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Peter Caton

Volunteers restore access to clean water for community in rural Ghana


Three cycles of VSO youth (ICS) volunteers working in a rural community in eastern Ghana have joined forces to restore access to clean water for 500 residents.

Young volunteers in the small Ghanaian community of Owuram saw first-hand the issues it was causing the community and worked together to secure a fast repair of the damaged borehole.

VSO youth volunteers repair well enabling up to 500 people to access clean drinking water VSO

VSO ICS youth volunteers repaired a well enabling access to clean drinking water for up to 500 people

'We spent too much time looking for water'

Bernice is a young woman from Owuram. After the well broke down, she had to walk 2km every day in order to fetch safe water for her and her family.

“The well had been broken for a very long time,” Bernice explained. “We used to spend a lot of time and energy just looking for water to cater for our household.”

Around 1,800 people live in the town, which is one of three communities selected to host VSO ICS youth volunteers working on local livelihoods projects.

The first group of volunteers staying in the community carried out research and concluded that if they were able to repair the well, then it had the potential to reinstate a clean water supply to more than 500 local people.

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Need for clean water

Restoring this vital facility as quickly as possible became a priority for the team. Seeing their host families have to travel long distances to fetch the water underlined the impact on their lives.

VSO ICS volunteers helped restore access to clean water VSO

Using the well

After securing an initial investment from a local government engineer which valued the necessary repairs at GH₵4200.00 (roughly £860), the volunteers lobbied for the repairs to be funded – but were told that no money was available.

Collectively they made the decision to raise funds of their own. And following the end of their placement, the baton was taken by the next cycle of ICS volunteers.

Once the group had raised a significant amount, an independent contractor was contacted, who was able to repair the borehole at a much lower cost.

The volunteers of the third cycle then worked alongside the community to help repair the well.

'Clean water means less disease'

The Chief of Owuram, Nana Baffour Safo Kantanka commented, “I have seen the contribution of these volunteers in the community since the first cycle to the fixing of this borehole. They deserve applause and the community is grateful for everything.”

“I have seen the contribution of these volunteers in the community since the first cycle to the fixing of this borehole. They deserve applause and the community is grateful for everything.”

The Chief of Owuram, Nana Baffour Safo Kantanka

Repairs of the well couldn't be funded by local government, so ICS volunteers stepped in

Madam Asabea Comfort, Bernice’s mother, said that while the well was broken, she struggled with the journey to get water: “This repair of the well is now a huge relief for me as I can just walk a few steps to fetch clean water which my family and I can drink and use for everything in the house.”

Kaya Brown is one of the UK VSO ICS volunteers currently living in Owuram. “Clean water for the community members means less disease, and people now don’t have to walk long distances to fetch water,” she said.

“I fetch water here myself since it was fixed and I can see the water is very clean and it tastes good. I’m happy to be part of the group who helped fix this borehole.

“Aside the many other things we are doing to improve the lives of people in this community, I’m very excited that I was a part of it.”

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