Because there is a lack of clean water in many rural villages in Africa, diseases transmitted through unclean water are a leading cause of preventable illness and premature deaths, with children being particularly vulnerable. According to the World Health Organization, nearly a million people die each year as a result of unsafe drinking water, with about half of those being children, whose deaths are preventable (fs 330/391). In addition, during the dry season, hundreds of collective hours can be spent each week in transporting this unclean water, by hand, from surface water sources such as rivers and swamps to the villages; this same time could be spent doing more productive activities, such as attending school or growing crops.
The partnership effort to install a well in each village immediately improves the health and well-being of everyone in the village, even saving lives. In addition to health benefits and resulting increased productivity, the local water source allows for a reallocation of time toward more productive activities, as well as allowing for cultivation of vegetable crops throughout the year through irrigation. It can also provide a source of revenue that will be used to increase the quality of life in the village, including education, medical care, and access to technology.
- Project Started – October 2008
- Current Location(s) – Ghana and Liberia, West Africa
- Beneficiaries – 150 to 750 people per well
- Cost – $3,000 – $7,000 USD per Village Water Project
- Needs assessment and documentation, hygiene and sanitation training, hydro-geological surveying, drilling or digging, hand pump installation, community development training, and follow up.
- transport of rig and drilling of bore hole or hand digging the well
- installation of pipes, walls, foundation and hand pump
- training of village water committees on how to use and maintain the pump
- community development training focusing on economic cooperation and self-reliance
- hygiene and sanitation training
- on-site project supervision
- post-installation follow up and community development training
and all labor and materials
It is helpful to look at the cost broken down by benefit over time. For example, in a village where a $3,000 water project is installed that will provide water for 150 people for the next 10 years, the costs are equivalent to:
- $20 per person for the entire project, or
- $2.00 per person per year, or
- 1/2 a penny per person per day, or
- 1/10th of a penny per gallon
See some real-life examples of people who made the choice to get involved, what they did, and how they helped: The Wilcat Water Project is one example of how one teacher, school, and community united to provide clean water for Ogyanhyewano & Akromakwaa villages. The Angelic Connections Water Project shows how one drumming community provided clean water for Kofi Tabrikrom village by simply doing what they love to do – play drums! More recently the Good Bird Design and Queer Spirit mobilized their communities to raise funds for Fawomanye and Ankyease villages. Read more below.