Joyce Aning, 18, gets up at 4.30 am and walks 6km to fetch water for her family before going to school. The water she collects is not safe but it is all the Ntronang community, in the eastern region of Ghana, has access to.
Mabel Konadu, 24, also has to make tiring, daily trips to the nearest bore hole in her community. It is a daily chore for all local women. "It can take us from 5 am to 11 am to collect water. There are times when we even sleep at the water point."
When treated water and proper sanitation arrive the people will play the bau bau [drums] very much and dance their hearts out
Mabel believes the HSBC Water Programme will have a massive impact on the health and prospects of her community. She says: “Working on the water will really help the community, especially the women because they are the most affected.”
Freed from the burden of hours of water collection, Ghanaian women have more time to earn money and boost household income, nutrition and health. By fighting water-related diseases children enjoy improved health and are able to attend school more frequently.
In Ghana 20 per cent of the rural population live without access to safe water. Sanitation coverage in the country is only 14 per cent – well below the Millennium Development Goal, which are targets set by the UN, of 54 per cent.
Every year in Ghana 4,000 children under 5 die from diarrhoea – the third biggest killer of children in Sub-Saharan Africa. By providing access to clean water and improved sanitation, the HSBC Water Programme aims to save lives.
Through the five-year HSBC Water Programme, HSBC is working with WaterAid to bring safe water to 120,000 people and sanitation to 80,000 people in five districts of Ghana.
Gladys Bobobi, known as the ‘Queen Mother of Brubeng’, is a female leader in her community, in the eastern region of Ghana
Credit: WaterAid/Andrew Esiebo
There are also economic benefits to the Water Programme. It is estimated that poor sanitation costs Ghana 420 million cedis (USD290 million) each year and this economic burden falls disproportionately on the poorest. Through the HSBC Water Programme, WaterAid Ghana and its local partners aim to improve the lives of thousands of people.
Gladys Bobobi, known as “Queen Mother”, leads the women’s group in her Brubeng community on the Afram Plains. She says that when treated water and proper sanitation arrives the people will “play the bau bau [drums] very much” and “dance their hearts out”.
HSBC’s partner WaterAid strives for integrated, sustainable solutions for the communities in Ghana – and in the other 27 countries across the globe where it works. A typical project starts with education, helping communities understand how important good hygiene practices are in preventing disease. WaterAid then helps the communities set up water and sanitation committees so that they manage and maintain the facilities themselves.
Community members will contribute time, labour and local materials to projects, keeping costs as low as possible and increasing sustainability by developing a true sense of community ownership and responsibility.
Through working with local organisations and government agencies, WaterAid is able to help the most marginalised and vulnerable people.
To find out more about the HSBC Water Programme, the work it will be doing with WaterAid and other partners WWF and Earthwatch, visit www.thewaterhub.org. To find out more about WaterAid, visit www.WaterAid.org.