It is still early in the morning, but Cornelia Nketia, a mother of four, is up and already in the queue for water. Six months ago, her only option would be to fetch murky, brown water from the nearby Asukawkaw River, 15 minutes away. Tainted by the livestock that wades at its shores, the Asukawkaw was the community’s sole source of water for all household activities, from drinking to bathing to washing dishes.
Until The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation’s Water and Development Alliance and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) joined forces to build a Water Health Center here, Nketia had no alternative. “We know the water isn’t clean and makes our children sick, but we didn’t have any other choice until this water center was built,” she said, in her native Ewe language.
Today, Nketia and others pay a modest fee for clean, potable water, thanks to the alliance of Coca-Cola and USAID. The alliance’s commitment to helping local communities prosper extends beyond potable water, however, as it also provides improved sanitation infrastructure to area schools.
While the water center, which opened in May 2012, sources water from the same Asukawkaw as Nketia used to rely on, that water is now treated through a multi-step UV filtration process to meet World Health Organization (WHO) standards. It is but one of scores of such centers built across Ghana, improving life all around the country.
Nketia and other community members arrive early each morning at their center, carrying containers of various shapes and sizes with their money in hand, happy and ready to purchase clean water.
The water centers, operated by WaterHealth Ghana, sell water at 10 pesewas for 20. Nketia typically purchases about 80 liters of water a day, which her family uses for cooking, bathing, and drinking. They also keep water stored in a large, covered metal drum next to their house. “The difference between the river water and the water facility is that the water facility is clean and safe for drinking than the river water,” she says proudly.
Asukawkaw is one of three communities in the region benefitting from these water treatment centers. In the Volta Region, USAID and The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation, through the Water and Development Alliance, have also provided water treatment centers to the communities of Dambai and Tapa Abotoase. In the Greater Accra Region, the alliance has brought this new infrastructure to the communities of Manhean and Nsakina.
It’s an amazing story that’s still just being written, and the happy ending looks to be closer than ever before.