainwater harvesting system at a school, further boosting their confidence to build a system on their own. When they returned home, the two women visited their site for initial preparation of the project and with the the help of local NGO, JVE Kpalime, Akofa and Mattia surveyed local people and gained the support and involvement of local officials in Kpalime. During this site visit, it became apparent that water, hygiene, and sanitation were not, at the time, integrated into the routines and customs of the people. Water tests, conducted with the help of local women, showed a prevalence of E. coli and a general poor state of the village’’s water supply. With this knowledge and the support of the village, subsequent plans were made to build a rainwater harvesting site at the local school, which did not have a water source.
Akofa and Mattia returned to the village in early December 2010, and after three days of construction and implementation of the water source, the official handover ceremony took place. On 10 December 2010, the rainwater collection system was presented to the village. The presence of the Development Chief, Mayor and other local officials, school staff and students, and local people from the neighborhood, proves the wide impact of such a project. The ongoing support of JVE Kpalime in monitoring the site, and the committed support of all levels of stakeholders, gives great hope for the sustainability of this much-needed water source. The hard work and dedication of Akofa and Mattia will be felt in this village for years to come!