Today, we changed the world of 3,000 villagers in Ghana by giving them access to clean water.
We’re thrilled to announce the completion of our latest project, a mechanized borehole in Jamera, Ghana!! For the first time the villagers there are able to open spigots to collect their water instead of waiting hours in line to hand pump it from the ground. This is a small change that affects the hundreds of women and children who call Jamera home. Thank you to Water Charity, an incredible organization, for providing the funds to make this possible. Thank you to Ofori Aaron Nana Atta, our country director, for expertly managing everything on the ground as always. As my dear friend Barnabas always says, “water is life.” And so it is.
About the Village
The village of Jamera is the cultural heart of the Nafana tribe. Swirling with red dust during the dry season and lush with jungle greenery during the rainy season, it is a rural farming village that upholds longstanding tribal customs dating back to ancient times. The Nafana people speak a tonal Senufo language known as Nafaanra. Most of the villagers are cashew farmers, selling cashew nuts as a cash crop. Like most rural Ghanaians, they maintain subsistence farms for their families, raise farm animals if they can, and hunt and trap bush meat.
The people of Jamera don’t have running water, so the women and children pump water from boreholes in the ground and carry it far distances for hours every morning on their heads before school and other household duties.
The village of Jamera formerly had three unmechanized boreholes, which are deep holes bored into the ground, sealed and topped with a hand pump to pull the water up and into containers to carry home. Schoolchildren usually spend hours waiting in line to fill one bucket or headpan at a time to bring home, only to return again and again until they and their siblings have enough water for their family for the day.
Since water is life, the collecting of it takes precedence over the day’s other activities, including school. Most children are late every day to school because of this. If they know they will be too late they often do not go altogether. Much school is missed, resulting in poor grades, a mounting dislike with the educational system and all too often the eventual untimely end to their schooling for many students.
A Water Tragedy
If all of that wasn’t enough, one of their three borehole tragically collapsed from longtime overuse. Two hand-pumped borehole were nowhere near sufficient to meet the water needs for 3,000 people. This meant that children and women would wait even longer at the two existing boreholes or must walk miles to the neighboring villages for their water. Some would decide to go to streams in the bush instead of spending hours every day waiting or walking, but this water is unclean, harboring dangerous waterborne diseases and parasites.
This project established and built a new borehole and installed an electric pump, tower, and storage tank that would help meet the urgent water needs in the village.
- Community Involvement: The community members contributed to the water quality testand in-kind labor to clear the land, mold the concrete blocks and build the cement platform. The chiefs and elders, specifically the sub chief in charge of community development, oversaw community participation.They also provided room and board to the borehole professionals for the duration of their stay in Jamera until the project is completed.
- People On-the-Ground: The project will be directed by Ofori Aaron Atta, or “Nana Atta,” as he is known, the Ghana Country Director of Change the World of One. Nana Atta is the on-the-ground project manager of this endeavor and will manage all funds, collect all receipts, take progress photos and be onsite regularly to ensure the work is executed properly.
- Grants and Funding Assistance: Water Charity funds were used to purchase construction materials and supplies including sand, cement, gravel, a submersible motor, a polytank, pipes, spigots, fittings and other materials to construct the mechanized borehole.
- Change the World of One’s contribution will help cover the cost of the skilled labor and provide for additional costs, such as transportation of materials and Nana Atta’s frequent trips to Jamera.
Monitoring and Maintenance
Sustainability is key to this project. The citizens of Jamera know what it is like when one of their boreholes ceases to function, and the dire situation it creates for their children. With this in mind, Nana Atta, the Country Director of Change the World of One, has been tasked with training a small task force of three community elders with monitoring and maintenance of this project. Each quarter year they will collect very small dues from each family that utilizes this new mechanized borehole. The money will be recorded and deposited in an account that will be used solely for the purpose of paying the light bill fee for the pump and as a fund for borehole maintenance and repair. Nana Atta will help set this up and will monitor the situation regularly.
Mechanizing this new borehole means that instead of the strenuous labor of pumping water from the ground by hand, it is merely a matter of opening one of four spigots and letting the water flow. This maximizes efficiency more than fourfold, allowing four people to collect water at a time instead of one, and the rate of flow will be greater, thereby drastically decreasing the amount of time each person spends collecting water each day. No longer will women and children have to walk miles to the neighboring village for water, or be forced to wait in line for hour upon hour each morning, or collect contaminated stream water. Children will be able to get to school earlier, have a more productive days and will be more likely to stay in school.