18:45, 28.Jul 2018
“The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the LORD will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them” Isaiah 41: 17 (NIV).
The global need for Water
Sustainable access to clean water changes everything; it is a stepping-stone to development. When people gain access to clean water, they are better able to practice good hygiene and sanitation. Children enjoy good health and are more likely to attend school. Parents put aside their worries about water-related diseases and lack of access to clean water. Instead, they can water crops and livestock and diversify their incomes through income generation activities such as shea nut processing, gari processing, and pito brewing among others. Unfortunately, 844 million people still lack access to clean water globally. Women and children are worst affected – children because they are more vulnerable to diseases of dirty water and women and girls because they often bear the burden of carrying water for their families for an estimated 200 million hours each day. Every day, more than 800 children under age 5 die from diarrhea attributed to poor water and sanitation.
The water situation in Ghana
Ghana has made significant progress providing access to safe water sources to 79% of the population and eliminating Guinea worm from the country. However, despite these successes, over five million Ghanaians still use water from unsafe sources. About 3,600 children die each year in Ghana from diarrhea, even more die from pneumonia, and about 23% suffer from stunting, chronic malnutrition linked to poor water and sanitation.
World Vision’s contribution in Ghana
World Vision believes that no strategy for poverty reduction can ignore people’s vital requirement for safe water and improved sanitation. Between 1985 and 2018, World Vision International has invested in excess of US$75 million to provide over 3,650 boreholes fitted with hand pumps, rehabilitate over 470 boreholes, and construct 80 limited mechanized water systems and other alternative water supply systems. Including rain water harvesting systems and small dams and dug-outs. These interventions have improved the socio-economic wellbeing of more than 1.3 million people in over 1,600 communities and 150 schools and healthcare facilities throughout the country. In addition, 53 schools and healthcare facilities have been supported with gender and disability friendly institutional toilet, while 348 communities have been certified Open Defecation Free. This has greatly improved the wellbeing of children and their families in deprived rural communities and small towns.
Our call for action
On the occasion of World Water Day 2019, salutes successive governments, development partners and indeed all stakeholders for the good efforts towards increasing access to clean water for domestic use and water for livelihood security. We wish to draw the attention of government to the following:
1. Low level of prioritization and investment
While access to water, sanitation and hygiene has not been adequately prioritized, Government’s budgetary allocation to the sector has also not matched the increasing demand for these essential services. This explains why women and children still travel long distances in search of clean water, while many schools and health facilities lack access to clean water and dignified sanitation. This compromises healthcare delivery, quality education and general quality of life. We therefore urge government to reverse the dwindling budgetary allocation to the water and sanitation sector and also explore viable alternative financing and water supply mechanisms which will ensure that no one is left behind.
2. Water quality challenges
The water quality situation, particularly in rural and small towns requires urgent attention. The recent findings contained in the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2017/2018 report to the effect that 5 out of 10 point sources, and water in 8 out of 10 households may be contaminated with E-coli is quite alarming. We therefore ask that immediate steps be taken to remedy the situation and save children from preventable diseases and deaths.
3. Inequalities in drinking water supply
In respect of water supply in Ghana, the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS 2017/18) report by the Ghana Statistical Service reveals that there are vast inequalities between the rich and the poor, between urban and rural communities, between administrative regions, and between the educated and uneducated. We therefore recommend future financing arrangements should prioritize the needs of the poor and vulnerable in order to close the inequality gap and enable everybody everywhere have access to sustainable safe water.
World Vision is committed to prioritizing and increasing investment for the delivery of sustainable safe water and improved sanitation across all our Area Programs. We pledge to deepen partnerships and collaboration with Government, private sector, NGOs and other stakeholders to work towards a Ghana in which every child has access to clean water and improved sanitation. This is consistent with our vision for every child – Life in all its Fullness!
World Vision is an international partnership of Christians whose mission is to follow our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in working with the poor and oppressed to promote human transformation, seek justice and bear witness to the good news of the Kingdom of God.
As a child-focused, humanitarian, development and advocacy organization, we believe that nothing can be more important to child wellbeing than access to safe water, improved sanitation and hygiene. Our goal is that by 2030 all communities located within our development areas worldwide will have access to clean water, improved sanitation and hygiene. For believers in a better world for children, World Vision lives and works in communities to co-create water, sanitation and hygiene solutions that last. Globally, the organization is the largest non-governmental provider of clean water in the developing world, reaching a new person with safe water every 10 seconds.
By: World Vision International