The government of Ghana has an on-going program to provide rural villages with deep borehole wells equipped with hand pumps. Water from those wells is clean and suitable for drinking so it replaces poor quality water from streams, ponds, and shallow, hand dug wells which can be sources of disease and parasites. The new wells are generally placed at convenient locations so that, in addition to improving the health of the people, women and girls no longer need to make long walks to collect bad water from distant sources.
Some villages in the District have deep borehole wells, but the hand pumps on many of them have broken down. A few villages have been able to collect money to make repairs, but most people are poor and finding funds quickly to repair a pump is difficult. In addition, many rural people don't understand the health value of using clean water from a deep well, although the women may value the well as a convenient source of water. Cultural barriers also come into play because providing water for families is the responsibility of women and girls. Men in the villages are often not interested in solving water problems, and women do not have the authority to challenge them. Thus, when a pump fails, the women usually go back to their traditional water sources and the pump is not repaired until some outside organization arrives to help.
The Foundation and its partners are organizations that provide help; we repair and replace hand pumps in villages where they have broken down and good water is no longer available, because a village with a deep well and a broken hand pump is no better off than a village with no well. Drilling new wells is expensive, and we can reach many more people who need water by repairing pumps than we could if we used our funds to drill new wells.
In addition, we don't simply repair/replace the hand pumps and then leave. Instead, we provide education, incentives, and training that encourages the communities to take ownership of the pumps and maintain them in the future. We make frequent visits to the villages after the pumps are repaired to continue the education and training, and to monitor changes in attitudes and behavior that we can use to improve our program.
In addition to work in the villages, the Foundation has done projects to improve the water supply in two high schools and two health clinics in the District. Those projects are described on the Other Projects page.