Thursday, May 02, 2013

WaterAid, UNILEVER Provide Birim North Communities With Portable Water, Sanitation Facilities

Situation before the borehole was mechanized at Adausena
By Patrick Baidoo

About 4,000 inhabitants of the Adausena, Nyame Bekyere and Pankese communities in the Birim North District of the Eastern Region have heaved a sigh of relief after being provided with potable water and sanitation facilities from WaterAid and UNILEVER Ghana to revert their daily hustle of roaming for hours to access these basic services from unhealthy sources.

The joint venture culminated from the “UNILEVER-WaterAid Ghana, Rural Integrated Water and Sanitation programme in that District”.

After the commissioning of this multi-faceted project which was held recently, the community has benefitted from the installation of two boreholes, a mechanized water system, two rehabilitated hand dug wells, and two institutional latrines for schools in the community.

“As a result of the provision of these facilities school enrolment, attendance and economic fortunes of the communities have improved tremendously”, the Chief of Adausena, Nana Bonia-Bankoro (V) indicated in his remarks to commission the projects.

 “Pupils can now go to school early and fully concentrate on academic work as result of availability of safe water and sanitation facilities. The economic opportunities open to women and men have been significantly improved as a result of these facilities. This is because they will channel time used in search of water and safe places to attend nature’s call into productive livelihood activities”.

Benefits to children

For the pupils and children in the communities their poor health status and low school attendance was a thing of the past, as their testimonies portrayed. “The links between poor sanitation, unsafe water and illnesses are well established. There is now a reduced risk of diarrhea in the communities and there has not been any recorded incident of worm infections since the water project was completed for our use”, the children testified to buttress the Chiefs assertion.

The MDGs ladder

Under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) agenda, human development and sustainability of infrastructure was critical but current indicators show that maintenance of facilities in Ghana was poor while statistics indicate that the country’s drive towards the MDG sanitation ladder is lingering at 14% out of 54% with barely two years to a 2015 MDGs deadline hence the involvement of the private sector to make sustainable contributions in this direction was critical, a statement from WaterAid Ghana indicated.

“Corporate organizations and the private sector joined the battle against WASH poverty since Ghana is off track when it comes to the MDG target for sanitation with an abysmal performance of 14% out of 54%. In regard to water, Ghana has attained the minimum target of 76% but there are still disparities between rural and urban data and the gains made also need to be sustained”.

Since the issue of sustainability of the facilities fitted is prime the project also trained Water and Sanitation Management Teams as well as school management to manage and operate the facilities to effectively ensure that they are functioning always. A total of 3,251 people have benefited in numerous ways out of the initiative.

In her speech to commission the facilities, WaterAid Ghana Country Representative, Dr. Afia Zakiya indicated “A matter of great concern was the role of the community to ensure that the facilities provided under the project are managed and maintained to ensure sustainability”.

Hand washing promotion

To promote Unilever’s Handwashing campaign of washing hands with soap and water before and after eating, after using the washroom and for bathing, UNILEVER presented some Lifebuoy products to about 20 households, averaging 7 members per household for their daily hand washing and bathing purposes.


The District Assembly, Obooma Rural Action Programme, the District Water and Sanitation Management Team as well as the Environmental Health and Sanitation directorate and the community members all supported in diverse ways to successfully complete the projects.

WaterAid & UNILEVER partnership

WaterAid and Unilever Ghana Foundation (UGF) partnership dates back to 2002, when the UGF supported WaterAid Ghana to successfully implement Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) projects in the Upper West, Brong Ahafo and Eastern Regions.

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