Diary entry from The One Foundation’s Victoria Steward Todd on her recent trip to Ghana to officially open a new water station funded in Labolabo.
On Tuesday 30th July, The One Foundation and our partners, The Co-op, were delighted to officially open the new water station we constructed in Labolabo, near Lake Volta. We were honoured that the ceremony was attended by the community chief and deputies, who thanked us for our support and gave each of us beautiful Ghanaian scarves as souvenirs.
We visited the source for the water – Lake Volta itself – and saw how it is pumped to the new station for treatment before being piped down to the community of 3,500 people, who can access the water supply either through community tap stands or household connections.
The residents showed us how they use tap and pay tokens to buy water from the tap stands at an affordable rate, whenever they need it. The solar panel on each tap stand charges a battery which ensures water is still available after the sun goes down.
As residents prefer to carry water containers on their heads, the tap is set at head height so the container can be filled without having to place it on the ground and lift it back up when it’s heavy.
We are supporting construction of a further 2 water stations later this year so I was hugely encouraged to see the impact that easily available, affordable, clean water was having in Labolabo.
On the second day of our trip we flew to Kumasi, where we are installing a new clean water system in 10 towns in the cocoa-farming region. The construction, which starts this month, will provide 55,000 people with a reliable clean water supply.
We visited one of three towns in which we are also providing new community and household toilets. Sanitation is a major issue in Ghana. When I first visited the town of Asamang last year to discuss the opportunity for a new water system, I was shocked to see one of the community toilet blocks – dilapidated, unhygienic and, unsurprisingly, unused by residents.
We were keen to see if The One Foundation could help address this clear need alongside the water system we had already committed to, and as a result have now built community toilet blocks and household toilets in 3 towns.
It was incredible to see the difference in Asamang and to see the new toilet block we had constructed along side the old one I first visited a year ago, which is now due to be knocked down.
The communities spoke of their enormous pride at having new toilet block facilities and how it made their town a more appealing place to live. It really brought home to me that the dignity of a safe toilet is a basic human right that many of us in the UK take for granted.
I look forward to going back next year to visit these towns again when the water supply is also in place and to see the impact of a combined approach on such a large scale.